A dryad and traveling

I have a confession: I don’t like to travel.

I know this makes me seem almost unhuman in a culture that glorifies travel and wanting to be any place other than where we currently are. I’ve spent years trying to be other than I am. I’ve had plenty of people try to change me. I’ve listened to all the lectures about how I just need to think more positively, and I’ll be “healed” of this affliction (that’s really all in my head, don’t you know). But the older I get, the harder it gets to fool myself—and the less I’m inclined to bother trying. I am a homebody. I like my routines, my stuff, my home.

So I’m owning it. I don’t like to travel. Sorry I’m not sorry. This is who I am.

I had to travel to New York City last week with work. To add to the stress, this trip was very tightly sandwiched between my long yoga teacher training session Tuesday night and a full weekend of yoga teacher training. I took extra precautions in planning ahead to prepare in every way I could to minimize extra stressors by looking out for my physical, time-management, and emotional needs—including a very painful battle with a dear friend who strongly disapproved of the way I chose to deal with being away from my cats. I drafted several of my blog posts in advance, I carefully monitored my attitude, I focused on the positive, I allowed myself to squeeze in naps when I could, I allowed extra time for traveling to the airport on both sides, I refused to panic when things went wrong (and they did!), I made sure I had adequate food and water at all times, I slept as long as I could each night to get adequate rest.

Accepting that I am who I am and planning for it so carefully made the trip much easier, but even with all that planning and care, I am still exhausted and overly emotional. I broke down and cried more than once in class this weekend (and I truly hate to cry in public). I am so grateful to be home and am focusing on my many blessings, but I’m still feeling off-center, lonely, restless, and completely discombobulated. In fact, this is actually yesterday’s post—the first time I’ve posted one a day late just because I couldn’t even bring myself to focus enough to write anything.

I realized yesterday during a meditation why I struggle like this with traveling when I had a vision of me as a tree. I chose my moniker for this blog, A Musing Dryad, because of my passionate love for trees. Trees are the closest thing I have to a totem. Trees don’t travel … ever. They have one place where they put down their roots, and there they stay. Likewise, dryads can only get so far from tree without it affecting their health.

I am much the same way. Much like a tree, my home is my place where I put down my roots. It’s my HOME (in the deepest sense), my refuge, my place in this world. Much like a dryad, I can only get so far away from my “tree” before it starts to affect me.

Incidentally, this idea also explains why moving is so incredibly traumatic for me, even a move like my one last year when I moved from a place I didn’t really like to one I passionately love. It is still a process that requires tearing my roots from the ground and planting myself someplace new.

I have wonderful memories of places I have seen when traveling. There are parts of the world—and even of this country—that I’d love to see and experience. There are people who live other places that I want to see. Will I still travel at times? Yes, but I will do so with careful planning and will treat myself with gentleness and kindness and allow for all of the emotional challenges that are likely to result from being temporarily uprooted.

But I don’t like traveling across town (even for things I love to do), so it’s not surprising that longer travels are that much harder. Like my totem trees, I want to be in my own place. I want to be home. And I hereby own that.

(P.S. For those that are wondering … I believe that was my first visit to Manhattan (although I might have been there as a child), and I found it both amazing and horrifying. The architecture of some of the old buildings (especially the churches) was take-my-breath-away beautiful. The variety of cuisines available on every corner and the abundance of neighborhood shops with produce spilling right out onto the sidewalk was delightful. The sight of female couples openly holding hands as they walked down the street gladdened my heart. But this introvert found the crush of people, the insane mess of traffic (remind me never to drive there and to keep my eyes closed in cabs!), the lack of green spaces (and trees!), and the nonstop hustle and bustle rather horrifying. Nice place to visit, but I can’t imagine it ever being home.)

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.