Sunday, May 06, 2007

Unbounded Picket Fences

A few months ago, I received a Friendster message from a college friend asking how I'm doing. It's been at least a good seven years since I lived next door to her in the freshman hall of my college. Needless to say, it was quite a pleasant surprise hearing from her. She's a very sweet girl -- bright-eyed and roseate about tackling the big city life having travelled from her humble town in Maine. We weren't exactly the best of friends as we had very little in common but circumstances had it that we spent some nights together, along with a bunch of other friends, getting wasted out of our minds and sharing woes about life and... what else, boys!

Life had a lot in store for her after graduation. She's married now, living in Colorado, with the perfect house and two precious dogs. Whilst reading her emails to me about her wonderful life, I felt this gnawing feeling creep up my throat. I felt that familiar feeling of the green-eyed monster gripping tightly against my esophagus keeping the oxygen from running through the rest of my body.

I laughed to myself as soon as I realized what was happening. I envied her because her life seemed so settled and certain -- something I've always dreamed of having one of these days. I looked at myself in the mirror and only found fleeting decisions (and indecisions) and uncertainties staring right back at me. I was a far cry from an ideal life of settledness.

However, if today I were given the chance to step into her shoes and live the quintessential life surrounded by white picket fences, I probably can't say no fast enough. Even though I yearn for certainty and a direction in my life, I realized that perhaps they arrive in different pockets in our lifetime. The universe decided that it was already her time to settle down whilst I was awarded with more time to figure myself out better and to view the wonders of this world. I'm not prepared to give all those up. Not yet.

I have lived in three different countries and have travelled to various countries in at least four continents -- and I still haven't found a good reason why I should stop. Perhaps I never will. My life may fit in a couple of suitcases with nothing else to show for, but it doesn't mean that my life is any less fulfilled or meaningful than anyone else's. I used to feel inferior towards friends and acquaintances who are so sure about how they want their lives to turn out and which directions they would like to take. Whereas I... I have but a tiny inkling with a faint voice in my head chanting over and over where I should be.

I still dream of living in Europe to make a dent on my life in this global village. I still wish to run with the wild life in Africa, and dance the flamenco in a beautiful swirly dress in Latin America. And maybe sit down on a wooden bench chugging down delicious beer in Denmark the night before I flee for Turkey for some more delights. I still want to ride an elephant in India and to dance the hula in Hawaii next to a flaring bonfire. I'd still like to scale the height of the pyramids in Egypt and go skiing inside the dome in Dubai. I may need to borrow a few more lives from God if I want to get through all these colorful experiences that span the globe.

I have three more continents to visit and a few hundred more countries too choose from on where I'd like to park my suitcases while painting their towns red. Why must I choose one when I can have them all? Maybe one day I will, but not now. I'm far too busy enjoying being the mistress of this world -- having an affair with all my great travels. After all, I have the rest of my life to settle down.

I follow what my favorite Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said: "A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving."

I bask on the glory of finding a destination.

49 Comments:

Blogger cosmic clown said...

hey princess nice to get ur sweet comment.......more....? well i will definitely share .....by the way u too have beautiful thoughts to share......i will read in my own sweet time.....keep smiling....:)

12:21 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Mmhm... I know of many who dream of stability... but with the world at your feet, it's hard to settle. And really, how can you know where you want to stay for the rest of your life without seeing what the world has to offer first?

12:59 PM  
Blogger Battlerocker said...

I've always found wanderlust to be more enticing than home comfort. Reading this post brought it all back. I'm glad she's happy settled, but as between you, I'd rather your situation than hers.

And that's a dynamite quote at the end. :)

1:18 PM  
Blogger vishesh said...

well each one has a destiny....what has to happen will happen....wish i can travel and see new places.....i just love to travel...guess oneday i will get a chance....

1:36 PM  
Blogger Maverick said...

i like travelling without a plan too.keep on going n see wat the world has in store for u. may be u'll reach those beautiful points where u'd have never reached had u planned ur journey.

1:40 PM  
Blogger BeautifulDisaster said...

Don't be in a hurry princess! I was married at 25 and I wonder now why I was in such a hurry.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Shamash said...

"life trudges along the tracks
laid oh so long ago...."

