The cold breeze ruffled my hair as we wound our way down into the valley. I pulled my scarf tighter around my neck, grateful for my gloves. Dawn was breaking, the sun turning the morning around me varying shades of gold and pink and, as I shivered in my seat, I thought of how very far I was from the life I’d known. Sleep deprived, cold, and somewhat uncomfortable in the safari vehicle, this day would be spent marveling at the wonder of nature in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.
We had been in Africa for a few weeks, on the road for nearly a year, and I was totally and completely at peace. Waking up in a wet tent, sloshing through ankle deep mud to a filthy drop toilet, now freezing in the jeep, I could not have felt more at home. Alive. Filled with the anticipation of not knowing exactly what adventure each day would bring. Life back home seemed, not just thousands of miles away, but thousands of years in the past.
One Jimmy Buffet song has a line that has always rung true with me, but never more than while on the road. It goes “Sometimes more than ever, you know who and what and where you are”. While I’d known for years I loved travel, it really wasn’t until I went traveling long-term that I realized just how much I wanted this life. In spite of the logistical difficulties, language barriers, uncomfortable beds, and cold showers, extended travel had changed me for good.
I was at home when I had no real home. I felt no qualms about moving from one new country to the next. Not knowing what each day would bring was more comforting than any routine I had ever known. What I learned about myself on the road is that I love being slightly off kilter. I like the adrenal rush of a new location. I embrace the challenge of making my way in unknown territory.
Freedom to me doesn’t equate a never ending vacation. I know to make my dream life a reality I will have to work harder than I ever have before. The desire to not follow the majority on the road called “status quo” is shaping my life to follow my own path. This, I learned on the road.
“The best journeys answer question that, in the beginning, you didn’t even think to to ask” – unknown
When I headed out on my journey, I would never have guessed where the path would lead. A part of me assumed it would simply be a gap year type of experience, not knowing that this nomadic life would get so under my skin that I will do anything to make my dreams come true. For me… freedom IS the road.
About the Author: Rhonda Delameter is a world traveler, blogger, and soon to be nomad. She has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years and is now intent on making her way as a full time nomadic writer, photography, and citizen of the world. Follow her on Facebook.