My Name Is Lauren, And I Do Not Plant Roots.
By Lauren Gauthier, GA Contributor
A love letter to myself and to those I’ve met:
Hi, all. My name is Lauren, and I do not plant roots.
As a solo traveller, I spend a lot of time by myself, and in turn, I get to do a lot of thinking. The idea of planting roots permanently in a specific location is somewhat interesting to me. I have been called a nomad, a gypsy, and someone who must rob banks considering the amount I move around. (And just in case you’re wondering, I don’t rob banks.)
Something I think about quite frequently is what leads a person to choose a place in this world and decide to stay there, to build a life and dedicate time to living there? I would imagine in a lot of instances it is love, family, friendship or perhaps the place just speaks to you. You see, I have felt for a long time that I do not have roots laid down anywhere. Perhaps people were right, that I am a bit of a nomad. I always feel so comfortable and happy being constantly on the move. So when I finally have to return somewhere to work for a period, I get restless.
So I asked myself, why?
You could contribute this to the stage of life I’m currently in; mid-twenties, University is finished, single… The world is my oyster, right? Tons of people experience this sentiment at this age. Everyone is looking toward their future. Where will I make my home? Who will I end up with? What will I accomplish? The future is unknown.
But the unknown is exciting! I remember being halfway through my last year of high school and saying to my mother, “A year from now, I could be anywhere in the world. How exciting is that!” And of course, I live this thought wholeheartedly. I left home at 17 to attend university in a different province. I spent time learning French in yet another province. And then I pursued my Masters in yet a further away province. As soon as I got the chance, I traveled the United States, and then Europe, and then Australia. I was hooked and I still am hooked.
I had a friend ask me recently while I was in Australia, “what self-discovery missions are you on?” This one made me think. But in order to look cool in front of this new friend I had made, I tried to come up with a smooth answer. My response was as follows: “I feel every experience I have in life, whether it be very intense or something as small as talking to a stranger on the street, contributes to who I am today and to who I am becoming.” Straight from a quote on Instagram. To answer this question honestly right at this moment, I have absolutely no idea whatsoever.
Which brings me back to this idea of planting roots.
I had accepted the idea that I was a nomad. I was a woman of the world, an explorer and nothing and nobody was going to tie me down. So you can imagine my confusion and frustration when I cried when I left Melbourne and then Australia as a whole. And why did I cry a couple of years back when I left Nashville? And everywhere else I’ve ever been? Why was I drawn back home to PEI every once in a while? You guessed it. I planted roots.
Perhaps it is inevitable. When you travel, you naturally open your heart and your mind, and with that, you get a deeper connection to the individuals that one meets and the places one visits. When traveling, it seems you build your life somewhere just in time to have to leave again. You plant your roots in that location, just to uproot again. How do you balance this feeling of love and connection with adventure?
I have drawn the conclusion that this is what travel is all about. That is how you become a person of the world. You plant roots in numerous places, everywhere in fact! You make your mark. Everywhere you visit and every person you meet feeds your soul and in turn, they keep a little bit of your soul to themselves, always. And you feed their souls. You feed the soul of the place you are exploring. And that is what it is all about. Everything is connected.
I may have a gypsy heart, but I do have a heart. I had had this ridiculous idea that I could cut myself off from everyone and everything, the only thing I was actually connected to, that I have drawn roots to being on the move. Boy, was I proven wrong. And maybe that Instagram quote I used to try to impress someone was not as ridiculous as I had thought. Maybe it is even truer than I could have ever imagined. I feel connected to every place I have been, everyone I have met, and every experience I have had. I would not be who I am today without feeling I have planted roots in all of the places I have seen and lived. And especially, all of the people I have met. You are all a part of me.
It might sound silly and entirely obvious, but it sure took me a while to figure out.
And if you do not really understand what I’m getting at… My name is Lauren and I have unknowingly planted roots everywhere I have lived and traveled. Long story short: I’ll see you again soon ‘Straya, you can count on that. You too, Europe. And I haven’t forgotten about you either, Nashville… (You get the picture). You all mean so much to me. Thank you.