If I Wasn’t A Traveler…
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if just one thing was different? Maybe, if you hadn’t met the one person that changed everything? Or if you had grown up in a different place? What if you had different parents?
What kind of person would you be if just one thing was different, but that one thing changed everything?
That thing for me is traveling. Seeing how other people live around the world has been such an integral part of what shaped who I am that I can’t imagine what I would be without it. A deeper understanding of how culture make people who they are made me look at the world differently.
Who knows, maybe I would be the same after-all. Or maybe I would be a totally different person…
Disclaimer: This is by no means an assumption of how non-travelers are, it is just ponderings of what I personally would be.
Would I be a proud mom? Maybe when strange kids run their bodies into my legs at the grocery store I would be more understanding instead of rolling my eyes, swearing off kids forever.
Would I still dream of faraway lands? Would I be an armchair traveler, desperate to get away, but never actually doing it? Or would going to a place where I didn’t speak the language scare me too much to leave my comfort zone?
If I didn’t possess the innate need to disappear every few months, maybe I would have had a career. Instead of bouncing around like a true jill-of-all-trades, maybe I would have been an accountant. Maybe I would have loved it.
Would I have the same taste in food? Or would I eat like a child, my palate never developed? It might have been chicken nuggets and macaroni n’ cheese for dinner instead of spicy curries.
I would have had a lot more money — perhaps I would have saved or invested it. Or would I have blown it all away? In another life, maybe I bought nice cars. Or even better, I could have given all it all away to charity.
Would I follow the fashion trends and carry a purse like a ‘normal’ girl? Maybe I would enjoy going shopping on the weekends instead of being repulsed by consumerism.
I probably wouldn’t have had a need for a constant rush of adrenaline, and my hobbies would include much safer things like scrapbooking and crocheting instead of scuba diving and rock climbing. I’m sure my mother wouldn’t complain about that.
I can’t help but wonder if I would feel like I fit in more. If I didn’t possess the need to move around so much, I would probably feel like I could relate to people in one area, right? I would never know what it looked like for someone’s eyes to glaze over as I recount another travel story, recently returning from an adventure and unable to talk about anything else. I might actually be interested in the small talk that the average person engages in.
But what if another infatuation had not filled the hole in my soul, and I had fallen for something that destroyed me? I could have easily gotten mixed up with drugs, or worse. Would I pull myself out of it, or would I need to replace it with something, or someone?
I can’t help but assume the person I would be attracted to would also be different than my current partner, and I wouldn’t have turned away many-a-men that didn’t understand my wanderlust. God forbid, I would have ended up with one of them more permanently.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t have met so many of the people in my life that mean so much to me. The people who understand, and who are living the lonely traveler’s life as well.
My book collection certainly would have been different and lacking all of the anthropology titles. I can’t imagine not wanting to learn about different people around the world, but maybe I would be equally fascinated with something I can not even guess. Archery? Physics, maybe?
Uninfluenced by differences in cultures and universal compassion, would I have totally different morals? Would I be less kind? What if all of these differences had lead me to be a Republican?
I think I was always an explorer, even before I started venturing out and actually exploring. My soul has never been able to sit still, it always wants to see and learn more. Travel fulfilled that restlessness, and without it I get antsy.
I’m a traveler at heart, even when I’m not traveling.
Not everyone feels that ways about travel and that’s okay. They’ve got other things that make them them — things I probably know nothing about. My soul knows travel because it made me who I am.
It’s extremely difficult to imagine who I would be without it. Maybe I wouldn’t be much different at all? I think there would have to be some big differences though.
My challenge to you is to pinpoint what the biggest influence in shaping you was, and then think about what life would have been without it.