Recently, on one of my get - away - from - it – all trips, I landed in San Diego; with sun on my face, an open heart and a nagging feeling that it was time to get another tattoo. Yes, I realize I have a mild addiction, but this particular quote, “Not all who wander are lost,” from JR Tolkien, had been calling me for a while. I went to a reputable and attractive (just sayin’) artist named Chowdah Bowl, who I had been to before, at “Above all Tattoos” in Pacific Beach. After I picked out the font and showed him some random art work, he was ready to go.
The design was simple and perfect. Once the tat was done, I took a look in the mirror and almost cried. A deep wave of emotion came pouring into my being and a weight lifted from my shoulders. I now owned the fact that I am a wanderer, a traveler and a Gypsy soul.
As cliché as some people will think this tattoo is, I just don’t fucking care. I actually really love this well-known inspirational phrase inked directly under my left collar bone. Chowdah Bowl did an exceptional job adding shadowy birds fluttering their way up my long neck into the direction of my untamed hair line. I love the symbolism. Generic as it could be perceived, the attitude with which I rock it is not.
I have lovingly been called a bird, a free spirit and an adventure lover. I agree with all these descriptions, even though I am not a fan of labels. But at least these descriptions, just by their nature, give me the ability to detach and fly away.
As I travel, I discover so many wild things about myself. I learn about the deepest parts of me as I interact with my new environment. The uncovering of who Becca truly is; without stresses – bills, failed relationships, self-doubt, and fears; leaves me felling rather vulnerable. I am tempted not to go there at times. But with no agenda or expectations, I rest in the glory of no responsibilities. I am able to come to truths that I never thought existed. I cry, scream, laugh and stand in awe at the depth of love I feel. There is nothing that replaces this journey to go beyond. Beyond our preprogramming, beyond our safety and beyond what we perceive we need to be.
When you come home, how does one incorporate this new found knowledge of self? When you look around you may feel like a foreigner speaking an unknown language and trying to desperately explain yourself with big ridiculous movements, as people stare blankly, nod and smile.
Those who travel will get this, and that is, when coming home; integrating back into regular life is one of the most challenging things to wrap your head around. It always feels like the environment has stood still and yet many changes have occurred within the depths of our cells, which ultimately makes us feel like a stranger in our own communities. The project then of sharing how the “trip” went is a mind boggling task to come up with the right words for the short summary, which inevitably comes across as overly simplified and diminishing.
For most of us wanderers, we have to come back. Coming back to the place we left, is generally part of the process. Work, love and our “regular” life awaits us. The permanent traveler may learn to incorporate the lessons learned as they move on, but for me, bringing myself back down to earth is a key to my development. When my feet finally touch down, I start the sometimes painful process of making change in circumstances that seem stagnant. I do not find integration easy, which is why I choose to do it over and over and over again. As I take one day at a time and slowly allow my journey to absorb into my every day surroundings with career, love, play, friends and family – that is where my inner work truly gets tested.
Many of you who are not world travelers are still journeying. You are making your way in a world of madness, as you walk down the road of truth with a capital T. Who are you? What will you stand up for? What makes you feel deeply? What changes need to be made to connect more fully? What layers will you shed to find an authentic voice?
What I know, is that once you have started to awaken, you will be challenged. However, whether you are hopping on a plane to unknown lands or traveling down an uncomfortable path in your home town, you will find your way.
Taking time to develop a plan to integrate some basic pieces about your new found knowledge is imperative. Try not to become burdened by life so quickly. You can still be YOU amongst the circumstances of life.
Make a decision day to day of how you will interact, set boundaries and continue to nurture your soul. You will grow, face fears, navigate to your core, and mindfully move moment to moment. Because that’s all we’ve got – is this moment. But you already know that…
Be a wanderer; a traveler; a bird; a gypsy; an open heart; a wild lion; a goddess; a god. The journey is not easy, but nothing worth digging for and uncovering, ever is.