I’ve been trying to narrow down a list of possible suburbs to live in using a tube map from 2008 - the first time and only time I’ve been to London. On the back of the map is an advertisement for Ikea: ‘Travel is a means to an end. Home.’
I wonder if that’s really why we travel. If the reason we take ourselves out of the comfortable and force ourselves into the uncomfortable is to attempt to discover what home really is.
For most of us home is more accident than careful planning. Home for me right now is the house my parents built in a smallish country town about an hour from Melbourne. It’s the place I feel most comfortable in the world. It’s the place I’ve lived most of my days in. It’s the place I’m leaving in a bit under two months.
Comfort is a double edge sword. Being comfortable equates to feeling safe, secure, generally happy. It’s a nice feeling, a warm one. One many of us spend years trying to find. But it’s also the reason why I find myself distracted, the reason why I leave projects untouched for months, why I don’t send pitches, why I wile away hours watching old episodes of Grand Designs or downloading old books from Project Gutenberg. Being comfortable can often be more of a hindrance than a help. Being comfortable makes it easy to not move, to not challenge yourself, to sit yourself in the safe, secure and generally happy space and just be.
When I try to peer under my own skin, to scrape away at my desire to take myself out of this comfortable space I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in, the truth feels a little like freshly squeezed lemon juice on a paper cut. It stings.
The truth is, it’s easy for me to not do the work, it’s easy for me to not challenge myself, to not put myself in positions that guarantee nothing but an almost certain failure. It’s easy to not do those things when you’re comfortable.
I don’t think that Ikea advertisement is true for me. I’m not travelling to find home. Home is already established. But home is too comfortable, too easy. I’m travelling to find those hard, uncomfortable spaces. I’m travelling to fall over an edge not knowing what lays beneath me.
I’m travelling because sometimes the only way to see if you’re good enough is to throw yourself into a deep pool, fully clothed, and see if you sink or swim.