Death of a wanderer

I swear the planes flying overhead are somewhat louder today. Maybe, it’s the spring air and their noise is travelling further in the clear blue sky. More likely, it’s because I could’ve been on one of those planes this morning… to New York… and I consciously chose not to go.

WHO DOES THAT?!?!

Honestly, who in their right mind decides not to go to New York? Who in their right mind chooses not to go overseas, period. Me. And I was fine with that decision until this morning when the planes started taunting me with their low flight paths and engine sounds trailing long behind the big metal lumps rising into the blue horizon… probably flying to New York… well at least LA and then connecting to NY.

I’m in mourning. But, I shouldn’t be. I decided not to go. I put my big girl pants on, sat down, and consciously went through all the reasons for and against going to New York:

FOR:

  • I would be spending time with my yoga teacher and fellow yogi’s at the NY Ashram
  • Travel
  • It’s New York
  • Travel
  • Yoga
  • Travel

AGAINST:

  • I’m getting married in a couple of months and should probably save some money to buy future hubby a wedding ring
  • Should be working on Ph.D.
  • Can continue practicing yoga with yoga community at home
  • Just got back from trip to Malawi two months ago
  • Future hubby’s daughter wants to come with whenever I go overseas and can’t

The first four on my list of reasons not to go to New York were quickly demolished as excuses:

  • Did it really matter if I got future hubby a proper ring or a plastic toy one?? We were getting married and making a commitment, so the ring was just a symbol, right??
  • My Ph.D. is in creative writing. I only need a laptop. I could work anywhere if I really wanted to.
  • Pretty sure my local yogi’s would understand if I went to NY for a complete yoga immersion at the Ashram. Hell, they’d probably all want to come with me.
  • That was Malawi, this is New York. Different place, different reasons for going. And Malawi was a whole two months ago!

But, it was the last point on my ‘against list’ that got me. Future hubby’s daughter is five years old. And over the course of our relationship I have slowly lessened the amount of travel I do, both in the length of trips and number of trips per year.

Correction: I have lessened the amount of SOLO travel I do. We make a huge effort to go on family camping trips or weekend’s away. We’ve even turned our upcoming wedding into a holiday, stretching it over six days of beachside hangs. But driving a few hours away to go camping doesn’t have quite the same air of excitement as jumping on a plane and heading halfway around the world for months at a time to lose yourself in another culture and place.

If I had to make the same decision right now, if someone said: quick you can jump on this plane heading to NY right now! I’d still say no. I’d still stay here, so I could be here for her just in case I was needed. When you live in split households every moment you get together is precious because when they are not with you, you’re missing out on what is going on in their life. I could use the argument that I’m not her mother so technically I don’t have to be here for her. But it doesn’t work that way. I still feel guilty for leaving her, and her dad, every time I go overseas. When future hubby and I decided to take the leap and be more than just friends, I knew that compromises would be made. And one of those compromises is that I would do anything for the two humans who mean more to me than anything else in the world. The older she gets the harder it is to go overseas without her because I don’t want to leave her behind and she doesn’t want to be left behind. It’s not my decision to make about her going overseas though. That is for her parents to decide. But, she is five years old and has the rest of her life to explore the world, so there is no rush to go to places halfway around the world right now anyway. Instead, we keep our explorations local. But we do them together as a family. So no one is left behind.

So when the time came to click the purchase button on a ticket to New York, I closed down the browser and walked away. I told my New York yogi friends that I didn’t have the money and the universe had other plans in store for me. I was avoiding the real reason behind not pressing BUY on cheapflights.com six weeks ago when I had the chance. Me, the self-proclaimed wandering gypsy, had planted roots and didn’t want to go without my little tribe. This was different to a trip to Malawi. New York was all about me, and suddenly I don’t feel like that’s a good enough reason to go anymore. Money was never the issue. When travel is involved there is always a way to make it happen, whether I’m broke or not. Something greater had occurred, though. Something had changed and subsequently I was growing as a person.

If I were to be really honest with myself, maybe rather than mourning the loss of a trip to New York, I’m mourning the loss of a part of me. Something has shifted. Something that makes me put aside a trip to New York so that I can be here on the off-chance that I might have to pick up future hubby’s daughter from school one day or because I want to spend the weekend playing in the park or at the beach with my family. Or buying future hubby a wedding ring instead of buying myself another plane ticket.

I feel like I’m mourning the loss of my wandering self. The self that hated to be in one spot for more than six weeks at a time. The self that after arriving back in Australia, after losing all her money in a poker game in Vietnam, lived out of a backpack, sleeping on people’s couches, floors, caravans and once in her car, in order to avoid settling back down. That self is gone. I have settled, putting roots down for the first time in a very long time. It is scary and exciting all at once and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My choices would be the same. There will still be adventures – they’ll just be closer to home.

Another plane flies over and I’m reminded that just because I’m not on one to New York this time, doesn’t mean I won’t go somewhere (anywhere) at some other time… Maybe by myself, or maybe next time I’ll be fortunate enough to take my family with me.

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