Children on the spectrum are known to wander. Actually, this trait is probably the biggest reason of concern for parents of autistic kids. Some people on the more severe end of the spectrum never outgrow this trait which can put them in harms way, and some of us on the milder end grow up to fulfill this need through socially acceptable means such as travel, lucid dreaming, soul-searching, and/ or substances. The medical community talks about what autistic kids do but fail to answer why. Why do autistic children wander? But let me turn the question around and ask "why not?". Why is it considered normal to follow a world that has it all wrong (well, about many things anyway) and that doesn't understand you?
"I am homesick for a place I am not sure even exists - One where my heart is full, my body lived, and my soul understood."
I've always yearned to escape. I don't know where this feeling stems from, but it's there and it's strong. For most of my life, I kept this desire at bay. I remember in per-kindergarten, I was looking through the schoolyard fence. I put my hands around the metal wires and peaked through the holes with this deep urge to make a run for it. I knew I wasn't supposed to, but I felt like it wasn't inherently wrong to do so. I felt trapped by this cage that surrounded me. I think this fence is a metaphor for everything in my life that has ever attempted to tame me. I'm certain that if there were no teachers in sight, I would have jumped the fence. It's as though I've been wandering the earth aimlessly looking for a place to call home because I've always felt lost in familiar places.
"My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi
Being the sensitive child that I was, I couldn't stand being yelled at as it upset me greatly; angry facial expressions and tones of voice hurt, even to this today. My poor father suffered from this the most. He has always looked young for his age but I'm sure if it weren't for me, he'd look much younger. A reprimand made me dart in the opposite direction, regardless of whether there were cars in sight. I had no sense of danger. I fear no-one but God, and that very fact scares me. I live in a constant state of anxiety because I feel like a walking, breathing wound that can't scab. I feel destined to wander the world with a heart ripped open and vulnerable for the rest of my human existence.
I caught the travel bug at 19, and this lasted for several years. I was never interested in taking pictures of famous monuments or foreign places because I see our physical world as overrated and ephemeral; a lot of it has been photographed, talked about, and experienced already. I became frustrated because I was a globe trotter who couldn't be satisfied with my travel experiences. People were different everywhere, and yet the same. I felt different no matter where I was.
Tomorrow is my birthday (in my time zone) and I will turn 26 years old at 4am. It's taken me all these years to realize that home isn't a place, but a feeling. Home is love. Home is my heart and in other people; it was here all along. Some who wander are lost because they wonder if home exists here at all.