I packed everything I own back into my backpack tonight. Not sure what hit me harder: how little time it took, or how completely I’d managed to settle it all into this rented room in a month. It was shown in little ways, in the places for everything, the table where I always dump my change, the dirty clothes pile, the order of shirts, and the resting places of charging cables.
This life is, it strikes me, what I’ve always thought I wanted, though right now I can’t for the life of me remember exactly why. I’m not unhappy, actually I’m feeling the best I have in years, but I don’t think my meager backpack or my stubborn habits have anything to do with that. I think I had a romantic notion of “nomadism” which was, of course, formed from incomplete data, and what is actually making me happy is having the space to notice something like that. I feel more awake than ever these days.
It’s not the movement I love, though I don’t hate it, it’s the awareness of my thoughts and surroundings that something like tomorrow’s bus trip will demand that releases the right chemicals in my brain. It’s not enough to move, you have to pay attention too, or else you’re just running from something that’s going to come with you anyway, hidden where you refuse to look.
I don’t know what I’m doing – this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Actually, I’ve learned to be suspicious of people who claim to know what they’re doing: it indicates either a lack of awareness or imagination. I’ve got plenty of both, so I’m excited for tomorrow.
The plan tomorrow is to take an Uber to the bus station in Mexico City, a bus to Guanajuato, then a cab to another rented room, in a house on the edge of the valley, our home for the next month. I’ll unpack there and find places for everything I’ve carried, so I’m glad for the light backpack. I’m glad for the five empty hours I’ll spend staring out a bus window, I’m glad for the time I can spend thinking, reacting, learning. I’m not trying to run away from anything. I’m not moving to escape, I’m moving to wake up.
My bag is light but I’m carrying all kinds of other things with me: ideas, habits, histories, fears and hangups, hopes and dreams. I’m glad to have them along. I’ll need them all to make sense of every new experience. I’ll need them all to help me find my place, wherever I wake up.