Why Am I Still Wandering?

When you wander the continent for three months, you start to wonder some things. Why is the sky blue? Why do we insist on block intersections when roundabouts are so much cooler and more efficient? What’s the deal with Scotland? Aren’t they already a country?

Among myriad other questions, I’m pondering one in particular after 100-plus days on the road.

Why am I still wandering?

#RunningTo: Atwater Park, Milwaukee WI

Before I left Orange County, I told myself I’d stop #RunningTo when I found the “three P’s.” What are the three P’s, you’re wondering? Well, allow me to pontificate. It’s basically my threefold criteria for home.

PLACE: The First P for Home

I have to live somewhere beautiful; that sounds petty, but it’s basically true. I can’t live in Siberia. I can’t live in the Sahara. I can’t live in Nebraska.

I suppose I should qualify “beautiful.” Beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean California sunsets and rolling mountains and aquamarine waters. It can mean those things, sure, but a beautiful place goes beyond the outward.

A beautiful place gets me excited to wake up. A beautiful place beckons me to explore every nook and cranny, capturing photos and videos to show off and share.

A beautiful place inspires me to write. To put words to the chaotic beauty around me.

PEOPLE: The Second P for Home

Beyond mere geography, a second critical component for home is the people. Are there people like me? Are there people not like me?

I’m learning it’s important to have both kinds of people in life. To rally around people of similar faiths and outlooks, but also to discover new perspectives.

Look no further than the example of Jesus for someone always surrounded by an eclectic mix of people. He had his Twelve, but He also had the prostitutes and tax collectors and dudes inhabited by demons.

People charge us and challenge us. People can make any place beautiful.

PURPOSE: The Third P for Home

I suppose this final element of home is what so much of life boils down to. Rick Warren has sold millions of books on the topic, and it’s what we’re all searching for.

What have I been put on this earth to do?

Am I here to tutor, or am I here to teach? Am I here to work retail, or am I here to launch a nonprofit? Am I here to stay put or am I here to travel?

I’ve thought a lot about my purpose on this trip. About what I’d like to do with the rest of my life and how I can connect the dots and actually get there.

Certainly writing. Hopefully further youth involvement. Ideally both.

For the last 100+ days, I’ve told myself I would stop wandering when I find the three P’s. When I hit that magical place filled with wonderful people and an undeniable purpose that collectively scream in my face: Go ahead and just try to leave.

I’ve spent the last week in Milwaukee, intentionally feeling out this pivotal place of my past. A beautiful place. Filled with beautiful people. I’ve stared into the unending horizon of Lake Michigan and pondered my purpose. A potential life here, even.

It’s as close as I’ve been to stopping.

I don’t pretend to know when or where this road ends. I don’t know when this particular season of wandering closes and the next season of staying begins. I’m gradually running out of money, gradually worrying more, and gradually running out of continent before a massive ocean overtakes me.

I’m banking on God more than I ever have. Hoping that somewhere, some time, some place will make sense. A perfect place of people and purpose to stop and call home.

But for now, I wander onward. There’s something to be gained in the journey, I’m convinced. This journey. I’ve already learned a lot, but there’s still so much left to see.

So goodbye, Milwaukee. I might be back before long.

Hello, Chicago.

Hello, open road.

  • Rebecka

    I really hope you find your P’s! (Also, if you’re a fan of roundabouts, you should come to Sweden. They’re EVERYWHERE!)

  • Marshall R

    Tom, as you know, I have found my own place to call home, and as you so accurately said, ” People can make any place beautiful.” I wouldn’t want to trade my friends and the sense of purpose I found here for any beautiful location!

  • Cate

    This makes me think of Hebrews 11:8-10:
    “By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place
    that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By
    an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger
    camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise.
    Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal
    foundations—the City designed and built by God.”

  • MLYaksh

    Truly, purpose can provide the people and the beauty. But you did nail it on the head- you talk to anyone who feels at home someplace, and they’ll describe why they feel as such using those categories (though they may not use such great alliterations as you have done). I’m praying you find this place on your journey, though I have a feeling it might not happen till the very end.

    • Appreciate the prayers my friend! All about the PPP.

      Also: are you binge-reading all my #RunningTo posts even though you’ve been liking them on Facebook this whole time? CALLING YOU OUT.

      • MLYaksh

        You have no proof to support that accusation…

        But the answer is maybe…

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