There was once a man who became unstuck in the world – he realized that he was not his car, he realized that he was not his job, he was not his phone, his desk or his shoes. Like a boat cut from its anchor, he’d begun to drift.
*There was once a man who became unstuck in the world – he took the wind for a map, he took the sky for a clock, and he set off with no destination. He was never lost.
*There once was a man who became unstuck in the world – instead of hooks or a net, he threw himself into the sea. He was never thirsty.
*There was once a man who became unstuck in the world – with a polaroid camera he made pictures of all the people he met, and then he gave all the pictures away. He would never forget their faces.
*There was once a man who became unstuck in the world – and each person he met became a little less stuck themselves. He traveled only with himself and he was never alone.
*There was once a man who’d become unstuck in the world – and he traveled around like a leaf in the wind until he reached the place where he started out. His car, his job, his phone, his shoes – everything was right where he’d left it. Nothing had changed, and yet he felt excited to have arrived here – as if this were the place he’d been going all along.
- Castles in the Sky
The first time I heard this quote it sent a chill down my spine. Becoming unstuck: what an idea. It's such a simple word for an action, a feeling, that I couldn't ever really describe. Becoming unstuck is exactly what I've been trying to do since I was 19 years old, possibly even earlier. When I was 19 I went to Spain. It was the first time I'd ever left North America and it made me realize I didn't need to be stuck in the town I grew up in. I could move to Spain if I wanted to. I could do anything I wanted to. I could take the wind for a map and set off with no destination. And I've done it. Only for weeks or months at a time, and then I always end up back where I started from. But that feeling of complete and utter freedom that I get for those weeks or months is better than anything else.
When I return home I feel like I'm a different person than I was when I left, but everything here is the same. My job is still there, my phone is there, my closet is full of the same old shoes. My friends are doing the same thing they were doing last time I saw them. For a brief time, this sameness feels new and exciting to me. I can read signs and menus in English, I actually have clothes to choose from other than what I have in my backpack, I can have dinner with my family and catch up with my friends. But soon enough, I begin to feel stuck again. I'm stuck going to the same old job, stuck going to the same old bars with the same old people, stuck driving down the same roads every day, stuck seeing and doing the same old things. I love this place and it will always be my home, but soon enough, I inevitably feel the need to unstick myself. I'm feeling this need again now. I need to pull up the anchor and drift away to new shores. I need to become unstuck. And in a few days I will be, temporarily.