The Scared Traveler, My Dirty Secret
January 29, 2014 Kristance Harlow
I write for a living. I write about myself and about the world. The façade I put on is that I do not fear self-analysis. I seem to be a person unafraid of being intimate with myself. That is my dirty secret. I continue to move and flee to all ends of the earth mostly because I am afraid of becoming intimate with myself. I want to write my own story, I have to write my own story.
Staying in one place means committing to life. I would have to let people know me. They will know more than the story I tell. My contradictory spirit would have to face criticism. I would lose control over what part of myself I show the world. Others will know that I choose to go out or not to go out. They will judge me for my visible choices. For my strange behavior that one day joyously welcomes social interactions and the next day shuns it. When you stay in one location, the responsibilities to others are greater. You are supposed to become a member of the community, a contributing life force doing something…anything.
When you aren’t moving all the time, friendships either become solidified or their foundations crack. I’d rather they fade because of distance, not because we clashed. I’ve been there and that is painful. I am much more comfortable to just be the long distance friend who comes and goes. That way being ignored or forgotten isn’t personal (even when it is). I can brush it off as being a side-effect of the nomadic life. Even in foreign lands, I shy away from developing deep friendships. They are sticky and complicated.
There are a few people in this world that I let see me in all my unabashed glory. The good, the bad, and the really ugly. There are very few people who know me on the days I am crippled by past hurts and internal fears. I am not so naïve to think I am the only one who experiences ups and downs in life. I am not the only one who lives in slow motion on days where just getting out of bed is a struggle. Crippling loss is not something I get to lay personal claim to. I am blessed beyond reason in the grand scheme of the world. Our lives are defined by the scars of our worst burns, we grow in strength each time we rise from those ashes as the phoenix.
Yet, I do not travel the world on those ash grown wings. I travel because it is what I know. I suppose I don’t travel with the joy I ought to. I am not going to lie, I am afraid of the world. I do fear what could become of me. I am most afraid of consistency, but I think it is something I wish I could happily achieve.
It is romantic to imagine the traveler as a carefree spirit. A restless nomad guided by an open heart. Flying around the world, lifted up and empowered by the winds of change. The traveling soul is supposed to be one that rebels against strict societal boundaries. Diverse experiences mold the traveler into an open minded soul who embraces the world, instead of fearing it. I am willing to move around the world because of my open-minded perspective, traveling didn’t give it to me.
I am not in the business of lying. I am careful and calculated in what mask I am willing to show others, but I don’t like to lie about what traveling is like. In many ways I am taken care of better than ever these days. I have the most wonderful partner I could imagine, someone who sees all the parts of me and loves each and every contradiction. I am seeing my dream career come to life before my eyes. My passion and my skills complement each other and I am actually making a living by being a writer.
I sadly am not comforted by idea of being normal, healthy, and happy. I fear that when I become too comfortable the rug will be torn out from under me. I am afraid of the walls caving in, but the walls can’t cave in in if I don’t live within them.
I will continue to live as the restless nomad. The contradictory character who lives on leaps of faith, afraid of the world but more afraid of not jumping. I love the thrill that comes before hitting the ground.
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