I May Never Find My Place

September 17, 2014

I can’t explain why autumn has this affect on me. For as long as I can remember – and we’re talking as far back as 5-6 years old – I’ve always associated sunny weather, chilly winds, and brown leaves with being at peace. I can remember walking to my father’s office from school on a brisk October afternoon, content with wearing jeans and a thermal top as I breathed in the cool fall air.

Maybe it’s because October and November are the start of winter, and I’ve never really travelled full time in the snow and bitter cold. Rather, I find a place to hunker down and sip tea while I ride out the season. In Japan, I had my own place for two years. After returning, I was at my childhood home in Texas for the fall. Even as recently as last year, I escaped the changing of seasons by jumping to the southern hemisphere.

It only took one moment to spark these feelings. Watching Eat Your Kimchi’s most recent video on their new apartment. The leaves will be starting to turn soon in Seoul, the air a little crisper. And I see a cat lounging in the sunshine, warm in the comfort of a home with two parents.

I don’t ask for much, nor do I really “ask” for it. I just get tired of waiting sometimes. I’ve been in San Francisco for six months now, and no closer to meeting the right woman, finding the right career, or paving a path to stability. As always, I’ve made a few friends, and reinforced ties with others who visit. Nor is there a clear-cut path for any of us. Some go their entire lives without seeing a shred of happiness or comfort. I can never make that claim, as I’ve been exposed to kindness on a level I couldn’t have thought imaginable growing up in Texas.

Maybe it’s appropriate for me to be thinking this way before I officially finish my contract and head to Iceland to see the aurora. As always, I have potential plans, but they remain mine alone. Maybe if I were accountable to someone – anyone – I’d have a better perspective on life.

I recently saw If I Stay. Chloë Grace Moretz is brilliant, as usual. But it did spark something in me. Sadly, I don’t think anyone would come rushing to my hospital bed if I were fatally injured. My parents are healthy and half a country away, and my brother is in China. I have no one calling to see if I’m alive or dead on a daily basis, and the most personal attention I’ll get from friends occurs in the form of comments on a Facebook status.

Choosing to be alone for the sake of traveling unburdened is one thing, but when the cards are down, who will be there for me, or for you? Family? Friends? And to what extent?

One thing I can report to people younger than I who are going through the same thoughts: nothing just falls into place. Short of winning the lottery or just the most incredible luck imaginable, the only thing that builds a life starts with laying the foundation now. Day in, day out. Whether that means staying in one place or with one group of people. Consistency.

Traveling by its definition is devoid of that, and that’s the way some like it. As I’m slowly discovering, I’m not one of those people.


2 Responses to I May Never Find My Place

  1. Michael Aronson on September 17, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    It could just be a case of wanting too much – wanting the freedom to travel, the freedom to choose a job, and also reliable friends, love, and family. I don’t think one can have it all, unless one is wealthy enough to be everywhere at once.

    I’ve mostly stopped feeling lonely. I used to get pangs, but this occurs less often, and it’s partly because I am actually lonelier, weird as this might sound. I guess that I end up feeling lonelier among certain friends than without them. My best friend, who’d helped me with lots of my big videos, has had a girlfriend for the past year, his first, and I’ve seen him exactly once in the past year. I hated it, but I got used to it, and there’s no use guilting him into being a better friend. When he decides to get married, he’ll see how many people show up, if you know what I mean.

    Rather, I feel more pressure about figuring out what I want to do. Being freelance opens up more options, and makes deciding a bit harder, actually. It’s harder to pick a video idea and commit to making it, especially because I can’t rely on a steady audience lately, nor people who can help out with filming. I’m not happy about that at all, but I don’t know what the solution is. The more effort I put into meeting friends, the less time and effort I’d have for creating. Once again, we can’t have everything.

  2. Nora on September 18, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Turner – I think you can experience these feelings of isolation and lack of social/support infrastructure regardless of whether you travel or where you live.
    In part it’s a function of where society is today – we all have 1,500 of our “closest friends” on Facebook, but when the chips are down, how many of those people will rush to our hospital beds?
    However you’re right; by having a travel lifestyle you increase the chances of social isolation moreso than having a base where you have the chance to establish a foundation of support.

    After my major accident last year, I had a bit of a wake-up call. I had that proverbial “hospital bed” moment, and although nobody was able to rush to the Caribbean to feed me soup, I learned pretty quickly who my friends – and thus chosen family – are. This is a very specific handful of people that supported me through some very tough times in 2013 (even from afar), and for whom I will do just about anything. I’ve known each of them for at least 12 years – one girl since the age of 6. And even while traveling and living abroad, I work hard on those relationships – and I get a lot out of them too.

    Maybe I’m lucky….either way I understand your desire to “hibernate” – I’m currently doing so in a very special spot in Peru!

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