Escaping The Urge to Escape - La Cavale
17 August 2016
It's always been in me; I always remember having that feeling. When things get rough, or static, I want to flee.
Run. Soar. Leave.
Itchy feet lead to an itchy mind, with thoughts running through it like sharp, fiery vines.
I think moving around a lot when I was younger has instilled in me a sense of frantic adventure, like if things are calm then things aren't right. Like if things are settled, they need to change. I call it 'La Cavale', which is the French word for escape.
I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. A friend of mine and I joke often about our daydreams that revolve around running off to Rome when life is getting us down, with a book and enough money for a glass of Pinot at the other end. It's hard not to romanticise a life abroad when life is a bit dull, or you're beginning to feel your routine simmering away to reveal a sense that maybe something's been lacking.
Sometimes it's not even a physical escape we fall into when we're overcome by this feeling, this longing for The Grand Departure. Sometimes it's spending all of our money on booze on the weekend, then spending every Sunday shaking with hangover and guilt because of it. Sometimes it's acting with abandon, and stumbling into a mild form of self-destruction.
'La Cavale' is the curse of the twentysomething, with high ambitions but low opportunities. The nomadic soul that wants to see the world, with the suited body tied to the deskchair and keyboard. Wide globe-like eyes, a mix of green and blue, spending eight hours a day looking at a screen. But it's also the curse of the problem-procrastinator. Nope, not today we say, putting our issues off until tomorrow. It's sometimes easier to leap off into the unknown than it is to align our lives better at home.
I'm not saying here that travelling can't be a catharsis. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be spontanteous, throw our fears to the wind, and jump. I'm not saying we shouldn't be independent on our search for who we are. All I'm saying is, from personal experience, sometimes our desires to separate from our current environments originate from worrying sources we need to recognise and heal. Sometimes it's not just a casual case of wanderlust. But sometimes it is, and sometimes for those 'lusters, when it's time to come home and get back into society, it can be bloody hard when all you want to do is wander off again.
It can really bring us down when all we want to do is fly up.
Here, then, are some ways we can escape the urge to escape:
- Embrace the calm Life has a tendency to be unstable, which is why we should relish it when things are going well. If you find yourself waiting for a wave to rock your placid lake, remember the damage a storm can bring, and be thankful for the serenity of stillness -- this may involve finding peace in the mundane.
- Book little trips away Even if it's a staycation (I had one in Centre Parcs recently, which was exactly what I needed), getting away from things even for a weekend can do you the world of good. Sometimes all you need is a spritz of something exciting to get your creative juices flowing once again. Doing the same thing day in and day out can dampen anyone's free spirit, so dot things in your diary that you can look forward to, that you can plan, and that will make you feel good.
- Assess your life What's causing you to feel this urge to run away? Is it a job you don't like? Is it a city that you're tired of? It's good to always question why it is we're feeling the way we're feeling -- scared, sad, or happy. When something's wrong change can be good, and change can be necessary. Instead of whiling hours moaning about it, change it. Fix it. Stay in the moment, and craft it to fit you better. This could be getting yourself a new job, mending a relationship, or planning future travels. Equally, if things are good we need to recognise why, and what we're grateful for. I need to heed my own advice a lot with this!
- Find a creative outlet Whether it's writing, reading, exercising, or (if you're lucky) in your own work -- finding a hobby that can take you places both physically and mentally can only be beneficial. We all need a form of self-expression. Creating can take us all kinds of places.
- Look after your body & mind Problems and anxieties have a tendency to snowball when we're tired, or emotionally drained. Looking after ourselves, and having clear heads, can help us decipher the decisions we should be making. Listening to our bodies can give us an insight into our minds, and give us more control over our lives.
- Make plans for a big Cavale! This is a way to escape the urge to escape for the time being, to sit down and actually plan your travels. If you want to see the world, go see the world! Book a flight, save up money. Make sure it's for the right reasons and you've got the right resources to do so. And in the interrim, be present and enjoy the life you're living instead of residing within that beach resort in your head.