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  • Maria Smith

Drifter & Sojourn: A Title Post

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

A few years ago, during perhaps the most challenging time of my life, my grandma called me a “drifter.” The remark was intended as an insult as I was nearing thirty, unmarried, no kids, and juggling part-time jobs. To her, I was wasting my life away when I could be having babies and making a home. I knew what she was getting at—it seemed like I was bumbling along without a plan while my peak years wasted away. I also knew that she wasn’t the only family member who viewed me this way. She was just the only one blunt enough to admit it. But in truth, I had a plan. I wanted to travel the world, meet people different from me, and I wanted to write—something that I refused to give up despite the low financial return. And I was doing it. While the comment hurt me at first, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the new label; it gave shape to a mindset that I hadn’t previously known how to define.

A drifter, by definition is someone who continuously moves from place to place. A drifter is who I am. I’m a writer, an experience-chaser, and looking back over the past thirty years, I’ve moved a lot, although not always in the literal sense. I have adventured out, flown all around the world, back-packed, and road-tripped to places that have refreshed my sense of wonder. Being a drifter makes sense as a curious creative and has given me an arsenal of stories to tell. Yet, adventure can be found at home, too, because adventure is often about perception, as childhood teaches us. The sunset is more magnificent when you take the time to stop and admire it. Walking in the woods is a journey, whether by your house or thousands of miles away.

If drifter is the subject, then sojourn is the action. Sojourn means to stay, albeit temporarily. Whether we like to admit it or not, life is almost always temporary. Our failures and our successes ebb and flow. Grief and happiness are cyclical. Everything, good or bad, changes. As the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus once said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” So, you can, after all, see the same landscape every day and be in awe every time. You can have adventures and roots. But to appreciate what’s before you, you must stay, even if for a minute.

So, here’s to all the drifters of the world: drift purposefully, have your adventures, and tell your stories, for the world would be a boring place without you.

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