Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"The world is my home"

          I just attended an extremely interesting presentation of a guy who spent one thousand days traveling the world on a budget of one thousand euros. He had many adventures to tell and wrote a book about his experience. Although it is currently only in Croatian (he is from Zagreb), he is releasing an English version soon. I am putting in a plug here because he seemed to be a really great guy with some awesome adventures to tell. So visit his website, http://www.1000daysofsummer.com, and buy his book when it comes out. (Or if you know Croatian, you could get a copy now). One thing that really intrigued me was that he said the world was his home for the last three years.
          That is who I have always imagined myself to be; a girl who can feel at home wherever she travels. I love traveling and I love meeting new people. I like to break down stereotypes and learn about new cultures. This is the reason that I came to Croatia. However, as much as I love these things, I realize that I don't feel at home in all places. Even here in Osijek, where I have put in so much effort to make it my own place, I don't feel at home. Even at EMU, where I was so comfortable, I never felt really connected to the place. I was connected to the people and I was so happy where I was, but I never became connected to the actual place. As much as I loved Harrisonburg, and as much as I love Osijek, I don't see a future in either of these places.
          As I expressed recently about my need for community in my life, I also long for a connection to a place. I long to feel at home and to be rooted. People often talk about needing wings to fly and roots to keep you grounded. I definitely have found my wings. I love adventure and I have learned to take risks and set out on my own. But so far, my roots have been to people. As I have been here in Croatia, it has been really hard because my roots, my people, were back in the United States. I tried to put roots here, but I was not able to do so. I found people, really, really great people, but I did not find a place to put roots.
          I realize that as much as I want to be someone who can just travel the world and be perfectly happy for one thousand days, I am not. I admire Tom (the guy whose presentation I went to) and others who live such lives, but this life is not for me. I long for roots to stable me so I am able to fly. I will keep traveling, because honestly, I am addicted. But I don't think that I will live internationally by myself again. If I am going to live internationally, I need either a community (or person) in which I can place roots, or a place to which I am deeply connected.
          Osijek is not this place. Harrisonburg is not this place. As I have mentioned before in my blog, the only places I have ever truly felt connected to were Colorado and Iraq. I have no plans to move to either one anytime soon, but I feel that my journey in those places is not done. Colorado has been there for me my whole life and in three short weeks, Iraq also grew a place in my heart. I can only wonder where I will actually end up... Will I end up in Iraq or Colorado, satisfied in a place that feels like home, or will my roots remain only with people? Or will there be a perfect fit; will I find somewhere where I plant my roots deeply in a community and a place? 

1 comment:

  1. An interesting and thoughtful essay, Julia! It's great that you can see these things in yourself. Everyone is so different, and it takes experience (like you are getting!) to learn what makes you YOU.