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.

  • I realized the same thing about myself not far into my travels. I’ve always moved a lot (and often I was definitely running), now it’s just at a much faster pace. And of course not every leap to a new location isn’t an escape attempt.

    It isn’t always bad to run though, sometimes it is easier, other times it’s caused by insecurity for me as well. Your third paragraph sounds just like I’ve felt many, many times… right before I flee to the bus station.

    It is interesting though that so many of us that love the anonymity and escape that travel can bring, are the one that tend to blog openly about our lives.

  • this blog is very interesting, so we should take joy o f travelling

  • gregorylent

    there is a deeper pov, possibly … it requires a flip of cause and effect to consider it …

    it is, that geography, place, location are not chosen, they appear automatically under one’s feet in response to an inner process that is going on for certain people in this world …

    as example, i did not go to india, india came to me … it became the background for some inner processes that began of their own accord, and required india is the environment for them the fructify …

    as to running, one can run from life without moving at all …

  • jasminewanders

    Thanks for the feedback Catia and Gregory… definitely something to think about the next time I want to make a run for it :)

  • Marko

    A lot of maybe’s :D MAYBE you should stop running, or run in pair with somebody… ;)

  • It’s certainly a question to entertain when you find yourself moving. I’m a slower traveler. Putting down roots in a new place, diving into the community, getting in all the business and then well, thinking I’ve done as much as I can there for the time being. After about 4 or 5 years I’m good to go, reinvent, burn up as the Phoenix in one place and rise again in another.

    Being anonymous is pretty wonderful as you can choose to share your better traits, hopefully leaving some bad habits behind. I suppose it’s a chance to grow without someone around to remind you of all of your baggage. You simply leave that suitcase of mistakes behind so to speak.

    Definitely a great discussion topic.

  • teank

    It is a pity, that now I can not express – there is no free time. I will be released – I will necessarily express the opinion on this question.

  • Dave Taylor

    I did something very similar in 2007.. http://www.backpacktheworld.org ..one of the best things I ever did…south america next time

  • So amazing to get off the rat race wheel and just live life for a while…

  • PB

    very well written! that’s what i like about traveling too. you can be anyone you want, do whatever you want.. and you don’t have to be afraid that people may judge u and talk about you.. coz after all they don’t really know u. traveling is a good way to escape the harsh realities of where you live

  • Don’t worry jasmine… I like your attitude and thoughts.They are some people who have common ideas and thoughts like you. Hope you find them soon:):)