"I've learned from my domestic and international travels that it's best to pack light. If I can't carry it myself, then I have to make the decision of what goes and what stays. Same with life. Sometimes we need to 'pack light' even when we're staying in with a good book."
I smile, thinking of all the trips I've taken and the ones yet to be planned, but I knew she was responding to me telling her that I don't know exactly where I'm going (professionally, relationally, etc.) and that I'm learning to enjoy the discovery. She adds, "I think you see life as a journey and you enjoy traveling it, while others may be more at peace by staying where they are."
I had never thought of it like that. It's true that I love to travel, literally. And, the truth is I am more at home as a traveler (also in my internal and spiritual life), though my first inclination was to disagree. Isn't it "wrong" to travel professionally, let alone spiritually? Doesn't that mean, if you're a traveler, that you're never satisfied (and isn't it somehow blasphemous to not be satisfied with God)? Shouldn't you just stay put and settle down, particularly after you reach adulthood?
Much of our lives we try to fit in. To be accepted. To follow the norm. We all want to feel our place in our families, communities, churches. We were born for community. It is vital for our survival. But there comes a time in life, thankfully, when we realize that's just too much work to try to be accepted for someone we are not; and we realize we want to fit in more with ourselves. We become self-accepting -- our idiosyncrasies, our shadows, and all.
So, instead of pushing away my friend’s discerning reflection, I found myself smiling and nodding, fully embracing that part of me that at times had me embarrassed: "Yes, I am a traveler." I exhaled deeply as if I was somehow making more room for myself in this world.
Being a "traveler" and accepting that doesn't mean I'm going to take a year to go backpacking (I'm not that kind of traveler) or that I don't love being home (which I do). But it does mean that a sense of clarity, purpose and acceptance allows everything else to line up. Example: I've stared cleaning out my closet. Something I've been thinking about for months, but it was my saying aloud and to somehow who was listening "I am a traveler" that sparked me into action.
Sounds simple, right? Wrong! I keep everything in my closet and have more than enough clothes and shoes and handbags for one person. But who wants to travel through life with all that stuff? I've learned from my domestic and international travels that it's best to pack light. If I can't carry it myself, then I have to make the decision of what goes and what stays. Same with life. Sometimes we need to "pack light" even when we're staying in with a good book.
Whether you are a "traveler" or not, life requires us to move in some direction. In all directions, really. Travel lightly. Take only what is necessary. Only what is needed, what is beautiful or what is deeply meaningful. You will need the space for the surprises God has in store. The ones yet to be revealed. Now, let's get ready to go!