Many of us get homesick, but some of us get distance-sick, aching for adventure and a fast track to the horizon. The worst two years of my life were between periods of travel. Granted, there were many elements that went into making that period of my life absolutely unbearable, but chief among them was the sense of loss that I felt when returning “home” from an amazing adventure. I had opened doors, collected experiences, and breathed deeply for the first time, and then when I landed back home it seemed like all I got to keep were the knick-knacks and memories. That wasn’t enough for me.

I began to experience that overwhelming feeling of wanderlust, bordering on sickness. When I have been abroad, including now, I have never for one second missed my “home”— just my friends and loved ones, of course— but the feeling of missing the rest of the world was inescapable for the entire two years that I spent trapped back in the place of my birth.

On my quest to cure my distance-sickness, I had to change a lot. I had to let go and reanalyze my ideas of what my future would look like, how I would maintain relationships, how I would practice my spirituality, how and what I would eat, how to manage my illnesses, what my personal values were, and my entire lifestyle. I went from a very depressed, sedentary individual who ate primarily meat, lived with her partner, who used a lot of props in her spirituality and who had way too much stuff (like way too much), to a much more mentally sound, slightly more active person who is at least attempting vegetarianism, is temporarily nomadic, and is living (mostly through necessity) a rather minimalist lifestyle.

These were all goals that I had at one point or another, but felt too overwhelmed to attempt when I was “home”. It was through following my truest desires that I was able to come to a place where growth in other aspects of my life was possible.

When you can come to a place within yourself where you accept that the things you deeply desire are more often than not a sign of what you really should be pursuing, life becomes a lot less complicated and a lot more enjoyable. You can choose to cure the sickness of want that you’re experiencing if you can trust yourself enough to know what you need. Maybe this all sounds obvious to most people, but it took me an awfully long time to accept these things and an even longer time to put them into practice.

The cure for my poisonous life was simple— leaving it behind, prioritizing my mental health and wellbeing over societal norms, and finding myself among people and places that make me feel alive. Maybe it’s not always that simple, but it’s always worth trying.

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