I used to be a Singer.
Well, I used to call myself a singer - I'm not sure I can call myself one anymore. Crippling depression, family problems and a pandemic saw me struggling to get out of bed, feed myself and shower - let alone get on stage and write a song (not necessarily in that order). But when everything fell apart, it hit me - how much I relied on defining myself as a 'singer'. A singer was something I did, not who I was as a person. But during the pandemic, and afterwards, despite the horrors and insanity going on in the world - and i'm sure plenty to write about - I felt I lost my voice. I couldn't write a single thing. I felt like a Singer without a Song.
So I've been thinking about hitting the road again. To help bring my voice back.
But even though I previously wrote about how I don't want to travel alone, as always, the road calls me again. Since I last hit the backpacking circuit in 2018, travel vloggers and YouTubers exploded. I mean, I love Drew Binsky and WanderReds, but their missions to visit each country in the World before the age of 30, although awesome, seemed kinda... arbitrary to me.
I know it's not easy to do, but you can make an arbitrary bucket list of places you want to see to reach your goal, and race through it - but are you really enjoying seeing that country for what it is? Or is it just a goal - a means to an end? In short - why?
For example, I've been making lists of the places I want to see: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru... and I'm sure they all hold beautiful people I am yet to meet, places of extreme natural beauty that I never knew existed, new favourite foods that I'm yet to discover... but once i'm at the end of it, then what? What is it that I am searching for out there? And what do I think I'll find once I have done it all?
...Or am I just jaded and weary?
I know that after you reach your goal, then you're simply onto the next goal - and that is life - we simply move the goalposts along. But I don't know why, it got me thinking. Why do we really do certain things? Why do we do anything? For the 'story'? To be inspired? To have something to do? Or is there something deeper... something that only your heart knows, that you must find or create by any means necessary? Is there something else out there? Something that I know but don't know? Argh - I sound crazy, but it makes sense to me.
Considering some of my previous posts about not wanting to travel much again, especially solo, I wonder why it has come back around in my vortex. I can't help but reflect. I used to sing, I used to have this passion for telling stories, or at least for finding myself inside more interesting ones. I haven't been inside anything that has lit me up, inspired me, or motivated me for years. I've been in the deepest depression. I haven't felt like singing in a long time: and when I did songwrite, I would always end up writing the same sad songs. I don't know if travel is the answer, but it might help me write a better story, because at the moment I feel like a writer without a plot, or a singer without a song. And for anyone creative out there - to be unable to express what you're feeling is the worst pain.
I watched Eat, Prey, Love again for the upteenth time last night - and there's a scene in it where Julia Roberts (Liz!) is sat around the dinner table in Rome with her new friends, and they talk about what words represent them. Liz suggests 'Writer' - but her friends respond: "No, that's what you do, not who you are." Liz umms and ahhs, then someone adds: "Maybe you're a woman in search of your word."
And that's me, going out there again, searching for my word.