Lessons From A Traveler Stuck Stationary

In February, I landed wrong at a trampoline park and basically destroyed my ankle. After months of being non-weight-bearing, undergoing intense surgery and nonstop physical therapy, I am finally walking again. For a travel-junkie like myself, this nearly put me through withdrawals.

travel

For the last seven years, I’ve never stayed in once place for more than a few months at a time. I traveled to seven countries, too many states to count and jumped on every adventurous opportunity that opened up for me. I bounced happily around until suddenly,

Stop.

A traveler stuck stationary, I found that the bug didn’t cease to bite. I longed for greener grass and bemoaned my immobility; but the experience taught me a few lessons that were more valuable than the time I lost.

What you do doesn’t define you.

Yes, actions speak louder than words. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about hobbies, habits and careers. I didn’t realize how much I relied on my job, where I lived and how I spent my free time to define who I was; until suddenly they were gone. I wasn’t a missionary, a Texan, a photographer or a hiker. I was a cripple; and it forced me to look deeper and ask myself, do I like who I am when I’m just me? Am I kind? Am I gentle? Am I caring?

To live in the present is to live.

You only experience the present once. This moment will never come again. Maybe it’s not the ideal situation, but it is now. We pine for the future only to get there and pine for farther futures, existing in a state of strictly memory or wish. Many do so to distract themselves from the potential unhappiness that’s unearthed when they face the reality of their existence; but to do so is to live in shadows. I didn’t plan this pause in my timeline, and it has been hard; but it was only when I realized it wasn’t a pause at all that I could hit play and just enjoy the ride.

Adventure is a state of mind.

We think of adventure as traveling to a far-off land or conquering a mountain. I learned from being stationary that it’s a state of mind. When I couldn’t travel, I found adventure in the discoveries of the everyday: in talking with a stranger to unravel who they were, in seeing a flower grow in the yard that I never noticed before, in reading a book and learning something new about what it means to be alive.

So wherever you are, seize this day as the adventure of a lifetime.

MusingsRebecca Loomis