Over the past few years I’ve gotten quite a bit of flack from people who think I “move around too much,” or “never stay put.” When I was a little younger I thought that was some sort of reflection of myself, or rather my character, that I was running, or acting irrationally. I never let it bother me too much, but I always felt a little sensitive about it. I grew up in Seattle, moved to New York for school, took a year off, during which I moved back to Seattle but spent 2 months in LA (why? long story). I then returned to Seattle for the remainder of the year before going back to New York to finish school. After a year and a half back in New York, I decided to study abroad for my senior spring and went to Paris for 5 months. Then I traveled across Europe by myself for 2 months. I moved back to Seattle after graduation for a year and a half, and I just moved to LA a month ago, where I plan on staying (for now). While part of me thinks that I need to justify the triangular life I have created between Seattle, New York, and LA, another part of me wants to tell anyone who projects their regrets of not living in other places onto me to stick it where the sun don’t shine. I don’t run away from things, I was born with a burning desire to change my surroundings (while, I might add, maintaining global friendships all over the globe) in order to push myself to be more worldly, to meet new people, to never become stagnant, to explore, to understand how societies work, and to find out who I am when I am not in my comfort zones. I chose this path, very rationally. And yes, I have moved a lot, but really, I went to college, I took a break and came home, I studied abroad, I moved home. Then I changed cities to start my adult life. I’m sure I will move again. I’d put down money that I end up living in Africa for a bit and eventually spend half my time in Europe. Maybe that’s a fantasy, but maybe that’s just me knowing who I am.
My point is this: traveling in your 20′s, and of course into your 30′s and beyond, whether it’s short-lived, due to a move, or non-stop global gypsying, whatever, is a good thing. It helps create people who aren’t one-dimensional and who see things from multiple perspectives. These people, like myself, are the compassionate and creative problem solvers of the future because we don’t limit ourselves to what we already know.
So no, I won’t sit still. I won’t feel bad because I’m not getting married at age 25 because I haven’t stayed anywhere long enough to invest in a serious relationship (and honestly once I do that ends up being what, 60% of my life if I don’t get divorced? I don’t need to rush sharing a bed, thanks). And I won’t let my blood boil when baby boomers tell me I’m not practical or when millennials use it as casually insulting fodder. Traveling, moving, exploring, wanderlusting… I hold those experiences as some of the most valuable lessons and gifts in my life, and I feel no shame for connecting myself with this world, only gratitude.