Packing my belongings into boxes has become second nature to me. For the last 13 years I’ve been living nomadically, trying on new cities like some people try on new suits.
This wanderlust began with a decision to follow my gut and leave my hometown of Clarenville, Newfoundland at the age of 17. Although I didn’t understand at the time where this urge to leave was coming from, I knew I had to go.
Some of those in my community took my strong desire to leave as an offence – misconstruing my unwavering need to leave as an insult to the community they called home. I love Newfoundland just as much as the next person; but a quiet calling for discovery was louder than the comforts of the familiar.
It took 13 years of moving and travel to finally begin to understand why I had that strong pull at my heartstrings to pack it all up so many years ago.
That pull took me on wild and grand adventures: I’ve lived from coast-to-coast of Canada, as North as the sub-arctic, and as South as Australia; I’ve scored all expense paid trips via car across Canada and via plane (of course) to Copenhagen; I’ve been part of a mobile bicycle theatre troop, cycled solo around New Zealand, and nearly bicycled myself to death on both the Cape Breton Cabot Trail and in Tasmania; I’ve slept in million-dollar homes, tents, dirty hostels, stranger’s houses, huts, couches, and third class overnight Thai trains; I’ve been sick in every country I’ve ever visited except the US and Denmark; I’ve been given endless free meals, tickets to a Rugby World Cup game, and car rides to ease the woes of a weary traveler (me); I’ve met travel companions, lovers, and my best friend along the way; and I’ve received tremendous gestures of loving kindness from people in every place I’ve been.
So one would think that my next move would be easy. I’m “well seasoned” as they say. Shouldn’t practice make perfect? As it turns out, that’s not necessarily the case.
My next move is scheduled for less than 1 week from now. My things are currently strewn about my Vancouver apartment – mostly packed – as I prepare for, what I hope to be, my last move for quite some time.
About 2 years ago, all of my priorities switched – almost on a dime.
My desire for nomadism ceased – my desire for groundedness and stability set in like a stake to mark one’s territory in the soil.
It may sound cliché, but the words have never rang more clear: “You can’t have it all.”
Once my body said enough was enough, it wanted a home, community, family, and all the things that take time and energy to build. And, I didn’t want to take the time to build them – I wanted them right away!
This brought on some serious personal reflection. I looked back at my life, now that I was finally still, and thought:
“What was I running from?”
Every pattern in our lives has a deeper meaning and a fundamental truth behind it. Perhaps you: have trouble keeping a job, always attract the same type of partner, never feel like you connect with your friends, etc….
My pattern (one of them) was a constant state of transition.
The new lens from which to view my nomadic history was not from that of a Canon Rebel but from that of the inner self. The true self sends messages to be deciphered by your consciousness.
The steps for deciphering are simple:
1) Identify a pattern
2) Determine why that pattern exists
3) Do the necessary work to change the pattern
4) Relish in the satisfaction of knowing yourself on a deeper level and releasing the hold that pattern had on you and your life.
I was running.
Except my subconscious was super sneaky and didn’t want me to figure that out so easily – I wasn’t running away from anything, I was biking away from everything!
Looking back, there were many things I did not want to face that were way easier to run away from. And, hey, I liked travelling, so avoiding the things I didn’t want to face became a whole lot easier when I liked doing the thing that took me away from dealing with them.
I didn’t feel that I was good enough to follow my true passions; I didn’t know myself enough to follow the things that made my heart sing; I had insecurities about my body and romantic relationships; I had a tumultuous relationship with one of my brothers; and I always became bored with my employment, demanding more from my employers and co-workers until I was officially unhappy and left.
I honestly had no idea I was running or what I was running from until I stopped, and reflected.
Things got messy for a while.
Really f*&/ing messy.
But I was determined to do the work. I wasn’t going to allow myself to continue in a pattern that didn’t serve me.
If you want different things, than you have to do things differently.
So this next move, is hard. It’s really hard because I want to make sure it’s not just part of my old pattern, but rather me creating a new pattern that was set with intention, integrity and purpose. It’s a new me packing for a new purpose.
I have created ways to live my passions that I was previously afraid to do; I’m learning more and more about the things that make my heart sing so that I can do them more often; I’ve learned to love my body and created space for the right person to love it too; I’ve created boundaries with my brother and stopped taking on the consequences of his choices; and I’ve decided that instead of pushing employer’s boundaries I should just push my own by becoming my own boss and being an entrepreneur.
In the end, everything is just practice to prepare you for the next step. I’ve been preparing my whole life for this next move, I just didn’t realize it until I got here.
Recommendation: Take a few minutes to reflect on what one or more of your personal patterns are. If you cannot recognize one, ask someone close to you and be open to hearing what he or she has to say without judgment.