How to roam the world and still build roots.
If there is one thing that captures my attention more than anything else; it’s travel. Traveling is my drug of choice. Ever since I can remember my family and I have lived a very nomadic life. I grew up in Greece, left as a teenager for studies in the U.S and London, and went back as a young adult, only to leave again 13 years later and reestablish a life in New York at the age of 35. Something tells me I’m not done moving around… yet.
Setting up a life in another place no matter how familiar or routine it sounds; takes a mixture of guts, stupidity, throw caution to the wind bravery, thirst for adventure, and insanity. Yet, I’ve done it 3 times.
This life I’ve chosen, first chose me. Anyone who gets out of their familiar place, packs up their life and moves to a completely different place; is a nomad. I will not get into the discussion of our current state of global refugee crisis, because that is a choice no one should have to make. That being said, all of humanity was built upon the idea that we wanted, needed, aspired to explore other places, live a different life than the one presented to us, and just GO.
My mother boarded a boat in 1972 with my father, and left the only life she knew to be real; only to land in a country under dictatorship in one of the most tumultuous times in Greece’s history. My father, seven years earlier got a scholarship to go study Architecture in western Massachusetts at age 18, never having left Europe, let alone Greece before. My mother was 27 and my father 25, and looking back on it, I am quite certain the bug was in my DNA way before my father and my mother met.
My Greek ancestors were a mixture of cultures and traditions taking them to Turkey, Albania, and possibly even Northern Africa. My American ancestry leads me to villages in the UK and Germany and now I live in a city comprised of every culture under the sun, only to want to explore more of this world first hand.
Discovering new places, and our inexplicable attraction, adoration and love for lands far from our birth, is what is exciting about leading a somewhat nomadic life, yet with each place I live in, I find that it can’t give you what you seek unless you fully commit to living there. Transience isn’t something I felt comfortable with, no-matter where I lived. In Greece we have a phrase for those who’ve emigrated, to other parts of the world (and over the years it’s been millions): Whatever land you find yourself on, that is your country, that is your home. (Όπου γη και πατρίς).
With that in mind I’ve always urged others to take a leap of faith, explore, travel, live somewhere else if you can, risk comforts and familiarity because we leave our old selves behind when we have to embrace a new way of life. If we return to our place of birth; we do so with a much larger picture, a global view, a different story.