Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The connection between being a child of a hoarder and a love of travel

I love to travel. While I recognize that that is not exactly a unique interest, it is one that I feel passionately about and one that pulls me and pushes me in ways that I have a hard time understanding. Over the last couple of months, I have had some pretty intense wanderlust that has caused me to feel incredibly discontent with my surroundings on many occasions.

Even though traveling is a pretty common interest, it seems that there are even more people who have little desire to travel or to only travel sparingly, seeking few destinations. During these bouts of wanderlust, I've been asking myself why I am so strongly a member of the traveling camp and wondering if anything in my life has occurred to condition me for a love of travel. My parents aren't big travelers and we only took a few vacations while I was growing up, mostly to the Jersey shore and, after the divorce, to West Virginia to visit relatives.

My first thoughts on the subject involve the fact that I am a child of divorced parents. Every other Friday, I traveled the ten minutes to the next town over to spend the weekend with my dad and brother. This constant, though slight, shuffling might account for my comfort with changing locations.

Because my mother was a hoarder and I despised the squalor that I lived in, I almost felt like being able to go to a normal household twice a month was like going on a vacation. Running water, clean surfaces, no clutter, no decay. I could invite my friends over. I didn't have to live in fear of being found out. Making that trip between my mother's and my father's was transformative for me. A black cloud was lifted during those ten minutes. These feelings were often associated with any kind of trip that took me out my mother's house. The farther away I was from home, the better. The more ground I could physically put between me and that house (even better if my mother was also in that house instead of with me) meant that I was less and less defined by those surrounds and I could more and more disassociate myself from that hell hole and live in my own skin on my own terms.

Hating the actual town and area I grew up in probably only encouraged my love for travel. Small town Pennsylvania is devoid of culture and progress. It took at least 20 or 30 minutes to travel to a town that had a movie theater, museum, art scene, or college. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to move away from that town. As soon as I could understand what college was, I knew I had to go and I had to go far, far away. I am not saying that small towns and rural areas are bad. I love spending some time outside of the bustle of city life and, oftentimes, these towns have a quaint character and are comforting to me. But there was something about being forced to endure the drabness of that particular town, day in and day out, at such a pivotal point in my life that really got under my skin.

I have a feeling that a mixture of these elements have caused me to associate staying with negative feelings and leaving with positive feelings. I knew that practically anywhere was better than the home I grew up in and I wanted more than anything to not live where I did. My experiences traveling continually affirmed this and therefore created a tenacious root for my wanderlust.

How about you? If you are a child of a hoarder, do you also harbor a love for travel? Do you think it has anything to do with your home life? If you're not a child of a hoarder and love to travel, why do you think that is?

1 comment:

  1. I'm a child of a hoarder, and I definitely love to travel. In fact, I've moved overseas three times (and I currently live in Asia). My father's family loves to travel, and I always assumed I got it from that side of the family. Moving every few years keeps the clutter from buliding up.