I’m a romantic in my soul. Led by eyes of wonder and a heart that changes with the tides of emotion, I can easily find myself falling, falling. Spiraling into an unanticipated love affair.
I’ve only ever loved one man, and I’m lucky enough to have married him.
But places. The new and different and wild and rugged places are what I fall for. Landscapes lure me in, locals capture my heart, and if it’s sealed with a great meal, I’m gone. Forever lost, hopelessly in love with a new location.
Because sometimes travel doesn’t feel like enough to me. It feels like a tease, like fingers run gently along the nape of my neck. Leaving me longing for more. A deeper and longer connection.
“Do you think you’d ever want to live here?” I inevitably whisper to my husband in the dark of the night as we lay in the bed of our vacation house.
In each place I visit, I can imagine a life there. The green forests and rocky coastlines and sandy beaches become the backdrop for an extraordinary love story that I want to write and live. Wildflowers weave a stunning picture of all that could be, the beauty of the land inviting me to stay. I think about all the reasons that we would be happy together, me and this place shrouded still in mystique.
“Do you feel a sense of home where you live?” I recently asked a group of friends, all of us displaced from the the place we once called home. They could have just as easily been talking about significant others, with the way they recounted a few drawbacks of their current locales, but ultimately affirmed how much they loved the place they now call home.
Do I love mine enough? I wonder.
Or will I always have a wandering heart?
There is so much I love about the place I live: the friends and community, the proximity to people and places I love, the mountainous landscape and quaint little towns.
But that love doesn’t dim the desire I feel for each place I visit. How I want to embed in a new community. How I picture who I would be in a new environment. How the novel becomes familiar in that comforting sort of way.
Though maybe the novel would just become boring, would just leave me chasing ever-greater love affairs.
Then again, maybe my heart is big enough to hold the love I have for where I am alongside the love I feel for where I go. Just like my love expands with each child I birth, maybe, too, my love expands with each place I visit. It’s a stretching and tearing and stitching of something altogether new with each new love affair I embark upon.
That’s the glorious and heartbreaking part of exploring; leaving a piece of yourself in each place you visit, but also carrying a piece of someplace new home in your heart.
Maybe it’s ok, necessary even in life, to fall in love over and over and over again. Maybe that’s what keeps us alive; the falling wildly, madly, and deeply, while always remembering the place we call home.
Even if that home is the wandering heart beating ceaselessly within.