Vagabond No More?

Vagabond - 'purposeless wandering'. In the late 1300s, British cops would collar vagabonds and force them to show their means of support, if they could not, they would be sent to the slammer. By the early 15oos vagabonds were also whipped while in the slammer. By the time the 19th century rolled around, vagabonds were defined as men "with a vagrant strain in the blood, a natural inquisitiveness about the world beyond their doors."

In recent days and weeks, I've listened to the tales and experiences of my wandering friends with new emotions. While I have definitely lived my fair days of wanderings, living on people's couches, giving up friends, etc in search of a new adventure, moving to new cities without a solid idea of where my next paycheck would come from, I am very much beginning to question that lifestyle for for myself. I honestly don't know if I could do it again. In the mere four months that I have lived in D.C., I've found myself slowly growing roots in ways that I had long forgotten about. I have developed little routines that are soothing and even the boring things that I have to do have become a slice of my existence here. This new settledness about myself only comes blaring through when I listen to new friends. Where once their tales of country hopping, adventures on crowded buses, or experimenting local cuisine would have filled me with a slight jealousy, that feeling is slowing becoming one of 'good for you, but not for me.'

I wish I could touch that moment when my priorities shifted. I'm sure it started sometime in Sudan on one of my days when I felt frustrated about the lack of hot water. The feeling grew over the summer when no bed I slept in truly belonged to me. I knew for sure that something was different when a friend asked me recently to go to Cuba for a vacation and besides the 'I just started my job and would have to take unpaid leave' thoughts I also had the mental debate of how to use my limited funds a) plane tickets and hotel for a great experience that will last only in terms of days OR b) use funds to slowly furniture my living room with pieces that could last years. The fact that the choice (b) was a no-brainer was a big signal that A CHANGE had arrived.

I am not 100% sure how I feel about this new me. Sometimes I think something was seriously wrong with me, but luckily I have non-vagabond friends who have either gone through similar feelings or are completely on the settled-side of life. They remind me that a) what I'm experiencing isn't strange and one could even call it a 'normal' part of that infamous process called growing-up, and b) it isn't all boring. I still have many 'I wanna go back abroad' feelings - I would be on the first plane to Mozambique or Tunisia if someone offered - however now I am a little more careful in evaluating the financial and non-financial costs and less willing to throw certain things to the wind as I have in the past.

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