When roots start to form
I begin to take flight
I don’t know why
I don’t know how
I wish it ain’t so
But it’s the only way I know
One of my ultimate favorite poems about traveling is by Robert W. Service. In it he perfectly describes the way I feel about traveling. It’s something that controls me versus the other way around. This inexplicable desire to keep going is something that I’m only beginning to understand and accept. Sometimes it feels more like a curse than a blessing. No matter how wonderful a place I discover, no matter how wonderful the friends, I still feel a hunger to see new places. I practice meditation and mindfulness hoping it would counteract some of this. But I’m beginning to see that my desire to travel has nothing to do with me not appreciating the present, because I do. Every moment that I spend with people I love is fully treasured, and it pains me that I want to leave, but I cannot help it. When I stay at a place for too long I start to take things for granted, and I refuse to do so. In this way my relationship with my mother and my family has actually become closer. My compassion and understanding of others have also grown. Service’s poem provides the legitimization and comfort that I seek when loneliness visits me. Please do not mistaken this poem as a cry for pity though, I think it is far from that. It is an attempt to explain the traveler’s undying addiction to growing, because you see we’re always doubting our own steps, but in the end we know we come out stronger.
The Men That Don’t Fit In
BY ROBERT W. SERVICE
There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.