There is this whole indecisiveness that governs our own life.. as of now i know exactly what my near goals are... finishing undergraduation.. travel the world... get into grad school and go on to becoma and academic... then again the gnawing feeling creeps in.. the whole balance seesm to break in when any one part of this goal doesnt seem to work out..
So have decided i will let life take its own course who am i to dictate terms to it

P.s : your post made me feel good really good in a dreamy sort of a way

2:46 PM  
Blogger thisisme said...

Thank you for putting into words what I've been feeling lately. I've been resenting that other people have reached the destination I'm working towards. Thanks for reminding me to savour the journey.

3:07 PM  
Blogger nel said...

I like the sitting down on a wooden bench chugging down delicious beer in Denmark the night ... cool chilling beer ... hummmmmmmmm ... OK, stop dreaming guys and gals. Get back to work! ... urggghhhhhh ... heh, heh ... ;)

3:26 PM  
Blogger Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Nope... why let someone else define your standard? Aren't you happy and content the way you are? When you feel that having that white picket fence around you will make you happier, go and build it. Let there be peace! :)

4:16 PM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

I don't even know how to respond to that except to say that ... (1) you're Friendster friend from Maine is the weird flip side of your own globe-trotting, root-lessly cosmopolitan life, and in that upside-down way, her life is what you would have been ... but are not ... because it wasn't meant to be, and (2) I want to go skiing in that darn mall in Dubai, too!

4:38 PM  
Blogger Neo said...

lucky u! i haven't even stepped out of India..

6:58 PM  
Blogger tony said...

Its a paradox.Time always moves fast But you can always find more of it.
People are different.Before my brother goes on holiday he will prepare months in advance;make detailed plans;read every book he can find on the destination.
I never plan.I read the travel books after i come back.
The best way to discover a new place is to get totally lost in it!

7:53 PM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

Another Chinese saying "Hurry slowly"

When I was in my 20's I too, spent a lot of time travelling, seeing different places, absorbing different cultures ... and while it was life changing ... it didn't answer any of the million and one questions in my head ...

Its only when I slowed down and allowed myself to just be that the mists started to clear and I started to find some answers inside of myself.

Not that I have all of my answers! But now I know where they are ...

8:06 PM  
Blogger fifi said...

princess, flying around the world as you are, at home in whatever place you stop,

you have yet to put roots into earth, but when that time comes, it will be somewhere nice. Its a hard acll to stay awhile, but some of us manage.

Such a thoughtful piece. The dance of life goes on and on, and never stops, always new steps to learn,

Keep flying, keep looking, keep thinking.

8:20 PM  
Blogger mathew said...

this entry makes me travel more..i ve always that life is too short to be spend in one place..the chaos ..the uncertainity of goin various places..is very much comforting..

now i feel like goin to brazil

9:07 PM  
Blogger alex said...

Princess,

The journey is what is to be experienced. Destination is what is visible to others but journey is visible only to you. So enjoy it.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Deanna said...

Hello, and thanks for your comment on my blog.

I appreciate your thoughts here; I've struggled with envying people who get to live as you do, but given the chance, I, too, would stick with what I've got. Accepting who you are helps!

11:02 PM  
Blogger `NEFTY said...

That's crazy because if I got a call from someone the didn't talk to me in over 7 years, I wouldn't be "thrilled" unless I liked that person a lot lol.

12:12 AM  
Blogger mind the gap said...

As long as you are happy and have no regrets, carry on as you are. There is nothing like travelling and living the world to make you appreciate what you have in life - the more you see, I think, the easier it is to make a decision about where you end up and that's ultimately where you feel most at home. It may end up being where your prince charming lives..

12:27 AM  
Blogger zanas said...

good for you. may the rainbow colour your journey, and the stars to guide your nights.

just to let you know...while you are admiring someone else's life, there is another who envys you.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Aditi said...

hmm in a way i agree... my green eyed monster flares up everytime a friend tells me how happily settled in life she is.. and here i am with tons of questions and no stability.. but then again life is about living and learning.. i figured i can settle down next year or the year after
eh

1:07 AM  
Blogger Nivi said...

we are what we are!!! but i can completely empathize with you on the monster.. once in a while shows up and you just need a little reason to bid adieu to it!!

