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There are certain things you realize after wandering the Earth for over half a decade. Things which you never even knew were things until you get the perspective of being away for long period of time.
One of the things which has changed is my concept of home.
Like most people, prior to traveling I’ve lived in some sort of dwelling my whole life. I always had a place where I had my stuff and I could go to bed. Whenever I would travel, even when I was traveling around the US attending debate tournaments in college, I knew I would eventually be heading back to the place where I had all my stuff.
This is something which is ingrained so deeply in most people that they don’t even recognize it. They’ve never been without a home, so they’ve never had the feeling of being without it.
Regardless if you have a good or bad trip, the feeling is still there planted in the back of your head. If your trip is great, you will regret going home, and if it is a horrible trip you will be happy to go home. Either way, the idea of home is always there.
When I began traveling back in 2007, even though I had sold my house the idea of home was still stuck in my head like a vestigial meme. Many times during the first few months traveling I would find myself thinking about home only to catch myself. I would literally force myself to think, “No, you aren’t going home”.
For months this idea kept popping up in my head, and for months I had to beat it back down. It cause some low level anxiety for maybe the first half year I was on the road.
Eventually, I stopped thinking about home.
It wasn’t until several years later that I realized the shift that occurred in my thinking.
By jettisoning the idea of home I came to see wherever I am as being home. I know it sounds cheesy and zen, but I really do consider myself at home wherever I am in the world.
It is something which has given me considerable peace of mind. I’m seldom in a rush. I don’t get stressed when I have delayed or missed flights. I’m not worried about where I’ll be tomorrow or next year.
I am where I am right now.
This is a very difficult thing to explain if you have never experienced it. Even if I did have a home again at some point in the future, I don’t see myself going back to my old way of thinking.
Changing my mindset has been one of the biggest personal benefits to traveling.