Wanderlust: A Double-Edged Sword


Wanderlust is defined as, “a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.” Simple as that, right? Well, for anyone who’s felt it knows it’s so much more than that. Before I knew wanderlust was even a word, I described myself as having “location ADD” when asked. And although wanderlust sounds so much more enchanting now, I always go back to embracing my juvenility and use the translation comparing it to a child lost inside its own head. It always just felt more fitting, at least to me.

Wanderlust is an inner fire. It’s the simultaneous urge for home to be everywhere and nowhere. It’s head and heart.

Traveling isn’t just photos of airplane wingtips above the clouds, exotic beach sunsets, or glasses of champagne in Europe – but that’s what it’s constantly portrayed as. And ultimately sparking postcard envy. While there are certainly moments of magic, there are also moments of misfortune. Every untraveled road is lined with both roses and thorns.

Friends Are Everywhere and Nowhere

The more you travel, the more people you meet. You start to make friends all over the world and describe them like characters in books. These are the friends you meet for a beer or to explore a new part of town. But the more of these friends you make, the more you realize you have less friends you’d call when you just got dumped or when you’re homesick. It’s one of the ugly truths about living nomadically, but an important one nonetheless.

Experiences vs. Possessions

Most of the time, those that travel are those that value experiences over things. And if you aren’t that way when you start travelling, you will be eventually, or you’ll stop. As you continue to travel to new places and pack up and move, pack up and move, and pack up and move again, the things you own become fewer and fewer. To most travelers, experiences outweigh any possession they could buy, but that doesn’t change the fact that living limited is challenging.

Sentimental Sacrifices

There’s no feeling like checking something off your bucket list and adding new things as you learn and grow. But as bucket list destinations become the everyday, or fade into memories, you realize just how important the other moments you’re missing are. Holidays with family, major milestones like weddings and births, and even sad and unexpected moments like heartbreak and death. These are all moments you don’t always think about when planning for a big adventure, and there’s a certain emptiness that can only be filled by the pin on the map where your heart lies.

Always Looking Ahead

A true trait of a traveler is always looking ahead to the next adventure. Planning for upcoming travels and never before seen destinations have a way of taking hold of you until the moment actually arrives. Looking and planning ahead is a fantastic trait in hindsight – it means you have goals. But it also means that you aren’t necessarily focusing on the present moment, or completely enjoying where you are right now.

These Are The Best Days

Living nomadically provides you with the unparalleled possibility of falling in love with places you never thought possible. It’s frightening and exhilarating. It’s those times when you’re scared, without a plan, and staring into the unknown that often wind up being the most memorable. But the constant wonder of new and enthralling places can lead to dissatisfaction and boredom with the ordinary. There’s always the fear that one day, life just won’t be nearly as exciting.

Sure, to travel the world is exotic and alluring, glamorous for some. But that place you have marked with a thumbtack on the map in your bedroom can be equally as lonesome as it is bewitching.

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