Its possible that I have a fear of standing still. I tend to twitch when I’ve been in once place too long, or if its been a really long time, spontaneous dance moves have been known to occur. This is also true on a macro level. In the last 7 years I have changed residences 10 times, towns 5 times, and countries/continents 3 times. There’s probably some deep seeded psychological reason why I feel the need to continue to relocate but for now I’ll just blame it on a sense of adventure.
I’ve really enjoyed the ride so far. I’ve had some incredible experiences that I never expected to do in even my wildest dreams. If you would have told me that I was going to live in Japan 5 years ago I would have looked at you like your head just few off and went bouncing down the road. Asia was never on my radar. Riding an elephant; I didn’t even know that was legal. (probably isn’t) I never thought that I would be living in the homeland of Vincent Van Gogh and the Nederlands Dans Theatre. These things just tend to fall into place with some planing and prayer. I also plan on continuing these adventures until I find some reason to slow down and stay in one place for a while.
While the constant relocation had given me opportunities to have ridiculous adventures, and make some incredible friends all over the world, there is a bit of a downside. I haven’t really had the chance to create deep roots anywhere. Most of the friends that I have made in my travels are temporary residents as well. It was great to meet friends from all over the world while in Japan, however, it also means that visiting all of them will be pretty costly. Even my friends still living in the United States have managed to move to every corner of the country. On those occasions that I do go back to the homeland, visiting college/high schools friends/ family is no easy feat.
Times of transition can also be difficult. Leaving one great place to go to another can be exciting but also painful. Take my exit from Kagawa for example. I had just made friends with a great group of people a few months before leaving. Our friendships were still on the upswing of the friendship. There was so much more potential for awesome. Besides, it never feels good to say goodbye to good friends. I know that I’ll be able to pickup where I left off with people that really are friends. But I still miss having those people in my daily life. Our strange little jokes, spontaneous adventures/dance parties, and late night pick up talks, for example. Each of my friends have had a unique role in my life that isn’t easy to replace.
Meeting new people is great. Its given me the chance to learn so much about the world while traveling. I’ve been able to find out about cultures that I haven’t even visited. I’ve met so many people from South Africa, France, and England that I feel like I have had the prep courses for visiting. There are also times that I crave familiarity. A place that I can truly call home, or a friendly/ familiar face. I love making new friends, but sometimes I don’t want to start from square one. I want a person that knows the backstories to my friends so I can start telling a story without giving additional explanations. Or someone who knows all the stupid stuff that I have done so my random acts don’t seem quite as crazy. I don’t have to explain or entertain, we can just “be” together and that’s good enough. After a whole lot of new, there’s nothing better than old, familiar and worn in.
This hit especially hard after arriving in the Netherlands. I was still getting used to leaving my fabulous Japan friends, and didn’t stay with a group of people for more than 3 days while in Thailand. I was ready to just be in one place for a while. I wanted to see / be with someone I already knew. I wasn’t really in the mood for something new I really just wanted something familiar. This resulted in me making little to no effort in exploring / meeting people for the first 2 weeks in the country. My family probably thought there was something wrong with me, or I wasn’t happy. I really was I just wanted to take it easy for a while. Luckily my host family has been incredible. They have made me feel so welcome and at home that it has been the next best thing to familiar. Almost a new familiar. For now I think that I’m over this little hump. I’m starting to meet new people, been exploring the area, and have a fabulous summer trip planned.
Things will be good for a while. I don’t regret moving frequently and don’t really plan on stopping any time soon. There are those times though, when the loneliness creeps in to remind me of the friends that are far away. I find these times are best solved with a grand adventure, skype date, cookie dough, or McDonalds (they’re everywhere).