Running Away as a Long Journey

27 January, 2020
Every trip creates the illusion that you're running away from your routine. On some occasions, this may lead you to think that you can resolve all your discomfort by taking a long trip with no return date. However, this seldom happens.

Unfortunately, humans live in a complex world. One in which the idea that one shouldn’t tolerate discomfort is utterly inconceivable. Although this is a natural part of life, certain schools of thought insist that people must confront their realities. In any case, running away is a solution for people who seek change. In fact, they sometimes follow through in the form of a long journey.

It’s quite common to hear someone say they’re sick of everything and would like to run away. Some people actually follow through with it. Thus, they undertake a journey in which they leave it all behind. In other words, they mainly take this trip to escape from their reality.

People travel for various reasons. Some do it for their own personal growth, while others do it to escape. The first reason is rooted in a healthy desire to widen a person’s horizons and see the world. The latter usually arises from an idealization of one’s destiny due to disenchantment with one’s current life and perhaps even due to confusion.

“Not all who wander are lost.”

-J. R. R. Tolkien-

A backpacker on top of a mountain.

Running away – distance and travel

There’s a subtle yet profound difference between distancing oneself from a problem to be able to come back and see it from another perspective. But it’s another thing entirely to refuse to confront it by running away. The complicated part is that people don’t always realize whether they’re doing the first or the latter.

A trip is one of the occasions that lends itself to either change one’s perspective or run away. In one way or another, every trip disconnects a person from their usual routine and associated problems. The disconnection is much more radical when a person begins a long trip but doesn’t wish to return.

How healthy or neurotic that option is may depend on both their motivations and purposes. If the motivation is to break up with everything that creates discomfort, then that person is probably running away under the guise of a trip. If your purpose is to find that happy place where everything is going to be perfect, then you’re probably just running away.

Running away and traveling

People take journeys for personal growth, when they want novelty, or when they’re curious about the world and wish to discover it. It has nothing to do with their daily problems but with a strong desire to broaden their perspective. They wish to learn and live because they planned and enjoy planning. Their trip has nothing to do with a desire to run away from conflicts and it’s merely for personal growth.

On the contrary, people plan running away trips out of exhaustion. Mainly from the desire not to deal with their problems anymore and to put aside everything they dislike. They’re not trying to “write a new page”. Instead, they’re trying to “delete” previous ones.

Trip planning is relatively superfluous and has a lot more to do with momentum than reason. The precedents are usually dense silences, screams, and slamming doors.

The real difficulty here is that a person can run away from almost everything but themselves. It’s common that the problems they want to leave behind reproduce in their new destination. Yes, the scenario changes but the essence of what happens to them remains the same. In fact, everything will most likely get worse.

A woman thinking by the river.

The inward trip

There are times when human beings resist introspection because they don’t want to give up certain fantasies. Also, because they’re afraid of digging into those open wounds they think will never heal. Of course, they don’t escape out of cowardice or because they’re weak. They do it because they see it as an effective solution. However, it isn’t.

Novelty is wonderful whenever you travel because you get the illusion of having a different life. However, things change with the passing of days, weeks, and months. No place on this earth is free of sadness, disappointment, selfishness, envy, anger, and everything else you don’t see at first glance.

Finally, when novelty ends, discomfort quickly resurfaces. It may manifest itself in other ways, but it’s there. Thus, you may think you’re following the wrong destiny, that your hidden treasure is in another place, country, or continent. Thus, you may embark on another running away trip.

Vicente, A. F. (Ed.). (2010). Nomadismos contemporáneos: formas tecnoculturales de la globalización (Vol. 16). EDITUM.