Tuesday, 27 November 2012

embracing my inner voyager

A different kind of nature from the PNW

What is it like to leave everything behind? I could give you a stock answer. It’s freeing. It is an occasion to start fresh. It is a chance to try new things. Certainly, it includes some of the above, but it is more complex than that.

On the practical side, we left an art studio, a marine services business, our loving families, and a tight-knit group of friends, (most of who have come to see us in Mexico). The closest I have ever come to have roots anywhere, is Victoria. Yet, in all the years I lived there, I never could shake the desire to travel to parts unknown.

Growing up, other than family visits to France and the rare road trip, my exposure to traveling came in the form of narratives from visiting missionaries. My catholic parents befriended missionaries who would entertain us children with stories about their lives abroad. Descriptions of the tropical heat and unbelievably giant bugs, a tale about pigs holding court in a church, and anecdotes about cultural misunderstandings, sparked my initial thirst for adventure.

At the age of 8, my teacher asked us to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I drew myself as a missionary. When my parents asked me why, I clearly remember saying: “So that I can travel around the world and learn to speak other languages.” At the time, it was the only way I knew how to justify exploring this planet we call Earth. I personally find it funny that it had nothing to do with any kind of religious conviction. As an adult, I don't believe in imposing religious beliefs on anyone. But, to this day, I have always connected with my early desire for inter-cultural exchanges. I simply endeavour to observe, respect, and learn.

Sailing in the northern Sea of
I like to think of voyaging as welcoming the unknown. I’m not just giving things up or leaving things behind; I’m opening myself up to receiving. Of course, sometimes I wish I could be back in Victoria with my posse, enjoying “boat nights”, working on some crazy art project, or going on midnight bike rides. Yes, I miss the holidays, when we reveled in the chaotic and messy joys of family and stuffed ourselves with food and stories. I miss hikes and jam sessions with my long-time friends on Quadra Island. I miss the Moss Street market. I miss my studio. I miss coffee shops and art galleries. I miss the beauty of Canada’s west coast.

While I hold all that dear, I am also embracing new people, different adventures, varying landscapes, and telling and hearing new stories. I am challenged here. I am discovering different facets of myself I had not previously known. In the year I have been away, I have mourned, celebrated, and struggled. I have surprised myself, and disappointed myself. From afar, I have let go of some relationships, while finding renewed intimacy in others. At times, I have felt terribly lonely, yet I have also known indescribable joy. Not bad, for just over one year of voyaging.

So how does it feel to leave everything behind? The question should be how it feels to live a life of passion and adventure. It’s messy, it’s fulfilling, it’s complicated.

And sometimes, it feels just right.

Sun rises, night falls. Sometimes the sky calls. Is there a song there? And do I belong there? I’ve never been there, but I know the way. – Gonzo, “The Muppet Movie”

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...