I am always entranced by the fervidity of a hummingbird. These remarkable creatures have the capacity to fly left, right, forward, backward, and even upside down. Their feet are made for perching, and they spend the majority of their life hovering in flight. Seeing one is always electrifying, because an individual knows that in an instant the bird will be gone, just as quickly as he came.
I saw one once, with her long delicate beak, gulping down the nectar of a blossom in the sticky rainforests of Costa Rica and I realized that my insides resonated with this vibrant bird’s spirit. I have spent the past years of my life flitting from continent to continent, gulping down the nectar of various cultures that I haven’t had a moment to perch.
I've been vagrant for so long, my soul has adapted a bit of a gypsy-like lust to explore and reconnoiter the quilts of land throughout the world. I covet new places, new foods, new cultures to submerse myself in. I crave the smells of a South American night by the ocean or the noises of an African rainfall on a tin roof.
I have currently reached a point in my life where it appears that the past five years have to be tucked gently away in my bag, alongside my clothing, and I must begin to settle…to perch. In the next six days I will be moving my belongings from my parent’s home in Arizona to Washington D.C. to begin graduate school and two jobs for which I fear I may not be qualified. Stress seeps her way into my dreams, and worry tickles the back of my neck. What if I am unhappy? What if this life that I have forged for myself isn’t necessarily what I expected it to be?
I have tried convincing myself these past couple days that a life in the city will be inspiring, a new, dauntless adventure.
Why, then, does this move have me feeling more trepidation then when I relocated my life to a tiny village in an entirely new continent, without knowing a single soul?
I venture that the answer is the one thing I have been avoiding the majority of my life: structure.
During my four years in the Peace Corps, I followed a certain arrangement. There were deadlines I had to abide by, and a mutual goal that was agreed upon. But in the wake of the daily happenings, there was never a norm. I set my own schedule, planted seeds and ate the flesh of impulse. My mouth salivated with the anticipation of the unknown. Split-second decisions were my branches, and the pack on my back became my home.
Traveling has been my longest commitment. Since we first met, I have grown internally, soulfully, and fear that with this break, we may never be the same again. I will always long for the butterflies he gave me at daybreak, looking to the sunrise, and the satisfaction of knowing that I lived every day to its fullest as the sun set. I now must bid travel and that life of whim farewell. At least for the next two years.
I surrender to the overwhelming standards set by expectation. But continue to ask why and keep my love affair rife with adventure, with life. I know the white knight of travel will always be waiting for me, gallivanting and boasting his sword of voyage.
Onward and upward.