Wanderlust

Not long ago, I realized something pretty important about myself. If home is where the heart is, then my home is on the road. I’ve felt that way as long as I can remember, but I’ve never been able to categorize it so succintly. I just knew that I was always ready to go. In fact, my ex used to tease me by saying that the perfect gift for me would have been an airline ticket. It didn’t matter where, as long as I got to go.

Even though I always find myself in the throes of planning my next trip, I didn’t think much about my wanderlust itself. During a recent conversation with a colleague, however, I had an epiphany. Many, maybe even most, people feel as if their real selves are the ones who sleep in their own beds and run errands and go to work and make dinner. For them, returning from a trip means getting back to “real” life. Traveling often means leaving their “real” selves at home while they explore, so it makes sense that eventually they’re ready to get back to being real.

Here’s the epiphany: I’m not that girl. The real me comes alive when I’m on the road. When I come home again, I feel as if I have to pack her away. She gets antsy going about her daily routine, biding her time until she embarks on her next journey. Coming home from a trip, with rare exception, feels more like the end of the line or a resumption of duty than returning to myself.

Now that I understand this about myself, I can work with it. It no longer has to be an unseen drag on my line as I cast about; I can work with it, shape it, accommodate it. More importantly, the better I know myself, the better I can relate to others. Understanding our differences is just as important as understanding our similarities.

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2 thoughts on “Wanderlust

  1. Wish I had your problem…
    Deal with it when you have VERY LITTLE CHANCE to dash off when the bank account and home demands (that are NOT IN YOUR CONTROL) say “Stay put.”

    • Believe it or not, I understand that, too. For years I fought even being where I am, until one day the adage “Bloom where you’re planted” finally took root with me. Now I spend almost as much time looking for ways to garner the same on-the-road feelings at home so I can make it a more enjoyable place. Local adventures, mud runs (for my inner thrill seeker), feeding other passions (writing, marketing volunteer work), ferreting out culinary treasure troves help bring those same feelings home with me. That’s why I think it is so important to really understand onself. If I can’t identify what makes me tick and work with it, I’m destined to be frustrated.

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