The world is but a place of shadows. The guest pauses for but a few nights and departs confused, never knowing for sure where he has been. Beyond the horizon he feels certain he will find a better city, a fairer prospect, a more sonorous group of singing companions. But when his camels are tethered, he will find himself engaged with still yet another set of shadows. – James Michener in “The Drifters ”
I am cursed with a wandering spirit. Like the ancient Bedouin tribes of Saudi Arabia, I live to travel, and I feel the need to keep moving.
Not every day, mind you. But often. Like many other Third Culture Kids, I get itchy feet about every four or five years.
I start dreaming about moving to a new place, meeting new people, experiencing a new environment. Or I think about moving somewhere that is close to where other friends have chosen to live. Most of them are TCKs like me, or else they have the same travel bug. Another thing about TCKs: they have friends all around the globe.
I never think about moving HOME. “Why not?” you ask. Simple. I have no home. I grew up in an ARAMCO compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. My dad is retired and living back in the States, so I couldn’t move back to Arabia even if I wanted to. (Unless I had a job there, or was married to someone who had a job there.) But the house I grew up in is gone, replaced by a park. And, quite frankly, I don’t think I would be happy living in Dhahran now.
Maybe that’s why I can’t seem to settle down completely. Because I don’t have a true home.
Over the years, I have met people who remained in the towns – and sometimes even in the very houses – they grew up in. I looked at them with a mixture of awe and pity. On the one hand, I felt sorry for them for not getting out and experiencing this big wonderful world we live in. On the other, I was just a tiny bit envious of the roots they had planted so deeply in their communities. Knowing everybody (and everybody’s business) was something I could never relate to.
That reminds me of another quote:
The tragedy of plants is that they have roots.
It’s hard to imagine staying in the same place for the rest of my life. I suppose if I found the “right” place I would feel differently. But then again, what is the “right” place, anyway?
I’m interested in other people’s thoughts on this subject. I’d love to hear yours!