I am a walking, talking, living, combination of wanderlust and homebody.
The Double Life
How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrill
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One.
~ Donald Blanding.
I yearn for a base but am exhilarated by the journey. I love to make a house a home, but yet I haven’t minded my periods of nomadic existence. It is in those months I realised that I could go four months with only 33 items of clothing to choose from. It has been during these experiences that I realised how much I enjoyed the freedom of not having to check luggage on international flights. It is in the opportunities to indulge in my nomadic tendencies that I have realised how much I relished revisiting favourite places to eat and friends, oh how good to see friends!
I have come to embrace the truth that I am, at heart, a non-comformist. I am so not interested in a white bread suburban life. Don’t get me wrong, I love family, I relish having a place to call home, and I love knowing who I am and where I’m from.
Wanderlust and homebody.
But I love exploring the world and I love making plans knowing that I can change them to adapt to new opportunities. I enjoy that my life has been an adventure so far and I want to continue to look at it that way.
Adventure doesn’t always mean travel.
Sometimes it means being content and at peace and making, building, doing, living exactly where you are for a season.
I have been thinking about the calling/vocation question for about 10 years. This question of life’s purpose is at the core of what has motivated my travels and resulted in such a nomadic existence. Being somewhat idealistic and ontological is also why I don’t want to set a goal to visit every country: though I understand why others set goals of a numerical kind or have a way of completing their travels. I swear it’s in my DNA – this wandering spirit of mine. Handed down by ancestors on all sides who traveled across the seas to make their home downunder, who served in wars to end all wars, who sought out work that took them around the world, or all over this great big island continent.
There is a great freedom in traveling far and wide when you know where you are from: when you can trace those roots down deep in that brown-red soil, like those Eucalyptus trees that are hundreds and hundreds of years old.
I want to write about important things and to teach my students to ask big questions.
I want to understand more about humanity: about beauty, about family, about love, about creativity, and joy. The more I see, the more I experience the veins and arteries that run with the blood of love that are common in humanity. The faces change, the food changes, and the landscape changes, but the basic needs of humanity – of men and women – the world over are striking in their similarities.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou
I seek to live out my calling to love God with my heart, soul and mind. To serve others. Paul challenges us to be content in abundance and scarcity – he doesn’t just mean in material terms. This double life means both a abundance of friends the world over and sometimes a scarcity when I find myself in a new place. Faith in Jesus means we are free to take opportunities to rejoice in God’s creation and find some redemption and beauty in the curve balls life throws us, because there is beauty to be found. There is redemption to be found. There is, to be sure, hope to be found.
It is the aim of contemplative living . . .
that you learn to recognize a blessing when you see one,
and are able to respond to it with words that God has given you.
— Kathleen Norris
And so I write. I travel. I hope. I create. I observe and I listen. I seek contentment and to find beauty in the ordinary and the mundane as well as the extraordinary and the unique. I write to learn, to understand, and to process. I write to speak my own story, and I write to walk alongside others with stories to tell.
This is the life for me. The Double Life: The Searching one and the domestic one! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Image: Atherton Tablelands. Photo by Anna Blanch Rabe. Do not use without permission.
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. You can follow her adventures on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. For more Theology:Naked take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.