If you’ve been following me for a while, you might have noticed my tagline: “adventures of a restless wanderer”. I don’t remember when I started using that officially, but it’s a phrase that’s always felt very true to who I am. I’ve always felt restless, and I’ve always been quite happy just wandering around.
“Adventures of a restless wanderer”, in my mind, sparked images of a free-spirited nomad, someone who wanted to see and do everything. Being in one place would never be enough—nothing would ever be enough. It described exactly who I was and what I was doing. I identified with restlessness, and I saw it as a positive—it was a quality I quite liked about myself.
I suppose restlessness can be good, in some ways. It might lead you to keep creating, to keep adventuring, to keep striving for more. Because of it, you might do a lot of really cool things. I imagine a lot of great ideas are the direct result of restlessness.
But “restless” is really just another way of saying “unsatisfied”
“Restless: unable to rest or relax as a result of anxiety or boredom”
There’s certainly nothing positive about being anxious or bored.
That’s exactly what I was (am), though. I’ve suffered with anxiety my entire life, about all kinds of things. Possibly worse is the extreme boredom I experienced with the small world that surrounded me growing up. And it was exactly those 2 things that led me to start traveling. I tried to get rid of my boredom and mask my anxiety by going on adventures. Wandering aimlessly seemed to be the only way to fix these issues.
To be fair, it worked. Traveling helped me overcome some of my more extreme anxieties (though I still deal with it), and it definitely stopped me from being bored.
But at some point, being unable to rest or relax becomes quite tiresome. Restless wandering is not sustainable. At the time, I very much enjoyed moving around just because I could. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and putting myself in all sorts of unfamiliar situations was so important for me. I am so grateful for everything I learned during those years.
Here’s the thing, though: I’m just not that restless anymore.
Not because I don’t get bored or anxious. Not because I don’t want to keep traveling. Not because there aren’t still a million places I’d like to see. Not because I want to stop adventuring or wandering or creating.
I’m not restless anymore because I’ve learned how to appreciate the slower moments. I’m still trying to learn patience, but I know that instant gratification only works in the short-term, and I guess I’m trying to think about the long-term now.
I want to keep traveling. I want to keep traveling A LOT. I still want travel to be a big part of my life (hello, this blog is not going anywhere). But in order to fit it into my life the way I want to, I have to learn how to sit still and work on bigger things. I want to grow this blog into a larger travel-focused business, and building something like that takes a lot of focus and commitment. For me, that requires traveling a little less in the beginning.
Since returning from New Zealand one year ago, I’ve barely traveled at all, and only domestically. I kept waiting to feel that restlessness creep back up. It has a little bit, but I’ve had several chances to travel, or to leave entirely, and I chose to stay.
To be entirely honest, I was using travel as an escape. I could avoid feeling depressed or anxious if I was too busy going to a new place to think about my feelings. So I moved to a new place every time I started to feel comfortable, because to me, comfortable meant boring. I realize that avoidance is not the answer, which is why I wanted to force myself to sit still.
Instead of traveling because I’m restless—because I’m bored and I don’t know what else to do and I’m feeling directionless—I want to travel because I have a purpose.
I want to choose a life of travel instead of falling into it.
I want to make decisions based on my goals, not my fears.
I want to consciously CREATE my own life, and I want to see the world while doing it.
Which conveniently brings me full circle. I’m doing away with my old tagline in favor of a new one. Something a little more fitting for my current mindset and my current way of traveling.
My new tagline is mostly meant as a reminder to myself: create the life you want to live while traveling (but don’t let it stop you from progressing or committing to things). For you, dear reader, I hope my new tagline (and my blog posts) will inspire you to make travel a part of your life, even if it’s not your whole life. Live your dreams, make them a reality. And have some adventures along the way.