How free are you?


This is not a eulogy for wanderlust.

Nor for walking away and never looking back, for spectacular escapes and fresh starts.

This is not an article accompanied by hipster-images showing a foggy forest in the background or a map of the world with a “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”- quote attached or some girl walking next to a street while holding some balloons and a vintage suitcase. Have fun carrying those things around while on the road, darling.

Because having the freedom to indulge wanderlust, to leave behind everything you had, have and will have, has a high price.

“Our freedom can be measured by the number of things we can walk away from.”

Vernon Howard

This is a post about sitting still. About embracing attachment.

And here is how attachment happens:

 

Belonging and being belonged has numerous names such as oxytocin, vasopressin, opioids, dopamine and the list goes on: It is hormones that attach us to things, faces, moments and places. Especially in periods of stress and anxiety, the formation of bonds is even higher since evolutionary biology dictates the importance of social support when in danger.

This is why, when in stress, it is sometimes safer to stay where you are rather than run away. Because using wanderlust as an excuse for escapism is not a solution: Travelling might change perspectives, attitudes, oneself…but not the problems. And leaving the city will not prohibit them from hunting you down.

 

The city will always hunt you_Nikolaou_Malaga

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore. This city will always hunt you down.

The city – C.P. Cavafy, found on a wall in Malaga, Spain 2016.

 

“In an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.”, explains Pico Iyer, author of the Art of Stillness.

Travelling, discovering, expanding your comfort zone is crucial, no doubt. It requires time to prepare yourself and to reflect on your decision to leave (and to leave behind), it demands inner and emotional strength. And courage; loads of courage.

But so is consciously sitting still and embracing attachment. So is taking a step back from all the exotic adventures society expects people to have, and enjoying what you have invested time, energy and emotion in in order to achieve instead.

Not being free to escape from your life because of all the beauty and adventure it already withholds: Is that so bad, after all? 

“Our freedom can be measured by the number of things we can walk away from.”

From what could you (not) walk away from?

How free are you?

 

Photo credits belong to the author

Cover image by Pixabay

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