Reflections on Running

Occasionally when I’m traveling, someone will ask me what it is I’m running from.  Normally, my response has been pretty defensive.  I think to myself, “God, is it so hard to conceive that I may want to live a different lifestyle than you!  Just because I like to see things and move around doesn’t mean I’m running from anything.”

However, I have had time to reflect on that recently.  And the truth is… sometimes that is the truth.  Sometimes I do run.  It’s so easy to do when you’re a long-term, solo traveler like me.  When things get uncomfortable.  When things get boring.  When things get hard.  Leave.  This is my first instinct.  I get those topsy turvy insides that say, “You don’t have to be here.  Why are you sticking around?  Just go.  Start over somewhere else.  It will be easier.”

cafe in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
cafe in Xela

I consider myself a very confident, self-assured person.  However, when it comes to relationships with people, I’m pretty insecure.  I tell myself that these people don’t want me here.  Maybe I’m annoying.  Maybe I don’t have anything in common with them.  Maybe I’m too different.  Maybe my lifestyle is strange.  Maybe they don’t see things the same way I do.  Maybe I should go.  Maybe my welcome has worn out with these people, in this place.  Maybe it’s time to go.

A big part of the reason that I like to travel alone is because I get to be anonymous.  No one knows where I am.  I have no social obligations (like I mentioned in a previous post).  No one knows my name or where I come from.  They don’t know my history, they don’t have any stories to tell about me.  It’s perfectly raw, anonymous, and real.  Another reason I like to travel alone is because I meet a lot of people.  And sometimes I get close to people.  They start to find out about me.  What I like and don’t like, who I am, how I think about things.  And I enjoy it immensely, connecting with people around the world.

But closeness can bring uncomfortable feelings and pain.  After all, no one can hurt you like someone who knows you.  And when the pain comes… I can go if I want.  I can remain in a never-ending cycle of non-confrontation.  Not to say that I don’t confront people or my feelings, because I do.  But sometimes the results of those brutally honest conversations aren’t desirable.  And then I can leave.

I guess I wanted to write this post because I wanted to publicly admit that I am guilty of running from time to time.  And this will also be one of the posts that I’ll feel a little embarrassed about later, and will probably never read again.  But that’s where I’m at right now.  On the run.

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