Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why I Wander

Some models travel not because they want to, but because they have to. It's a part of the job, and so that's what they do. I'm not one of those models, though. Staying in one place has never come naturally to me, and modeling serves as the current means of feeding my wanderlust.

For several years, I didn't stay in one place for longer than 6 months, and the average ran more like 3-4 months. Internships, visiting student status, and extended ecology field trips took me all over this hemisphere. Every time that I landed someplace new, it was a chance, in many ways, to start over. Different locales and lifestyles allowed me to emphasize different parts of my personality, and I got to experiment with identity. It was also during this time that I became quite adept at purging unnecessary belongings, and moving across the country by plane.

Ever the neophile, I decided upon graduation from The Evergreen State College that I wanted to try living in a single place for awhile. I was going to try that whole normalcy thing on for size. I planted myself in Seattle for a good year and a half. That's practically forever, by my standards! But during that time, I forgot that a stationary lifestyle was a choice. I forgot that it was a decision that I had made, and one that I could unmake.

When I left, it was to visit vet schools. The plan was that I would decide where I was going to move based on which program impressed me the most. I had expected to travel for a few months, then settle back down and essentially recreate the same life that I'd had in Seattle, and after a year or so go back to school. Clearly, this is not what happened.

Leaving the trap of my routine in Seattle felt like taking a deep breath of air after having been underwater for far too long. Life became richer, and I no longer felt like I was strapped into some strange, scary roller coaster. Ah HA! I spent a month or two panicking about life plans, then finally decided to relax into a nomadic life of making art. So that's what I did.

So what is it that draws me to traveling? I love seeing different parts of the country. I love meeting interesting people, and gleaning insights about the subtle cultural differences across the US. I love the novelty, the excitement, the challenge. I love the freedom.

To be sure, there are aspects of a more stationary lifestyle that I miss. I long for a stronger sense of community, and interacting day to day with old friends, rather than primarily with new friends. But for now, sacrificing what I get from travel is surely not worth it. At least for now.

1 comment:

  1. For years, I travelled the entire U.S. on business and, although I was usually at home on the weekends, most of my life was lived from a suitcase experiencing all of the things you mention in your posting. It is interesting that I became an art model after my years of travel and the difficult adjustment that it takes to live once again in one place. Your work as a model has been your salvation in that it brought you your freedom to see our wonderful work as a model has been my salvation in that it has brought a great deal of happiness to what I thought might be a difficult time in my life...i.e. retirement.