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0.5 | Migration
I love the idea of the road.
The rough terrain and the never before seen vistas. The cultures, the art, the foods, the music, and the people.
The world unexplored, in all of its anticipatory delights and sensations.
There is an excitement of leaving the familiar behind – just for a short time – exchanging the warm comfort of the known with the provocative embrace of the new.
I've been fortunate enough to have seen so much in my life. Different times, different places, different wonders. The gamut of poverty and wealth, nature and the created, the exciting and the terrifying.
It's been a generational privilege, to feel the new, from my grandfather traveling the world in the 1950's for political missions, to my parents migrating across the world to America decades later, to myself finding new homes and communities as I progress through my life.
I've wondered, a lot, why we take so much interest in visiting new places. Why we choose to leave.
Sometimes it's forced upon us, sometimes it's pilgrimage to reflect and expound ourselves. Sometimes it's just an excuse to escape the core dissatisfaction of our unexplored selves.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep Sea, and music in its roar: I love not Man the less, but Nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the Universe, and feel What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
― Lord Byron
There is an inherent sacrifice to exploration. It's a curiosity with a cost. To see new things, to experience the other and the outside, requires an adaption of self.
To truly experience another culture, some part of your view of the world must be retired to make new for an alternate perspective. It's not an easy choice, to relinquish the comforts of the known, the patterns and routines, the people in our lives, and the lives we define in the context of what we currently are, all in the hopeful exchange of some potential reality.
But there is also an inherent satisfaction with that exploration. It's a curiosity with life, to embrace possibility, and more importantly to find out one's own nature when removed from one's expected environmental context and stimuli.
It exposes a side of ourselves. The discomfort of the unfamiliar tests our underlying principles.
What do I care about right now?
We learn how we adapt, how we grow in circumstances foreign to our core self. That excitement is an allure. The questions of self discovery, beseeching us under the guise of a novel delight.
In many ways, it's an exercise in what it means to be free.
If you travel far enough, you'll eventually meet yourself.
― Joseph Campbell
I'm fascinated by the reasons to migrate. To purposely find oneself amongst the unknown.
Maybe it's a person, an opportunity, the exciting bustle of a complex city, the calm of nature, a yearning to find a community, or even just a change from the expected and now boring norm of our current lives.
I find myself in my fifth city. I've moved many times in my life, taking a sometimes obscene delight in relinquishing my past self for the anticipatory novelty of the next. I've lived in 15 different homes in that process – each move, posing an opportunity to reexamine my values, my things, my choices, and my world.
Every new life has been a reconciliation of self. The chaos and disruption, the loneliness, the curiosity and excitement, all centered around me and my mind, sometimes pervasive, and sometimes unacknowledged.
I wonder how much of this is all in pursuit of a deeper reckoning with world, or perhaps even, myself?
I've pondered how much I've used the novelty, the busyness of the logistical move, to escape my unexamined mind.
How I've run from permanence, not because it actually exists, but because some of my choices are harder than others to undo, or even to learn from. How the decision to stay, terrifies my yearning to replace what I am, with what I can be.
Maybe it's an escapism. To run from my deeper self in pursuit of shallower changes.
How easy it is to replace my own true inner work with the newly created work of the different.
And yet I find myself in my current home.
It's not a definite stability that I seek, it's the ability to be surrounded by the people, things, and ideas that I love.
It's the ability to pack what I already have, myself and all the accoutrements of the familiar, and to feel complete, not because of the world I've learned to know, but instead, of the self I've grown to love.