In Search of Adventure Abroad and Community at Home: Thoughts on Being a Vagabond

I am a vagabond; that much is clear to me. But I am also drawn to building creative and meaningful community at home. This makes me feel torn on a near constant basis and the process of fuzing these two realities together seems to be more alchemy than a hard science. At least I have yet to discover the secret. It seems that the life of a vagabond is lonely and isolated from stability, while filled with adventure and personal growth; while life in community is repetitive and predictable, but gives the opportunity to know others and a place intimately. Now these two realities are not necessarily mutually exclusive, or even reflective of what I describe above, but for me it feels this way. And of course while traveling I dream of my life at home and while at home I can’t stop thinking of getting back into the unknown.

This time around I made it just over a month in Portland before the itch set in. An itch that I couldn’t scratch without buying a plane ticket. After returning from Korea and Japan this past May I was excited about being home for some time, putting in my garden, maybe further developing my romantic relationship and hopefully finding a job. I figured I could at least go for another year before needing to travel again. But, the good feeling of being home only lasted about a month. The vibrant green of spring in the Pacific Northwest began to fade, my garden went untended, my relationship spoiled and only rejection letters from potential employers found their way to my inbox. My new dream of living a full and exciting life while remaining still dissolved…

…Now to be fair, I probably didn’t give things enough time. I expected stability while demanding excitement. I didn’t allow things to flourish from a place of newness, but allowed them to stagnate though a place of the familiar. Instead of holding tight and allowing for a new chapter to emerge, I chose to escape. It’s what I do best. So, I decided that I would spend 6 weeks in Spain in order to walk the Camino de Santiago, something I have wanted to do for years. I figured this would buy me some more time to try my hand once again at growing roots when I return.

While I desire some of what stability offers and often find myself attracted to staying put, the feeling never lasts. Some people find the idea of traveling frightening, but exciting; I feel that way about being stable and in one place. But, just like people who are afraid to travel and would benefit from facing their fears, I should probably face my fear of staying still for a time in order to gain the lessons of that experience. So now I intend to try again when I return from this trip. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if in the end it turns out that I am destined to be a wandering vagabond and will have to find my desire for community and stability in other ways.

But, I am excited to embark on this next adventure in search of clarity and to have the opportunity to do more travel photography in a part of the world I have never been. Who knows if I will find any answers on my journey, but I know it will help fulfill my wanderlust while giving me time to contemplate my next steps at home.

I leave August 2nd, so stay tuned for photos and stories from the road!

Cheers!

13 thoughts on “In Search of Adventure Abroad and Community at Home: Thoughts on Being a Vagabond

  1. adinparadise

    Very interesting, and I can also totally relate to this feeling. I get so restless if I haven’t got a travel plan to look forward to. It’s almost like a drug. Reminds me of that song, “Any place I hang my hat is home.” πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  2. wandergirl

    Great post – I definitely know this feeling. I’ve been in one place for almost a year and my feet itch like mad! πŸ™‚

    Travelling can also have it’s own sense of community, though – you meet people who are vagabonds like you, and there’s this kind of understanding amongst travellers. I can’t wait to get my feet on the road again, but for now I’m trying to find excitement in that stillness you describe.

    Looking forward to reading about your time in Spain!

    Reply
  3. viviennemackie

    You put into words very well what many people feel. Well done! I can totally relate to this. But sometimes, even a small local trip will help.

    Reply
  4. Grace Thomas

    I wonder, with growing scepticism, how you fund these perpetual adventures of yours? I have spent a fulfilling life exploring my artistic muses as a classical musician., subsidizing with teaching gigs, raising terrific kids and now finally find myself with a small amount to “indulge” my own vagabond desires only after years of hard, often disheartening WORK. Perhaps I missed something along the way with your blog. Please enlighten me how I can take off on a whim…finally only on a retired income in 2013.

    Reply
    1. The Perpetual Vagabond Post author

      Hello,

      You ask many good questions, but I’m not sure I have good answers. I grew up in extreme poverty and spent most of my childhood on the go; moving from place to place and always trying to find something better…I guess that translated into my adulthood in which I have sacrificed stability for a continued life of change. I have worked since I was 15 years old, I don’t have children of my own (by choice), and I have given up many of the comforts of a “normal” life to live the one I have chosen. I have chosen this path and would never claim it is better or worse than anyone else’s.

      But, with that said, I am also very fortunate. I have a great family and wonderful friends who support me. I am a photographer and support my travels through selling my work as well as have a career in environmental education which allows a certain amount of flexibility.

      I travel because I love it and I love to share what I experience with others. This life I have chosen is no different than the life anyone chooses…I am still living each day with myself, my thoughts and my actions regardless of whether I am walking across spain or going to work teaching kids in the outdoors…I work hard, spend lots of time imagining what’s possible and never let go of my dreams.

      I don’t really know what to say beyond that…there are lots of little financial details that we could discuss, but since I have never made more than $20,000 a year in my life it wouldn’t be very revealing. I’m just creative in how I use the money I earn…

      I wish you the best in your future adventures and I hope you find what you are looking for!

      Cheers,

      ~Lauriel

      Reply

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