1:41 AM  
Blogger lemonade said...

ah princess...u've jus given ME hope...!!
thanks a ton sweeti..that post was eye opening..made me realize that not everything in life is directed to the perfect husband,two kids and a beautiful house..!

1:47 AM  
Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

If I had to choose I'd pick a life like yours (or mine) over the picket fence life any day.

5:27 AM  
Blogger ChrisB said...

Although she sounds happy and probably is you never know she might be feeling a little envy at your lifestyle freedom of travelling and living in different countries. I hope you get to all the places on your wish list.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know as i read this way early this morning i also experienced the sensation of that green-eyed monster.
not for the settled life. i have perhaps waaaaaaaaaay to much of that at the moment. but i experienced a sense of envy for perhaps what you consider to be an unsettled life. a life where you are free to pack up and go.
....and then i remembered.....
oh, yes, i did have that. in my twenties i roamed Europe, went through Morrocco, went into Mexico traveled through several parts of the USA. that was then. now's the time to take care of the settled stuff for me..
foam

6:24 AM  
Blogger Yoda said...

Excellent post! Sometimes settling does not preclude traveling. Is it traveling you crave or your freedom?

9:00 AM  
Blogger Rajeev said...

I haven gone anywhere out of india! :((
im happy for ya :P

peace & love
JeeVY

12:20 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

there's no possible way that one person cud see the whole world in one lifetime. So it's gonna be hard to find the BEST place to live. I do it by making this very moment the BEST...not the place. When u do that, everything ard u feels like it's the BEST u cud ever have :)

Great post!
Keshi.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Aidan said...

travel and live, white picket fence has its place, but not yet for you it seems if you try and force the settled life, you will just despise it enjopy your life, and be happy for you friends life. Just different choices, one is not better than the other:)

...

Thank you for this post, i have been at a bit of a loose end for a bit, i really miss traveling:)

I guess the Settled life can wait...

People who havnt back packed or goten off the tour bus will never truly appreciate how amazing the world is, what its like to have to learn a language while trying to find a hostel/hotel:) waking up and hearing 5 or six different languages around you...

getting all nostalgic now:)

1:21 PM  
Anonymous susan said...

Everyone has their own road to travel. While it may seem from time to time that someone else's may be better, everyone has chosen their own road for a reason.

I sometimes wish I had traveled more before I settled down, but I'm happy where I am and I know that in a few more short years I will be ready to travel again.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Sigma said...

Wonderful post! And how true!! We all have different golas and different ambitions. And that defines the state of our happiness. While some may find it in being "settled down", others may find it in journey ...

3:39 PM  
Blogger Lisa Francisco said...

Wow...you and me are so alike!!! Seriously...it's comforting to find someone else out there similar to me.

I too have had those thoughts and more so now about if I'm doing this right. My hurt keeps pumping faster as my anxiety takes the best of me. What if I won't amount to anything? I know at some point in the future I will have to settle down. Should I start now so that I know that when I officially do that everything is okay like I have a good career, a home and my debt is paid off.....

I don't know...it's hard...I plan on traveling to madrid and colombia next year and I would like to live in paris and amsterdam for a bit tooo....

I guess i hope i do those things along with my sold out arena tours as long as I keep dreaming and live my dreams....


Lisa

4:54 PM  
Blogger Protegeoflife said...

hmm its all written above and ur writing oohh lalal welll compiled lady and thanx for ur comments

5:26 PM  
Blogger Irreversibly Screwed said...

i know that i wouldn't like to settle down right now... so much to do... dont think i can take the monotony of it all... i love that streak of uncertainty my life has to offer... u feel like flying with all the freedom... and i could live out of a suitcase all my life... traveling gives u such a high!!!...

but maybe im too young to want that stability right now... who knows what life has to offer!!!...

8:12 PM  
Blogger a kings cross muse said...

I have my own love hate relationship
with picket fences
cute for sure ...
but scary
oh yeah...
you say all the right things
x

8:16 PM  
Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

Great post! I'm in the midst of tackling my desire to travel as it butts up against my travel-planner ways. Your words and perspective about it all made me step back a little. In a good way. Thanks!

9:54 PM  
Blogger Ajith said...

No two lives are similar..Neither u should attempt to compare yourself with another one in this aspect..Chase ur dreams

11:31 PM  
Blogger paddy said...

