#011 The End of the Road (Travel - End)
Wherever you go, there you are
I’m concluding my series on travel and relocation this week. I wanted to better understand the human drive to both leave and stay home, and while I’m still unsure about this dichotomy, I now understand why I’m so unsure about it.
I’ve always believed in the adage, “wherever you go, there you are,” meaning, we take our histories, beliefs, and biases with us when we move. Our least desirable tendencies can only be undone by travelling inward, not outward, which sometimes doesn’t happen if we constantly distract ourselves with newness.
It also means that we preserve our best tendencies no matter where we go. Travel often brings our best out of us, allowing us to shine, when we might’ve stayed home and stayed dull.
Even though we’re always ourselves in some fundamental way, we’re also linked to our environments. We’re influenced by the people around us in ways that we can’t always identify. We’re so socially adaptable that we often can’t even tell where our experience ends and another’s begins.
Before I moved to Japan, I had the vague idea that living abroad would add meaning to my life. I couldn’t name the specifics of how that might happen, but that part didn’t worry me. Everyone says that travel opens our minds, teaches us about other cultures, and grants us perspective, so I figured I’d get that much out of it.
I did get those things. I’ve grown a lot in the last six years. What would I have done otherwise? It’s hard to say, but it’s possible that I would’ve grown just as much doing something else.
I mostly learned what I don’t know. Whenever this happens, I get to find out that the world is far more interesting than I thought it was, and that’s always exciting. I also get to chip away at the delusion that I know what’s going on and that any of it is my responsibility.
It reminds me of the quote by physicist Sir Arthur Eddington, “Something unknown is doing we don’t know what.”1 Expansion always lets me experience Sir Arthur Eddington’s observation firsthand.
When I started The Intentional Hulk, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to write something every week, but I’ve been going for almost three months now. I thought I’d run out of ideas, but I had new ideas every week, anyway. I had to let most of my ideas slide away to maintain space for my previous ideas.
I deeply appreciate everyone who has subscribed and opens an email from me every week (or follows a link to this page). I’m especially grateful to those of you who’ve taken the time to share, like, and comment on my pieces. It means so much to me.
If anyone wants to appear here for any reason, as an interviewee, as a shoutout, or something else, let’s talk. You can contact me through social media or reply to this email.
I’m taking a week off and the newsletter will continue after that. Until then, thanks again for reading, and if you like it, please recommend it to someone you know.
Much love to you all,
Things I Loved This Week
During the pandemic, the Tokyo street performers were absent, and now my favorite musician is back! I always see him outside of the SE exit of Shinjuku Station, which is where he made this video.
This article in The Hedgehog Review: Small-Town USA: The mythical place that stifles and nourishes by Phil Christman.
The podcast Missing Richard Simmons, not because of the host’s doggedness that borders on harassment, but because of the tribute it pays to Richard Simmons.
I read that in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, not a physics book.