Not all who wander are lost – J. R. R. Tolkein.
If you haven’t seen this quote then you probably haven’t been on Facebook, visited the Target and Barnes and Noble office section, scanned Pinterest, or been anywhere, including the Internet, in that matter.
Just kidding. I’m sure you have a fantastic life outside of social media and cliché consumerism.
This quote might be stamped on every cutesy planner, calendar, mug, and poster for teens and young women but it’s still a valid quote that resonates with me.
"We are all searching for our place in this world no matter where we are or what we are doing."
There’s this concept that those who travel have hit an identity crisis or have lost a loved one, maybe even themselves, and have to travel to heal and to find their true soul. This is not true. So, like Tolkein says, just because you’re a wandering soul does not mean you are a lost one.
With that being said, I often get asked why I travel.
They say, “Why do you travel? To find yourself? To become a better person?”
And if you’re curious why I travel then I’m afraid you will not get a direct answer.
I don’t travel to find myself.
Aren’t we all doing that every day? On our morning walk to get coffee, taking a shower, talking with friends, or while exercising, aren’t we all scanning our own thoughts and constantly reflecting on who we are?
You don’t have to travel to prove or find your identity.
We are all searching for our place in this world no matter where we are or what we are doing.
In that matter, does anyone ever “find” themselves?
To me, traveling isn’t about finding something.
Traveling is the air I breathe. It was never a question or a sudden inspiration later in life. Since I was very young I knew I was going to travel. Nothing external inspired me. It was just part of who I was.
It’s just like when I had to figure out how to take photos as a kid. I knew I had this passion and I began practicing it because why not? All I wanted to do was hold a camera and click the shutter as if it were an impulse.
I made scenarios with my stuffed animals, setting them up for tea-time or class photographs, just to take photos.
Taking these photos was not a questions of finding myself. I was just taking photos as if it were as normal as eating each meal every day. It was just as normal as having fun with my GeoSafari toy that helped me learn the geography of the world. It was was natural as playing with the globe that I asked my mom to take off the bookshelf from time to time. It was as common as me exploring the nature and woods around my house as a young kid, getting lost and not coming home for hours because I was exploring.
I need to travel just like I need to take photos just like I need to breathe. Traveling is not a matter of finding myself. Traveling is simply being myself.