I believe in the depth of self. I believe that sometimes it takes getting away to find what was already there.
I packed my suitcase on a Friday night in the city of Mandeville. Forty-eight hours later I was strolling through the park outside of the palace of Princess Diana.
This summer I took the trip of a lifetime. I journeyed from the heart of the deep south to the British Isles. For four weeks I wandered the streets of a place far from home. I saw London, Paris and the Scottish highlands. It took a plane ride to a land I had never seen for me to truly see myself.
I boarded Continental Airlines with 22 others from LSU. We lived in London for two weeks. We took a train into Scotland. We flew to Paris, my new home away from home.
In those four weeks I meet myself. For my entire life I had resided in the great state of Louisiana. I was well taken care of. I have always had the things I needed, often my wants too. The European realm, though, was where my greatest need would eventually be meet.
I had to go thousands of miles to find my passion. My passion is for independence. I have always been the rebel in my family. I always claimed to be independent from everyone and everything. In Europe, though, I learned what independence can really be.
I wandered the tubes of London alone. I discovered the museums of Paris by myself. I crept through the mountains of Scotland solo.
Don’t be fooled. I was surrounded by people, most of the time. Whether they were my schoolmates or utter strangers, they were around. The independence I found was inside. I leaned on no shoulders for my aid. I found no hands to pick me up when I fell. Most importantly, I had no heart to share my heart with.
You see, for years I have been independent of family. I have bounced amongst friends. I have been tied down to nothing. I have never felt alone, though, because it was by choice that I was so unattached. Europe left me no choice.
I saw into myself the way I had never seen before. All those hours I have spent in books, in coffee shops, or on park benches were fruitless as compared to the 31 days I spent exploring. I found within me a passion for history. I also found a passion for beauty beyond my wildest imagination. I saw into my future more than I have ever been able to see in even my present.
The British Isles are where I found my heart. I found what makes me tick. I discovered what it means to be me. Now I know that being me is reliant upon no circumstance, person or location.
This summer I went to the British Isles. While I was there I took the trip of a lifetime…a journey into the depths of me.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.