“Not all who wander are lost” — JRR Tolkein
In case you haven’t noticed, I am a Wanderer. Sometimes I can fake “normal” and stay in one place for months at a time. But then the compulsion hits and off I go. Even a houseful of kids never stopped me: traveling with a large family just meant more logistics for this queen-of-lists to organize.
Going on adventures has always been a guilty-pleasure. I love the planning and the going. I enjoy the coming home. It seems so reasonable…at least to me! But each return brings questions from family and friends: “When will you stay put?” “Did you get that out of your system this time?” “Why can’t you be stable and put down roots like everyone else?” I laugh about being a “free-spirit.” I joke that others need to look outside-the-box. But deep inside, these comments continued to erode my confidence. Obviously, there was something wrong with me. Surely I would “grow up” someday and be content where I was planted.
There were times I wondered if I harmed my kids by doing so much schooling on the road. (Others certainly thought so…) Sometimes I imagined how my husband’s life would have been different if he had married someone who was more consistent and bound by routines. (Time after time family questioned how I could leave him home alone while the kids and I traveled…) I tried. Really, I did! But then the next adventure called to me; the next location pulled my heartstrings. I had to go, wandering again and again.
This summer, in an attempt to continue being outdoors as much as possible, youngest Daughter and I lived in an RV at a campgrounds close to a small town. We fell in love with the people and the places around town. We were welcomed and invited to dive deeper into relationships. We began to put down tentative roots. It felt right, but there was a feeling of grief as well. What would these new friends say when they discovered my broken urge to wander?
In the past few weeks, I’ve had some aha!-moments. Hubby sent me a link to a song and affirmed that I really was born under a wanderin’ star (and implied that this was okay…) See video clip HERE
Last week, I commented to the pastor of the new church we are attending (in the small town we love) that it felt like we are putting down some roots. And maybe I would finally stop running. He firmly told me that there is nothing wrong with wandering. It is a gift and a privilege that so many never experience. A few days later, Daughter’s psychologist affirmed the same idea, telling Daughter that it is a privilege that she gets to wander with her mother. Every time I remembered these words, I cried. Maybe I wasn’t broken after all. Maybe this urge to wander IS “normal”…at least for me.
And then…while I was pondering how to celebrate my wandering spirit, an artist friend posted a painting for sale. I’ve wanted to buy something from this artist for quite a while, but couldn’t decide if I wanted a mountain scene, a view of red mesas from Navajoland, or a southwestern landscape. See Sharon Baker’s art HERE. When I saw the title of this particular painting, I just KNEW this was “my” painting. It is called “Wandering Star” and was painted many years ago in response to the same song my husband sent to me. I will hang this painting with great pride in my home, to remind me who I am…
I’m no longer lost. I am a WANDERER!
8 thoughts on “Wand’rin’ Star”
Ps. Here’s a gift of a song, about moving on. I hope you enjoy! All the best. https://soundcloud.com/thompsoncrowley/i-dont-belong-here-anymore-with-the-patches?in=thompsoncrowley/sets/thompson-crowley-2
LOVE IT! Thanks! When I get back from my latest (short) trip, I will take a nice long listen to your work and share my favorite songs with friends…
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Nice story. And good work following your heart! I too am a wanderer, and I too know how sometimes it can draw disapproval from people around you. But I don’t have any children, just a wife and a dog, who fortunately share the same outlook on life.
I’m also trying to settle, or wondering where we can go to settle. In a few months we’ll be in Australia, maybe there? Or New Zealand has always tugged at my sleeve. I watch this homestead Youtube channel called ‘Fouchamatic off-grid’, it’s about a family of 5 who fled from the city, bought a small piece of land in the mountains, and are now building a house from the trees on that land. Maybe investing so much time & energy in a patch of ground would finally make it feel like home? It’s something I’m keen to do. Not being able to grow (much) food on the road has been the only drawback for me. But for now, as you have so pleasantly put it, I’ll too accept that I’m a wanderer, and just enjoy the twists and turns of the trail ahead…
SOOO happy to meet another wanderer! Love to hear your story. (and just signed up for newsletters so I can hear about your latest wanderings!) Best wishes to you as you explore and share with others the inspirations you find.
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I like everything about this post.
Thanks! I’m glad you like it. I’ll have to show you my new painting sometime!
This makes me sooooooo happy! 🙂 You just keep on being a wand’rin’ star!
Thanks for your art which will remind me it’s okay to wander!