Wanderlust

Discover the world; discover yourself

The dictionary on my computer defines Wanderlust as “a strong desire to travel”. Some blogger’s I follow argue that merely travelling to relax does not necessarily mean that an individual suffers from wanderlust.

A gentleman by the name of Robert E. Park sought to distinguish between these two types of people. Sunlust is when a person seeks relaxation, whereas wanderlust is the desire to experience newness in their world. It’s the desire to immerse oneself in new and different cultures, meet new people and to step out of ones comfort zone. In leaving the familiar and the components in ones life that collectively make up an individual; the individual gains a perspective of the world and of him or herself.

A view of Mount Kilimanjaro from the plane to Lilongwe, Malawi

I see wanderlust as the thirst for adventure. I see it as the want to experience and appreciate different cultures, countries, sights, and the world as a whole, first-hand. It is the brave willingness to push ones comfort and personal boundaries. It is the love of experience and the strength to act on these desires. It is an individual bravely satisfying this thirst for adventure, desire for experience, and want for perspective. It is the discovery of self as much as it is the discovery of the world.

That being said, I think that an individual going on vacation to another country is a personal form of wanderlust. It’s the beginning of their desire to adventure by wanting to step on that plane, boat, or train and gain a new experience.

What I’ve come to learn is that everyone has their own definition of wanderlust and that everyone can satisfy their personal thirst for adventure in their own unique way(s).

Even if it’s exploring your hometown beyond what you normally see, explore your province or country, or your own continent. You’re pushing your boundaries and increasing the scope of your world. Travelling to different countries or continents, even one, broadens this scope as well. The size of adventure does not dictate the degree to which one lusts to wander.

I’ve also learned that for someone to truly suffer from wanderlust, they must be grounded to their home. A journey cannot begin without a starting point. This differs them from the nomads whose lust to wander is rooted in their lack of a physical home. They are wanderers at their very core.

Follow your arrow, wherever it points … ‘cause you just get so many trips ‘round the sun — Kacey Musgraves

Having a home, be it a physical home or a home in friends, family and loved ones, grounds you and allows you to have a basis from which to perceive, from which to gain perspective. Home allows one to become restless and to desire an adventure and to explore. This duality lies in knowing that in order to appreciate a new experience or a new world, one must have an appreciation for home and to returning home. Eventually!

Sunset in South Luangwa valley, Zambia

I think that wanderlust, no matter how you define it, is such a personal thing for any one person. Everyone has their own desires to satisfy; everyone has their own version of adventure and their own dreams of destinations to discover. When someone asks me why I consider myself “wanderlust”, I say it is because I am curious. I am curious of the world, curious to meet new people and experience different cultures. I lust to lay my eyes on breathtaking sights that will only last so long and that I will be hard-pressed to see again. I enjoy the nervous feeling when hopping on a plane alone — or with another — and learning to navigate a new place, a new system, a new people and a new culture. I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone and constantly pushing and challenging its borders. I want to gain a perspective of the world and be reminded of who I am, who I can be, of who and what I have, and to re-ignite my appreciation for these parts of me.

When discovering new parts of the world, I discover new parts of me. As I journey and explore and open my world, I grow and change.

We live in a great big world, and I want to leave as few stones unturned as possible before I embark on my last journey around the sun — whenever that may be. I lust to wander; one I don’t think I can ever satisfy. But you can bet I will try.

Life’s a journey, not a destination — Aerosmith
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