3 Lessons I Learned In Staying Put
For those who do not know me, I am a passionate traveller at heart. I remember camping and travelling in Canada with my family as a kid and getting a taste for adventure, nature, and moving around between places. My continuous travels have given me experiences that I will never forget: working, studying, living abroad, backpacking and hitchhiking in Europe, backpacking through South America (alone!), hiking some of the world’s highest peaks, diving deep into the ocean's vastness, and more.
When I look back, I feel so grateful for everything I have seen, experienced, and learned. Being on the go, living with only what you need (that usually fits in a backpack), or even moving to another country and learning new languages have taught me so many things not only about myself but also about detachment from a specific geo-location and how to maintain relationships through space and time.
When I moved to Peru about 3 years ago, there were very few occasions we spent more than 3 weekends in a row in Lima. Our travels have been continuous: marathons here, trekking volcanoes there, and a business trip here, going home to Canada there. It has been amazing. The travel bug bit me H-A-R-D. And it lasted for years and years and years.
Recently, for the first time in a long time, I have actually stayed put. Since I came back to Peru from Canada, on January 5th, 2018 to be exact, I did not travel. I did not take a single plane or bus; I did not sleep in a bed other than my own, nor did I pack or unpack any bags. At first, a part of me wanted to continue moving around, and then, slowly but surely, the travel itch faded. I became quite busy with my own projects: teaching yoga, organizing workshops, working as a translator and editor. I had not yet spent so much time in Lima, and I actually started to enjoy it.
3 lessons I learned about staying put:
Feeling Grounded: Traveling, especially on an airplane has the opposite effect of grounding. It literally removes you from the Earth (like you are uprooted) and brings you up into the air, which can create imbalances in your body and mind. Staying put has removed travelling’s airy effects, and has allowed me to feel comfortable in establishing a daily routine, which was something a little new to me. This allowed me to commit to and take care of myself. I started accepting and appreciating to be here, rather than wishing or looking forward to being elsewhere. I felt stable, comfortable, and happy exactly where I was.
Maintaining Relationships: One of the biggest challenges I had coming to Peru was exactly this: I had no friends. Staying put also allowed me to commit more to others. I was able to take and give yoga classes without cancelling or finding replacements and I became dedicated to these hours. I was able to see friends on a weekly/regular basis, and maintaining my relationships back home was easier. I even became a "regular" at certain coffee shops and I randomly bumped into people I knew in the streets, things that have never happened since I moved here.
Appreciating both Here and There: Traveling's opposite, staying put, was something I needed to learn to appreciate, especially since I moved to a new country. A few years ago, I was always planning when I could go back to Montreal and I caught myself sometimes counting the days before my next journey started. It was hard for me to appreciate being here and I always wanted to be out there. The past few months opened a new door of appreciation to what I can now start calling home, and all that comes with it (the positives and the negatives). Some days are easier than others, but it is part of the journey of staying put.
After looking back at the last few months and learning these important lessons, it is time for me to hit the road again. I look forward to, appreciate, and feel grateful for the new adventures that are coming my way this year. But now, coming back home will have a completely different feeling.