Travel And The Soul

David Price
Dec 2 · 3 min read

‘The loss of the female sensibility, that of one-half of humanity, has been tragic. Novelist Virginia Wolfe understood well that the subjugation of women was both cause and symptom of a fundamental imbalance in society and subsequent lack of wholeness in the modern world that could be changed only through the introduction of women’s own perception into the culture.’ ~ Elinor Gadon

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D.

“Freedom is not about the size of your cage, or the power of your wings, or the non attachment to a person or a thing. Freedom is about being so truly, deeply and madly attached to your own soul that you can’t bear — if only for a moment — a life that doesn’t honor it.” — Andrea Bolt

I’ve spent a life always on the move. Even growing up, my family moved every year or two until I was twelve, at which time they settled in one place but I was sent away to boarding school. I was fifty-two years old by the time I settled down for a quick twenty-five years in one place that happened to be in the east of France. That became both home and, in a sense, traveling because I’m not French.

What was I looking for? My soul? My real life?

Always moving has been a double edged sword in my life. It giveth and it taketh away, you could say. The struggle to find your true home teaches you a lot because you see so many different ways of being human, so many histories and languages and cultures that you can’t help but broaden your perspective. But you suffer a detachment from your more fundamental self as a result of staying on the surface of things, always being a tourist.

I prefer to say I have traveled rather than to say I “toured.” I resist being a tourist. I was not so much motivated by curiosity as a search for a deeper life, a way to be my most consequential self. I actually did find the soulful life I was looking for, by virtue of persistence and luck, strange to say. Somehow all the elements gathered themselves together and presented themselves in the form of right partner, right nature, right opportunities to create art, right lifestyle, right kind of beauty, right hardships and challenges, right foreign country and right time of my life.

I have been asked to write about the traveling lifestyle but I’ve always hesitated because I never traveled just to travel. I was always looking for an undefined “itness.” Never having had a concrete sense of home, I searched for it in foreign climes because I had the language bug. I felt trapped in English, strange to say. I wanted to somehow penetrate the fog of incomprehension foreign languages represented to me.

I still feel excluded when I hear a language I don’t know, but my solution is always to try to learn it, to sing that song and dance that dance myself. I feel the possibility, the potential of that in myself. More that seeing the sights, it’s the possibility of incorporating an unfamiliar linguistic code that attracts me.

For that you have to root yourself in a specific place with specific friends and learn their ways. So, travel is not really the word. It’s the opposite of touring or tourism. It’s more soulful, more personal than that.

Maybe you can suggest a better word.

The Expat Chronicles

A publication for expats, former expats, and soon to be expats and their adventures around the world.

David Price

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

The Expat Chronicles

A publication for expats, former expats, and soon to be expats and their adventures around the world.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade