It’s not as sweet as it sounds.
“Going traveling?” the bookstore clerk asked as he rang up my Lonely Planet Book on Thailand.
“As a matter of fact, I am. Heading to Thailand in a couple months,” I answered. “Ever been there?”
“No, travel is not for me. I’ve never been out of the country. I’m living what I like to call the donut life,” he said without apology.
I raised my eyebrows in question, “The donut life?”
“Yeah, you know, you’ve got your donut,” he made a large circle with his fingertips and thumbs touching, “and then in the center, you have a hole.” He made a smaller circle with just one hand. “I start at home in the morning, go to work, and then right back home,” he said as he traced a circle with his other hand.
I was stunned silent. I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry. Questions flew through my mind… What about seeing friends? Road trips? Adventures? Losing yourself in your own country? Seeing the wonders of the world?
This conversation looped in my mind throughout the day and made me consider my life. I’ve done a fair amount of travel, even spending seven months traveling around the world with my husband and two teenage sons. I’ve been lucky enough to visit most of the states in the U.S. and 18 countries. I can’t imagine a life without adventure, spending each and every day doing the exact same thing, seeing the same people, passing the same places, seasons being the only change.
The conversation with the bookstore clerk also made me realize that my way is not the only way. There are people in this world who are content to just be. Maybe he had a traumatic or chaotic childhood. Maybe he had some negative association with adventure. Maybe he just really loved his life. Maybe the Donut Life for this man was enough.
I knew I could never sequester myself to the five square miles of round trip journey from home to work and back, day after day, for the rest of my life. I might as well be dead. Without the ability to satisfy my insatiable curiosity, a trait that I believe defines me, I would wither. The Donut Life goes against my very nature.
I was born on the Day of the Wanderer. The Secret Language of Birthdaysdescribes those born on this day as wanderers by nature who therefore either love to travel or are somehow driven to do so. This theme of wandering or travel in their lives usually takes a real form, but can also be a metaphor for mental and emotional adventures as well. Indeed the literal and figurative are not mutually exclusive here. Reading, thinking, dreaming, traveling — both physically and psychically wandering — these are the kinds of activities which interest those born on this day.
TV and the Internet have brought the world into our homes and that might be enough for some. Had I not wandered around the world I might never have tasted tarantula, been touched by the shadow of a stupa, or glanced upon the door of no return. These are experiences no programming can match.
Maybe when I can no longer walk, I’ll be content to live the Donut Life, but until then I will wander!