The weight and intensity of this season of travel – late summer and fall – has fully hit me as I sit in Bryant Park in New York City for a short while, in between leaving Long Island and waiting for my train back home. I watch people of all kinds – tourists, workers, locals – with a bit of longing as I have only a few moments here before I have to scurry back to Penn Station. This has always been one of my favorite places in the City. I took a selfie with the fountain in the background and suddenly it seems so odd that I should be here. This time last week I had just returned from New Orleans. This time next week I’ll be returning from Oakland. There is so much uniqueness, so much culture all around me and I can barely start to notice it, let alone soak it all in. I want to notice all of it and let me skin and my mind absorb all new things. “I’ll come back” I say to all these places – but what if I don’t? What if this is it?
Here I can be by myself but never alone. When I stop moving I feel that lonesomeness. In this park I somehow feel closer to humanity, perhaps because we are so physically packed in or perhaps because I see so many types with no apparent judgement towards anyone. Clothes, hair, skin, language – you can be who you are and no one cares if you are different. Suddenly, Baltimore’s 600,000 feels so small and provincial in comparison.
I feel a bit torn. Do I want to be a part of this incredible culture, or do I want to retreat into the fields and woods? Where can I truly be myself? I’m craving something and I’m not yet sure what it is. Some semblance of peace and perspective, the ability to feel at home wherever I am. It is difficult to relax into anything when I jump from travel to work to APX to photography to home and I feel like I am trying to catch up with my life rather than actually living it. Tara Brach defines busyness as trying to outrun loneliness. While I have certainly felt that many times, I don’t think that is what I am doing now. I shouldn’t have to justify it, but I feel judged – perhaps only by myself – and therefore I find myself making justifications and feeling guilty for the things I miss by choosing this life. Perhaps I plan out my next “big” trip because they feel more real than these 48 hour jaunts.
How do I make peace with my life and find what home means to me?