Traveling Tradeoffs

Why, does it seem, we are inexplicably drawn back to certain places? I find myself in Seward, Alaska for another field season of rugged beauty working as a  biologist in Kenai Fjords National Park. After a year of longing to travel unbound, without the notion of return, I did exactly that.

I returned.

Mountains and still water make me happy.

Mountains and still water make me happy.

I learned so much this past year and grew tremendously as an individual. I knew the past year would be a lesson in learning to drift but I never realized it could bring me in a circle back to where I started.

Beauty in the details

Beauty in the details

I never imagined it would feel so good.

For the first time in over 6 years of seasonal lifestyle, roaming for point A to point B, I returned to the same job, same place. What a novel idea! And that’s when it hit me. It’s all about trade offs.

I mean ALL of it. Life is about tradeoffs.

It’s a paradox, really. You long for change. You roam and long to settle. The cycle repeats. People with settled lifestyles are constantly telling me they live vicariously through me; the truth is, I live vicariously through them as well.

The adventure of the journey, fresh new places, the rush of the unknown; it’s all glorious. But there’s something to be said about really knowing a place; recognizing familiar faces, knowing the nooks and cranies, special spots and where the locals go. I admit while I love traveling, I long for community. Someday, I hope to trade my wanderlust for a solid community. But my heart keeps telling me not yet. I’ve had few places that draw me back but the longer I live, the longer my lists of “homes” gets. First Bellingham, then Kauai and now Seward.

It’s good to be home.

For now 🙂

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8 responses to “Traveling Tradeoffs

  1. Glad I’m not the only one who feels like this! If you feel like hopping across the Bering Sea this year, you’ve got a fellow Bellinghamster to show you around Moscow 🙂

    • Maybe Sammy and I will take you up on that! Congrats again on your Fulbright 🙂 Loved your grandmother story: I tried to comment but it said I was doing something illegal with some characters (what?? Me??) Anyway I agree that grandmothers are very important and we must spend time with them.

  2. This resonates. I found myself returning to the Eastern Sierra, then back to Everglades in successive seasons. It fed both the need for change and for familiarity. And while my brother vicariously lives through me, I live through him and his settled life with wife and three kids. And even internationally, I find myself returning to Ladakh again and again. But the need too see new places will find me above the arctic circle before next spring. I get it.

  3. I’m really feeling this right now! About to embark on a new adventure, of course…but also the part about envy and envying. The biggest part of me wants to roam, explore, discover, adventure. But another part certainly aches when I visit friends who have bought houses and made them their own…started families…laid down roots. We’ll stop when we’re supposed to, if ever!

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