Wherever You Go, There You Are
"Wherever you go, there you are."
I heard this phrase sometime after coming to the Philippines. The way I interpreted it was that no matter where you move, all you ever have is yourself to offer. After a few years in the Philippines, I found that to be completely true.
Right now, I’m barely 3 days into a month long trip through Southeast Asia, and again I’m finding myself running into this phrase.
Like a lot of people who idealize the concept of traveling the world, I fell into the trap thinking that it was supposed to be some life changing experience. That you’ll be someplace else and you’re suddenly going to reach this point of enlightenment. Doesn’t happen.
Nope. Not automatically. And not without some work, at least.
What travel DOES do though is put your life in perspective. Getting to see all kinds of different walks of life; the innumerable possibilities that might’ve been you if you’d been born in a different country, family, or culture. What could’ve existed based on the choices you didn’t make, or what could exist based on choices still to be made.
There is an infinity out there; a great wealth of maybes and perhaps in a limitless expanse of happenstance.
You will get a feel for how small and comfortable your little corner of the world has gotten.
Some will find comfort in the familiar things. Others will want to run away from what has grown mundane and full of nothing but the same.
But regardless, you will have an intuitive feel for what you want to keep, and what you’ll wish you could change.
Travel will strip you to the barest iteration of yourself, as you navigate language barriers and lose the ability to communicate effectively. You will find yourself naked in the face of seeking the next thrill and defining what fun is for you.
But you’ll be most surprised by what you feel you could do away from the eyes of everyone you know.
This is frightening, but this is still you. And there is no truer self than who you are when there is no one to judge.
You will know who you really are.
What parts of you to keep.
And what is just baggage.
In travel, you take what is useful and discard what loses its value as you go along. Life has this in common.
It becomes exhausting to be someone you aren’t comfortable being. Or having wants and beliefs that don’t need to be carried with you.
You will find what the bare necessities are. And finding out what weighs you down, you will wish you were lighter.
If life need be a journey, all that anyone needs is a clear destination, and the endurance to get them there. But you don’t need to be the same person at the end as when you started.
Wherever you go, there you are. Take only what is needed.