I stand in the empty forest, my body tingling with awe and my mind serenaded with an instant sense of calm. There is nowhere else to be but right here, in this moment. The trees are alive and moving vigorously with the wind. I watch my darkened feet soften into the earth as I’m filled with an unmistakeable feeling of connection, of being part of something.
One of the exciting things about this ‘day and age’ we’re living in is the increasing convenience of travel. On a whim we can be over the other side of the country, or even the world (with a minimal amount of planning). Flights are cheap and accessible. Hitchhiking and car-pooling may be at a low, but these more self-indulgent forms of travel are ever the more at our disposal.
There is certainly less and less pull to stay here, to remain in the area we were raised and serve our families and communities. Family run businesses are giving in to corporate international companies. Underpaid casual jobs are in abundance. And the ever-expanding web industry provides increasing opportunities to support a nomadic lifestyle. You don’t even have to be in the same country as your client- yes this technology still blows my mind!
We are free. Free to explore the wild unknown, other cultures, traditions, different ways of looking at things, and with that: an opportunity to further explore ourselves. We can break free from our social conditioning, from the stories we were told about how to act and what to believe. We can release ourselves from those that were created for us and those we fashioned ourselves to make sense of the world we were living in. We can make a new sense, one that falls more deeply in tune with our own values, with what we really feel. Our own truth.
For me, this has been an incredibly liberating experience. I took off 3 years ago to travel, to be by myself in nature with the intention of healing and renewing my spirit. I wanted to remember my true self, to feel wild and free again. I quit the abundance of jobs I had gathered in the city, packed up my sharehouse, took most of my possessions back to the op shop, and crammed the rest into my new moving home. I said goodbye to my friends and family, and left indefinitely -on the long road; just myself, a guitar and a bundle of blank pages I’d bound into a journal. ‘A journey on wheels, but mostly of the heart, moving forward, but leading back to the start’ I remember writing. I was leaving to return to who I was.
I was a child who knew the beauty of the world, and my own worth. The child who sang songs to the moon and found delight in the tiny patterns of flower pedals. I was spontaneous and brave. At 8 years I was a considerable dag. I could tell ridiculous jokes and giggle about them hysterically even if no one else found them funny. I would model to my friends and family, pretending to be Elle McPherson, without a care what they were thinking. I don’t even remember their reactions now. I must’ve been quite oblivious. I must’ve felt secure, like I belonged. It didn’t cross my mind that I should worry about things, and perhaps change who I was or what I was doing. I was safe and at home.
But moving into adolescence the ground underneath became a little shaky. I was gradually besieged by the fears of modern society. My friends and I who’d once shared wonderful moments of life; mutual appreciation for each other’s talents and aptitude for laughter, now found ourselves in covert competition for approval and ‘cool’ness. Trying to fit into the guidelines and restrictions of outside trends to feel we somehow belonged.
There was little room for compliments anymore, and support-giving and encouragement a rare find. At such a life-shaping time in our development, we found ourselves in a sea of insecurity; swimming desperately to avoid the harshness of judgement- trying to survive in the toxic social environment. And somehow attempting to preserve a little of our own individuality.
Things were presented as tremendously black and white, not like the poetry I’d written as a child, and the beautiful colours I saw in the world then. There had become a right and a wrong way, and I didn’t particularly agree with this assumption. I knew that the outside rules and expected beliefs didn’t have much meaning to me and that there was a greater knowing underneath that far exceeded any ‘truths’ imposed upon me. We are all unique and have infinite wisdom inside us.
I left my home in the ‘outside’ world to come back to my home ‘inside’; to come back to my place of knowing. And what a rewarding venture it was. I allowed myself to sit alone in the forest and listen to the birds, to breathe in the beauty of nature. I danced under waterfalls and skipped through the ocean waves. I followed intuition. I began writing songs from my heart, and now expressing my deepest feelings. Words flowed out like honey, soothing and healing. My truth was coming back to me. I was remembering who I was and what I really believed. I’d sing the messages I’d receive from nature and my deep self. I began living my own truth. And with this, I seemed to gather a sense of contentment that came with me wherever I went: my home.
I returned to my friends and family feeling so much lighter. I’d found my base within, and living from my truth I also found it easier to connect with others. My appreciation for them had grown greatly, and I could now share my unique gifts more fully with them.
This is my path now. I’ve given away with the security of having an outside home. I’ve chosen to remain a traveller- touring Australia and sharing my songs. I allow myself to follow whims and be spontaneous like I was when I was a child. I return to nature and write songs. I make space for this inner voice as I move from place to place.
However, this bounty of freedom can sometimes lend itself to uncertainty; an unsettling feeling of ‘not quite knowing where home is anymore’. And maybe this is the catch of living in such a convenient and independent age. It’s easy to lose a sense of who we are, especially if we never settle long enough to be involved- to feel part of the community, or part of something greater.
We must find connection somewhere. Whatever lifestyle we choose, we must each find our own sense of home: that place where we feel connected, like our true selves.
I close my eyes and take in the magic of the forest, my roots softening into the earth below. My breath brings me gently into this moment. I am here now. This is my home.
article: Melody Moon
Visit Melody at www.melodymoon.com.au