My childhood summers were spent in Finland, running through the woods foraging for food. My cousins’ and I would slip on these massive adult rain boots that were twelve times our actual foot size. I remember the opening of them scratching the inside of my groin. We’d sprint into the trees, clunking our oversized boots through the woods, laughing and singing and screeching in excitement with each new mushroom we’d uncover.
I loved searching for the dinner ingredients. It didn’t matter if we came home with nothing more than dirt between our hands. We were just out on an adventure. I suppose I haven’t stopped loving the search. Always curious about what new pot of (dinner) gold I would find hiding under the next rock. Always looking for something new and exciting to capture me.
I’ve spent far too many hours dreaming up my next foreign escape. I’ve moved to new cities and countries with nothing more than a bag to my name and a heart full of optimism. I’ve leapt without a net more times than I’d like to take credit for, and I’ve quit my job in favor of gypsying around the world all alone, with no idea of what life would look like when I returned.
You see, I tell myself it’s about the travel but it’s really about the search. When I’m in the travel mindset I’m unlocking new perspectives on life. I realize how much is out there to uncover. And with each new discovery I’m awakened to all the discoveries yet to come.
I guess in some way or another I’ve always known that search itself is what I’ve been chasing. Because there, in the search, is where I find myself. I find the piece of me that has gotten locked up, and pushed down in favor of what society has told me to pay attention to.
Somewhere in the doing, and getting, and becoming we get lost in what it means to be present. To slow down and appreciate the life we’re living. Because even if you’re not living out your wildest dreams, rooted in purpose and mind-blowing passion every single twenty four hours of your day, you’re still here. Existing, and being, and creating on a daily basis. And that’s no small feat. So what if instead of looking everywhere outside ourselves (and to the far corners of the Earth) we chose instead to look inside?
To be right here.
To stay still.
And to realize that everything we’ve been searching for has been inside us all along.
For it’s never, ever, been about the mushrooms.