If you woke up one day realizing you didn’t have to live in the city you grew up in – you didn’t have to waste an equivalent of 780 days* of your life for the next 30 years crawling through traffic to get to work – would you leave?
The idea usually never crosses our minds. We have families, friends and careers to take care of – to feel comfortable and safe with. Some are perfectly happy with their circumstances in the city: loving relationships, stable finances, familiarity, predictability, control. I don’t feel as content to stay put. While love and some money are two things I do need to survive as a social and semi-responsible creature today, change, spontaneity and unpredictability are the cruxes of what make me thrive – flourish.
I’ve found traveling to new places to be the singular most effective way to fuel my addiction to adventure and uncertainty.
Obviously, life as we know it is uncertain as is, regardless of our efforts to predict and control, but I have recently realized I have an aversion to Manila and the “city lifestyle.” It’s not just the traffic, or the pollution, or the congestion, or the billboards, it’s also the comfort, the luxury, the “good life” I have so graciously and generously been given by my parents, God, fate, luck, karma, or however you want to see it.
Don’t get me wrong. I indulge, I participate, I am grateful, I love and accept love. Personally, the magic of traveling revolves around the clean slate you are given when you meet new people. There are no expectations based on the past. I’ve sometimes wished I could just disappear into the crowd and blend in – the dominant introvert in me.
I find it funny that some people are trying to be a somebody when all I want to be is a nobody.
Truly, It feels as if I have grazed the leaves of madness, because I would never expect to have knocked on the windowsill of genius. My sanity is consoled by the ever-increasing and resounding chorus that the world is sick and mad, that the systems have to change drastically with the times. I feel as if I have been born a few centuries early… or late.
As you can see, my reasons are more complex than the mere stink and slink of the city. We don’t need to travel of course, to be anonymous or to live out uncertainty in our daily lives. Many a homeless person walk the streets with the same effect, but not of their own volition.
The thought has crossed my mind to leave my home, family and present life to wander the streets with no possessions. (Didn’t I mention madness?)
But I shamelessly admit I have not had the courage to do such a thing (as many braver and worldly successful people have done) and, quite honestly, I do enjoy the comforts, love and attention I get at home. While I do and will always call this place home, I feel incomplete when I’m in it. So i choose to travel, instead, and take my chances on shaky ground.
As the shadow of death and the fundamental mystery of what comes next creeps closer with our every breath, I choose to mold my life to suit my dreams to the best of my abilities and resources.
As flowing rivers and skies go, I am ever-changing and will try to embrace myself as genuinely as possible; given enough time, there is every chance of me doing a complete 180 degree turn and write something in direct contradiction and opposition to this post today. But until then, it feels good to express myself right now without a second thought.
* Given 12 hours are wasted in traffic per week, that totals 18,720 hours for the next 30 years which equates to 780 days.