The Wanderlust Itch Returns

“Travel is like adultery; one is always tempted to be unfaithful to one’s own country. To have imagination is inevitably to be dissatisfied with where you live…in our wanderlust, we are lovers looking for consummation.” – Anatole Broyard

“Where’s you ur next trip?” , a colleague asked the other day.

“I have none planned.” I am not sure when was the last time I responded in this manner. There are numerous reasons there are no current trips this year:necessity to update visas, passports, save money, my husband’s lack of leave, uncertainty of my work future, and an excess of traveling last year all combined to a reason why there are no trips.

I have been trying to become comfortable with spending more time at home this year. I am trying to engage in more hygge, partake in local activities, and simply staycation.

But as I am sitting on my couch on this rainy British day, the wanderlust itch began again. An idea popped up….new countries: Bulgaria and Norway. Why not both? Automatically, the desire ignited with lightning speed. I began researching online listening to Rick Steves travel interviews, looking potential excursions on viator, and flights online. Why not?

Although I have lived overseas for 4 1/2 years and travelled extensively, there are moments I may take this for granted. I have visited much of Europe over the years, and many times repeatedly. I believe I am at a dozen trips to Spain. But when the threat of my time ending here arises, so does my wanderlust.

As I reflect on the past 18 months of travels, it’s been a dream: carnivale in Venice, the northern lights in Iceland, Boulangeries in Paris, flamenco in Spain, Finnish spas, the Edinburgh tattoo, exploring Estonia and Latvia countries I never imagined if visiting, tasting desserts in Luxembourg, soaking in the Dead Sea, staying next to the wall in Palestine , finally soaking in the sun on the Amalfi coast, lingering in my a hamam in my heart’s hometown of Malaga, buying cozy furry clothes in Romania, getting fitted for sandals in Athens, and capturing the leaning tower of Pisa during sunset. The reality is there are so many more trips than was listed here.

I don’t even realize the multitude of trips I’ve taken until I have no trips on the current horizon. It’s the old adage, you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone. I peak back through my phone’s photos and am reminded. How grateful I am, and how lucky we are to live with access to the world.

When the wanderlust kicks in, it really serves as an addiction. It’s as if I need to fill this fix immediately. or at least book something even if I can’t travel until later. There’s this urgency for my heart and innate curiosity to be renewed, and most probably I will book these trips today.

Parallel to this wanderlust returning is this concept that exists in Buddhism, where you reflect on your own death five times per day. It is not to be fatalistic, but in reality to remind you that life and everything in it is impermanent. In focusing on this, we can truly appreciate what each day has to offer. I had been encouraged to download an app called “we croak “, where 5x per day you are reminded you will die, and then an inspirational quote appears.

When we are reminded of the impermanence of life, it causes us to take action. This could be the length of being at a certain job or city, or even the totality of our own lives.

How do we want to live?

What are we waiting for?

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