Choose Life; Choose Travel

This is going to be one of my most honest posts to date. It’s daunting to write but I feel that I need to put this feeling in to words: why I have to keep travelling. Since I finally came home to England last month people are constantly asking me what my next move will be – some suggesting it’s time to ‘settle down’ (shudder). No, I reply. Not now; not yet.

90 Mile Beach, New Zealand
I’ll keep travelling to find views like this | 90 Mile Beach, New Zealand

Here is why. Below is something I wrote in 2012 while at the lowest I’ve ever felt; reeling from a broken heart, probably with tears streaming down my face and my stomach in a knot of depression. My own words from the past still speak to me now and help me understand myself.

“In one moment all my hopes and dreams had ended.

“Isn’t that what life boils down to in the end – a series of moments that determine the rest of our fate forever? When you look back over your past memories seem brief; condensed; abbreviated. You recollect apparently random events and encounters that aren’t even necessarily the best times. It seems to me that the human brain is unable to retain the essence of the most intense emotions we experience in life. In some ways this is good as it dulls the pain of our darkest moments. But those moments of pure, unadulterated happiness – can we ever recount those times as accurately as we might wish?

“Some moments define the way our lives are led. A chance meeting; a first kiss; a decision; a proposal; a letter; a death; an accident; a break-up.

“We can’t always control the points in life when we are moved onto a different track. Often, the future we see before us can disappear in an instant. Yet we strive for and cling to those moments of joy and love that really are what life is all about. All the time, never knowing what may lie around the corner.”

Cathedral cove
In life as in travel: we don’t know what’s next until we get there | Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

When I rediscovered this last week I loved past-me for having the guts to write it. Although originally composed in a haze of sadness I find a lot of hopefulness in the words. The realisation that life has to be lived in the moment was dawning upon me, and the following 20 months of travelling cemented that belief forever. I don’t want to wake up when I’m 50 years old, look back over my life and think, “What if?” I’m going to wake up when I’m 50 knowing that I’ve enjoyed my youth, taken chances, and fully embraced every moment that happened along the way, good and bad.

This is why I travel. I have to; I need to. There are many more moments of adventure in me. There is an unexplored something I need to discover.

I’ve got a feeling that whatever I find, it’s going to be extraordinary.

10 thoughts on “Choose Life; Choose Travel

  1. I just fell in love with past-you, too. Having just, over the past several years, fallen in love, gotten engaged, quit my job, and moved across the world, I felt like I was watching flashbacks of my own life while I read your post. Thank you so much for this.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I’m so happy you can empathise. Sounds like a lot of brave decisions and changes but if it makes you happy it’ll all be worth it 🙂

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