What Makes Me Burn

May 6, 2014

I’ve been absorbing quite a bit of material over the last month, but haven’t really felt inspired to produce anything of my own. This should tell me that travel is conducive to my writing, but I’d like to believe that I can write about anything anywhere if only I would learn to find inspiration in what some consider the mundane.

I recently reread one of my Matador Network articles on ways to know you’re home for awhile. Although I meant it to be light hearted for travelers furloughed (as I was between jaunts in New Zealand), some of it is definitely starting to ring true to me, and it’s definitely worth expanding on.

And, the worst of all… you understand why some people feel compelled not to travel. After all, everything you could possibly want is here: stability, good food, people who speak your language, familiarity. Why leave all that behind to see some distant corner of the world? Scary concept.

I make a brief mention of why some people choose not to travel based on the instability of a life on the road, but I fail to mention just how difficult it is to up and leave a life established.

Before I left for Japan, when I started out in Austin, I had jobs but no contract. I had an apartment with a yearly lease. There was furniture. A car.

BUT… no girlfriend. No pets. No sick or dependent family members. The only thing that stood between me and the life of a vagabond was a few material possessions and getting out of the mentality that one must stay grounded to be a part of society. And you know what? I got off easy. I essentially forced my roommate to accept a subletter I had found, had no problems selling off my furniture to neighbors, and with those final ties eliminated, I was completely mobile (save three suitcases’ worth of belongings… I whittled that down in time).

Many, whether they’re leaving or getting started again, aren’t so lucky. I’m starting to realize that as I get settled here in San Francisco. The US may not have the exorbitant fees associated with renting apartments in Korea, but merely finding a place and securing it before someone else swoops in is a tricky business in cities like Chicago, New York, Boston, and especially San Francisco; I’ve been here for over a month and haven’t been able to find a suitable place to hang my hat (granted, I’m very picky). When I came here for the first time in 2011, I settled for a dingy place in a bad area with roommates for whom I would feel absolutely no compassion upon discovering they were viciously murdered.

However, I don’t want to settle. Settling for something, whether it be a job, a place to live, or even the people with whom I spend my life, would simply make me even more eager to hop on another plane and try another country, due to the fact I wouldn’t be as comfortable or as happy as I could have tried to be.

Sometimes I wish I was angry. Anger is a beautiful motivator. It eventually eats away at you, but while it blazes, you can do anything.

I’m not angry. I’m relaxed. I’m complacent. I want to burn again.

Before, I would have tried to channel this anger into my travels, into finding things that make me burn abroad. But I’m trying to find this kind of passion close to home, in the hopes of making things work here while still having that drive I’ve come to associate with travel.

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