Wanting to wander, hoping to be found

Ganges River in Rishikesh, northern India

How is it that I’ve only been in Hawaii 6 months and I’m daydreaming about being somewhere else?  I love Hawaii and I am happy to be here – there is really no place I’d rather be – but I find myself fantasizing about  being in India or perhaps Indonesia (Camilla!!!).  I suppose it’s a form of escapism, and I don’t have a problem with it, unless it prohibits me from enjoying where I currently reside. Hawaii has so much to offer and I have been very intentional to both enjoy it and be thankful.

One of my favorite quotes is by Tolkien (from Lord of the Rings) and includes the phrase, “Not all who wander are lost”.  I used to have a bumper sticker on my old car in college with the phrase.  Do I resign to being a wanderer?  Or always looking for something else?  I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.  Working this semester in addition to coursework I’m sure has contributed to the wanderlust.  When my level of responsibility arises, I often feel the urge to take off and be free.  Yet, without stability and some level of obligation, I become a bit aimless and depressed.  I know I need both people and community.  I spent way too much time in my last place of residence avoiding becoming too attached and I regret it.  One of my main goals here in Hawaii is connection and community (it’s a great place for both!).  So how do I have both freedom and structure?

And my daydreams of India… what is it about India that continually draws me in?  I suppose my time there, albeit brief, was extremely meaningful.  It was about a year ago when I realized that the only rules I have to live by are the ones I create, not what society (or parents) expect of me.  Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas, was a small town that attracts people from all over the world looking for something more… on a spiritual level.  It’s not exactly an easy place to get to nor is it on the route to other popular attractions.  What most visitors had in common, despite their backgrounds, was the desire for more.  There was a deep and almost instant connection with most people I met.  More than anything, I left with a renewed vision of what I really wanted out of life and that I wasn’t necessarily living that life.  It was as if India and the people I met gave me permission to venture out and follow my heart.  I can truly say that part of the reason I am in Hawaii is due to such revelations.  Now that I’m here, I seek to continue in following the path that will bring me most joy.

So I’m entertaining the idea of being a stable wanderer.  Living a full life in the present, engaged in relationships and community, yet free to explore the world.

(photo: Ganges River in Rishikesh, northern India)

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2 thoughts on “Wanting to wander, hoping to be found

  1. Wow, very insightful. It’s so true that experiencing life in other cultures can open our perspective to what life is. I believe that some people have a soul that is meant to continuously experience new things, bringing back those perspectives to share with others in their “home” community and implementing cross-cultural learnings into their own lives. Being content in your home base and community will give you strength and encouragement to go out and explore because you know the stability of what you have to return to. Maybe it’s not that one isn’t content with where he/she is, but has a true hunger to explore.

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