I have a hard time staying in one place.
I used to think that my apparent inability to remain living in one place for more than a few years at a time was a fault, an annoying idiosyncrasy, or an indicator of a more serious issue. I almost believed that I kept moving because I was running: from ex-girlfriends, from jobs (or lack thereof), from life. Each time a big life event occurred, or I just got tired of being somewhere, I simply up and left, and that was fine with me.
I just recently turned thirty years old. I have no real job anymore, and I moved to Portland, Maine in early March just for the hell of it. Friends, family, and new acquaintances ask me all the time, “Why Maine?” I never have a good answer, at least not one that will satisfy them. And so, people come up with their own answers, usually negative: you’re running from your problems, Chris, running from your past. They say, you don’t deal with the negative things that affect your life, Chris, you simply pick up and start somewhere else. But I know better.
At heart, that’s really what it is. I’m a traveler. For many years, my desire to see places I’ve never been has overshadowed any thought of settling down in one location. I eat up television travel shows like candy. I read blogs, essays, and travel guides as if my very existence depends on knowing where others have gone. I’m constantly asking people to take road trips with me. I love airports, hotels, campsites, and hostels. When I move to a new town, the first thing I do is wander the streets. It’s the best way for anyone to really learn about a place.
Sure, the amount of desire waxes and wanes over time, but it’s always there. I get cabin fever very easily. Even exploring the bookstore down the street is a journey into new, exciting territory that gets my juices pumping (the store – Longfellow Books – is a wonderful local shop with an excellent selection of things you’ll hardly be able to find at any big box). Of course, like any other vagabonder, I long for travel to exotic locales, sampling food from street market vendors in Vietnam, walking through the base of a giant Redwood, and yes, even kissing the Blarney Stone.
The Wonder Years.
I call them that because I wonder what I did during my childhood. I was sheltered, a quivering husk of flab and nervousness whose idea of adventure consisted of exploring no further than the woods behind my father’s house. I grew up shy and lonely. Yet, there was always this tiny part of me that I now call The Pusher. I imagine myself standing on a precipice, staring at the edge, one foot dangling over the potential of adventure. Fear of the unknown, fear of risk, and fear of rejection all keep me from trusting in my own abilities and stepping off the edge. Then The Pusher comes along and suddenly both my feet have left solid ground. I’ve made the leap, and damn if it doesn’t feel fine! That little part of me, The Pusher, is what makes me a traveler. And I realize he’s always been there with me.
I want more.
Despite this innate desire to experience the world, I’ve traveled to surprisingly few places. I’ve only ever been to three foreign countries, and all within the last three years. I haven’t seen much of the U.S. outside of the NorthEast. My travel list is lengthy and steadily growing. I want more.
And so, I give to you my experiences as I take up my backpack and set out to see more. Starting with my life move to Maine, this will be my journal of who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. I want to understand, I want to network, I want to have fun, I want to live. Really, I just want to travel.