I’ve had two ideas plaguing me the past couple of months. The first is that travel is more about running away from what you had than running toward something specific. Before coming to Brazil, I read Wanderlust: A Love Affair with 5 Continents by Elizabeth Eaves, and it both terrified me and broke my heart. I don’t want to be her when I grow up, living a seemingly glamorous, travel-inundated youth to wake up at 34, living nowhere I like, surrounded by unhealthy relationships, career-less, jaded to everything and moving back in with my parents.
Yet, I see myself in her, using travel as an escape. Before moving here I worked as a polysomnographic technician, which is just a fancy name for putting electrodes all over dirty people’s heads and watching them sleep. I worked my way through grad school that way, but then started working there full-time after graduation. It was killing me slowly. The boredom, the patients, the night hours, the lack of all interest on my part. I had few friends and a quickly souring relationship. In that kind of situation, how could I not put stock in Brazil as a fix-all? I can’t count the number of times I thought if only I were in Brazil, everything would be better. Of course, that’s not true, and makes me wonder when I’ll stop chasing something so elusive as happiness when nothing external will ever grant that.
Which brings me to the other idea that’s been everywhere lately. I’ve met a lot of people in the last month and a half, and many of them have told me of a place they just felt like they fit, their favorite place in the world. Whether it’s Mexico, Japan, Spain, or somewhere in between, these people have found where they feel they belong, and everything is about getting back there. A huge part of me wants to find my place like that. I’ve lived a lot of places and have never felt that sense of belonging. A piece of me suspects that that’s my primary motivator for traveling so feverishly this year. I’ve sensed for years that Brazil would be that place, and where I’ve been so far hasn’t been. But on the other hand, would that place make me as happy as it seems it has others?
Until I find out for sure, I guess I’ll keep wandering.