“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” Oscar Wilde

Ah. Wanderlust. A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel. 

Where would I be now if I hadn’t had the irresistible pull to travel, to explore, to wander? I was running away. Away from myself. I was running from the confines of my own mind. But, do you know what I ran into, over 1,500 miles away? I ran into myself. Actually, I crashed into myself. I drove off one day, headed nowhere but NorthWest, in hopes to find love without fully realizing that I was running away instead of toward. Instead, I slipped into the recesses of my own mind, my own heart, my own soul. Months later, I was flown home and put into a mental institution for my own safety.

I remember the week before leaving. I had been wanting to visit Minnesota, where my family was living. Maybe 5 years in total I had wished to visit again. The time was now. I had $60 for a 3,000 mile journey. I packed my bags knowing that in any minute of any day, I would lose all fear and just grab my bags and go. I prepared. I bought new clothes, I even bought hats and jewelry. I left my room a complete mess the day I left. Clothes strewn everywhere, alcohol left on counters and every closet, and a roommate who probably just wanted me gone so she could have some peace of mind.

I wanted to see my grandfather, I wanted to meet my cousin again, I wanted to see my best friend that I grew up with as a child on hot summer days. But, in the back of my mind I was searching for something more. I was very, very ill. Very delusional. And very hell-bent. Mix that with infinite amounts of energy, and you have a recipe for disaster.

But I now don’t look at it that way. It wasn’t a disaster. It was necessary travel to find what I was really looking for. And that was myself. You see, I have done this before. Except last time, I traveled North to Niagara Falls. Not one ounce less delusional. Not one ounce less energy. When themes like this tend to pop up in our lives over and over again, it is time to sober up and listen to what the real message was behind it all.

I was determined this year to find the silver lining in my ‘mistakes’. So, I first sobered up and got honest with myself and then those around me. Only then could I unravel the true story behind it all. It was quite a beautiful story, one made for movies or escapism. We all go through this journey to self-hood in our own personal ways, but I think that the true soul-searches truly grasp every bit of it and turn into stories to tell for lifetimes. They are beautiful, unique to ourselves and worth telling.

As of now, I am still unraveling, still healing, still in shock by the magnitude of experiences that travel and exploration have left on my soul.

In the next few days, I wish to write more about my experiences in detail, although I have touched on them in many humorous and heart wrenching short stories – every scar, wound, and diamond within. Every delusion. Every piece of gold.

Be mindful of the reasons you travel, explore, and escape. You just may be searching for peace, happiness, and solitude. A perfect breeding ground for recognizing your own self. Don’t be surprised if you run into the exact person from which you were running.

In the midst of endless and enormous mountain ranges, empty roads, and traveling alone … I realized the absolute terrifying reality of my own mind. It is expansive. It is fascinating. It is addictive. It is terrifying. It is truly the last frontier. The unknown. Within our very own minds. Take a peek. You won’t regret it. Just make sure to pack some wits along with you.

I am of a sober mind and stable spirit. I choose to travel and explore from this moment forward in peace. I was not able to control the pure force of nature within these lands, but I will be damned if I cannot tame my own mind and spirit.

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