Do you suffer from Wanderlust?

Do you ever just want to get up and travel? Leave everything behind for a moment in time and just explore? Just get away from where you are and see new things, experience new places, meet new people, and discover wonderful new places? We don’t always remember a good meal or a night out with friends, but we always remember the trips we take and the experiences we had on them, the friends we made, or loves kindled. For some, the desire for travel and exploration offers a temporary escape from their current situation or mundane life. For others, it brings to reality their dreams and things they imagined about other places as they set out to explore them. It brings to life images we’ve seen on TV and places we’ve read about in books. It’s exciting and mysterious. Wanderlust is very real to each of us and we all suffer from it. The question is why?

Is it curiosity? Is it to temporarily escape home? Is it to take a break and for a brief moment be without a care in the world? Is it to see if the grass really is greener somewhere else? Is it to potentially find love? Is it our romantic notions of foreign lands that drive our hearts and imagination to seek them? Or is it our God-given curiosity to see the world around us? Each of us has a personal reason for wanderlust, but regardless of it, to travel is exciting and it fills the curiosity of our minds and at times the emptiness in our hearts, which is constantly searching for something more.

For me, my wanderlust is due to a bit of everything listed above (except love, already found that). But I think the nice thing about traveling is that there is never any commitment. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like a place because your stay is only for a short while before it’s time to go back home. And if you like it and it feels like home, you can always find a way to stay. That’s the beauty of traveling, there’s no commitment as you explore a new location and create new memories, but if you’re lucky, you might find a place that brings joy and peace to your heart. You might find love. You might find new friends. You might discover new things about yourself.  You might find your new home.

Some people like to travel alone, others with a companion. I much prefer the latter. Being able to share an experience with someone you care about can really make all the difference in how much you enjoy a trip or remember a place. I once spent time for work in another country and didn’t enjoy it very much until my wife joined me for a couple weeks. For those two weeks, everything seemed brighter and I was able to appreciate the city and culture much more.  A special bond is created when sharing experiences and memories with someone. The memories created are something to fall back on in good times and bad and it gives you something to look forward to in the future.  Still, whether alone or with a partner, I don’t think I’d ever stop traveling or at least have the desire to. Wanderlust gives you something to look forward to even if it’s just a dream. It’s a goal to run towards. It’s an item to check off your list. It’s an achievement special to yourself and a feeling only you can really understand since it’s so personal. Two people can go on the same trip, but they’ll remember and experience it differently because each has personal need for the trip and a personal reason for the wanderlust.

Sometimes I’m scared to travel to a new place I’ve always wanted to see because it might not be what I envisioned or romanticized in my mind. Paris is never as beautiful as the movies make it out to be. You always want that fairy tale to stay alive, rather than be ruined by reality or a bad experience.  However, the reward is worth the risk with the right expectations. But if you’re with the right person or the trip meets the need you had in your heart, even a desert can feel like an oasis. 

Wanderlust. Even when our feet are firmly planted where we are, our mind wanders elsewhere driven by the desires our heart, lusting for adventure, new experiences, and exotic places different than our own. The reasons for wanderlust is various and different for each of us, but I think it’s something most people share whether openly or secretly within themselves. God made us curious by nature and that curiosity compels us to to wander about and see the world He made for us. Moving water is full of life, but once the water stops flowing, it becomes stagnant. When we move, we grow. When we stop, we plateau. How sad it is when a person’s child-like wonder and curiosity for adventure escapes them! When the desire to explore leaves a person, ultimately, what’s left?

We may not always have the ability or means to travel abroad or even locally, but that should never stop us from dreaming and wondering what it’s like out there. A thousand mile journey beings with one step and that one step begins with a thought and that thought from a desire from the heart.

Don’t let your mind stop wandering even if your feet or circumstance are unable to take you anywhere. Wanderlust. Do you suffer from it?