Roots vs. Wings

Have you ever had wanderlust? Have you glanced through all the stunningly exotic photos online or that your friends pin on Pinterest and wished you could go there?

That’s what I have to say today: YOU CAN. GO!

I once took a spontaneous trip to Taiwan where I taught English and learned Chinese. It lasted five months and ended with a three-week trip to Mainland China. That lasted four months. When I came home and started my master’s program, I couldn’t get it all out of my head and even wrote a book about the incredible experience just to help me process everything that happened.

YOU CAN GO ANYWHERE YOU WANT. If you really want to go, you can find a way to save money, get time off, find someone to go with, and whatever else it takes to get there! 

For the past year, I’ve been thinking about moving permanently to…the whole world. I have a route sort of planned out where I take a boat to Puerto Rico, then catch a cruise ship to Spain, live in Morocco for a month or two, then Paris, then Kiev. Eventually take the transiberian railroad and drop into Mongolia for a week or two, then get an apartment in southern China. From there, maybe Nepal, India and Thailand before figuring out how to sail back to the States.

I want to go around the world without leaving the surface. I want to take pictures and shoot videos and meet incredible people and write more books and post blog entries and add yet another incredible, unforgettable, invaluable experience to my life.

I don’t know if or when I’ll go, but I’ve been practicing my French and Russian and researching details and trying to boost book sales (residual income to support me while I’m gone) to be ready just in case.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? How long would you stay? Who would you take with you?

High school grads in many countries have what they call a “gap year.” Before entering college, they attend a year abroad at The University of Life. That doesn’t refer to this web page, exactly, but to the fact that life experiences provide value to the rest of your life. They return with a clearer idea of what to do with the rest of their lives. What a wise idea, isn’t it? To research your life direction before striking off on a career path and make sure you’ll be happy once you arrive?

If you want to travel but haven’t left yet, what’s stopping you?

Roots vs. Wings

Often the biggest factor that prevents people from seeing the world is the inability to break away from the ground where they’re planted. Is this good or bad?

It depends.

Roots are good when they mean you’re connected to people you love, traditions that enrich your life, and security that provides a healthy environment for you and your family.

Roots are bad when they mean you’re afraid to push up against the edges of your comfort zone. They’re bad when they tie you to a worldview shaped only by limited experience, especially if you’re surrounded by people with all the same opinions as you. They’re bad when they prevent you from a continual expansion of your experience, knowledge, wisdom, heart and mind.

You CAN have it both ways. You can love your home (if you don’t love your home, get to work on that immediately!), leave it for a while, and return. One of the best parts of a long trip is coming home to the familiar.

No, your home will never be quite the same. No, if you travel right – meeting different people and trying to see the world through their eyes, not yours – then when you come home, life will be more complex. Old, oversimplified, one-sided world views will no longer fit inside your head. If you have narrow-minded, provincial friends, you may find that you have outgrown them and may need to replace them or at least add others to your circle who understand the new you.

That’s the sacrifice, if you can call it that. That is the price of progress. Are you willing to pay that price? Does it appeal to you? Does a richer world view sound exhilarating? Do you anticipate the happy spark you will feel every time some familiar, faraway location appears on your tv screen for the rest of your life? Are you thrilled at the prospect of adding facebook friends from around the world who will continuously provide an active window into the wide world?

It’s all up to you, but if you decide you’d like to try your wings and spread your roots around the globe, then don’t hesitate too long. The world is waiting for you!


[photo credit: the image of the couple’s legs came from Pinterest and I don’t know the original source. Great idea! I want to do something like that someday once I find a permanent traveling partner.] 



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