"I laughed to myself". I've been doing a bit of that lately.
Princess,I wish I had your gift of writing: it flows like water off a ducks back. Here is a song for you. I really hope you don't know it. It fits you down to the ground.
----------------------------------
"I was driving across the burning desert
When I spotted six jet planes
Leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain
It was the hexagram of the heavens
it was the strings of my guitar
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

The drone of flying engines
Is a song so wild and blue
It scrambles time and seasons if it gets thru to you
Then your life becomes a travelogue
Of picture-post-card-charms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

People will tell you where they've gone
They'll tell you where to go
But till you get there yourself you never really know
Where some have found their paradise
Other's just come to harm
Oh Amelia, it was just a false alarm

I wish that he was here tonight
It's so hard to obey
His sad request of me to kindly stay away
So this is how I hide the hurt
As the road leads cursed and charmed
I tell Amelia, it was just a false alarm

A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly
Like Icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

Maybe I've never really loved
I guess that is the truth
I've spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitude
And looking down on everything
I crashed into his arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel
To shower off the dust
And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
I dreamed of 747s
Over geometric farms
Dreams, Amelia, dreams and false alarms"
Lyrics > Joni Mitchell Lyrics > Joni Mitchell Amelia Lyrics

1:10 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

That's lovely! That seems to sum up my perspective too. I'd like to be settled, but at the same time don't really want to have my whole life plotted out. There's so much of the world to see!

3:57 AM  
Blogger soul&body said...

have u ever tried portugal? my country :D:D:D:D:D
I wish I could travel like you!!!! I just went to uk !!

4:44 AM  
Blogger Leann said...

my grandma use to say."do your traveling now while you can still injoy it".you can always settle down but you cant always travel.

I love to see new places but lack the funds right now to do alot.but I plan on going as much as I can.

your life sounds good to me.
did you ever think your friend may be putting on airs.like the christmas letters I use to get every year from a in law.
it would rattle on about this one did this and they did that,and johnny was so good at this or that.
but the family was a complete mess up and every one knew it.it was a inside joke cause we stopped reading them.if they came they ended in the fire.they were about the same every year any.

someones life always looks good from the out side tell you get into it.then your glad you have your own.

do what you want now.life comes at you fast and you need to get all the memories you can.

God bless,have a great week.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Ab said...

heyya,
Im so happy there is someone else who looks forward to adventure in this life.
Well, Iv never been anywhere out of my country or anything. But almost everything Iv done in life, Iv done it alone. Often, in the midst of a problem, I fume, why do I have to go thru all this, when almost all my friends have a cakewalk thru life .
But once the challenge is solved, Im raring to get my next one.
And often i tell myself Ill feel choked if I didnt have a challenge. And in spite of the fact that I long for security, (to either get married, or atleast, stay with my parents) I know Im actually happy this way

6:40 PM  
Blogger Kalyan said...

May your dreams come true & its a wonderful feeling & experience visiting new places, staying in new places. Its really wonderful travelling & discovering new frontiers.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Electric Bearbearina said...

Sama ako!
Well . . . except for the dancing part.
We have to see the world before we settle down and be crazy old cat ladies together at our Prince Plaza condo! Ha ha ha!

6:39 AM  
Anonymous The Zombieslayer said...

Good quote from good ol' Lao.

I have lived in three different countries and have travelled to various countries in at least four continents -- and I still haven't found a good reason why I should stop.

Well, leaving behind footprints sure beats having the sure thing. Or at least I think so.

12:22 PM  
Blogger The Exception said...

I was bit by the travel bug when I was in my teens. I had to temporarily give up the plane tickets and put away the passport when I had my daughter as I was not willing to put myself through the challenge of traveling across the world with an infant. She is nearly ready to travel age wise, and is very ready to travel mentally.

I think that more people would benefit from opening their minds and their hearts to travel. There is something about exploring other cultures, meeting and knowing other people, and visiting places with their individual characters and charms that adds texture and color to the soul. We are often too isolated in our own lives to appreciate what lies beyond our front doors.

2:42 AM  
Anonymous get zapped said...

This is fantastic and thank you for leading me to this wonderful post. I have been reading a splendid book that speaks to this very issue, Eat, Pray, Love. I highly recommend it, if you haven't read it yet. Peaceful and life-expanding travels to you!

12:56 AM  

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