Last summer, when discussing life goals, things we want from life, and places we’d like to travel, a friend compared me to a “lost puppy.” The idea that I see something that looks intriguing and chase it for a short while until I see something else that draws my interest. Like a puppy chasing butterflies, I was easily distracted with little purpose. That seemingly small comment really seemed to bother me.
When I get down to it, I feel like they didn’t understand who I am or where I’ve come from. I feel that it was a rash judgment, ill informed at the core. Now, I am not the kind of person who feels the need to justify my life decisions, but if I can help someone better understand why I travel, then I may as well give it a shot.
So I started by writing down a history of my life moves. I listed each time I have changed homes throughout my entire life. This is what it looks like:
I have moved 18 different times so far.
According to the 2011 census, the average American moves 11.7 times in their life. By age 25, I have experienced 33% more moves than most people do in their ENTIRE lives. At first I was upset after looking at this long list of moves. Was I unstable, moving so often, or was it something else? Many people ask, “Where are you from?” How can I give a legitimate answer. I have always considered New Baltimore as my hometown because the majority of my childhood memories were in that town. Learning to skateboard, little league, my first kiss, countless Bay-a-Ramas, and many other memories. That house in New Baltimore also seems to be the one which frequents in my dreams, whenever I dream of a home environment. I am fine with that though. I have an unusual answer to a frequently asked question, fine by me. It’s just another topic for conversation, like my white eyebrow.
I don’t think I ever fully realized why why or how I could always be so prepared to up and go on short notice. It’s because it has been such a common occurrence in my own life. In 2007, after an unsuccessful summer of nonstop job searching; I made a decision to move to Colorado. I had never been there, but was assured by my sister that I’d have no problem finding a job in a better environment. So I purchased a one way ticket to Denver and two weeks later, I was living and working across the country. In 2011, I was offered an internship in Korea. Two weeks before I was supposed to fly out to Korea, the company made a massive change to the internship. I would begin in Korea and move to the Philippines shortly after to see out the rest of our contract. I had never been to either country, but was mentally prepared for anything that might come my way. I honestly think that the frequency of my life moves has created in me a readiness to travel and experience new things.
Moving so often while growing up meant that I was consistently meeting new people in the new schools, often only staying for a year. This certainly cost me stability for a time, but in return it helped me create and fine-tune my social skills for almost any situation. In retrospect, the “puppy” part might be a correct assessment as I am lighthearted and can find enjoyment in just about any situation, but the “lost” part is far from true! I carefully evaluate what brings value into my life, what I would like to do, where I would like to travel, and who I surround myself with. I set out to make those things happen in my own life, instead of what most people do, just sitting by and talking about them. So I challenge you to do the same! Know what drives you, what you are interested in, what you want to do, and take the steps to ensure that you are able to bring those thoughts into a reality. It is a lot easier than you think.