Wanderlust

Wanderlust

n. 1. a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Did Plato feel well-traveled? He sure seemed like it to me, with all his adventures and roaming about, crossing large bodies of water (which was a sure expedition at the time) and getting into all sorts of mischief. It made me think of wanderlust.

There’s constantly an antsy sensation within me to be somewhere far and somewhere new and sometimes it keeps me up much too late at night, taking away precious time to gently flutter my eyelids close and isolate myself from reality for a little while through a good night’s sleep. Sometimes it keeps me distracted while on long bus rides to class or to home as I stare out huge glass windows. During breezy mornings or sunny afternoons, I ask myself why I yearn to be somewhere other than this beautiful place I call home. I mean, yeah, this is where my comforting family and wonderful friends are; this is where my overly-cluttered bedroom is; this is where I have grown up for basically half my life.

If home is where the heart is, what happens if your heart is just all over the place? Then what? What is the value of a second home in comparison to a first? Are they ranked in terms of importance or sentimental value or are they both just as relevant? What happens when these homes add up and you find your mind and your soul scattered all over the place, far far away from where your body is? What happens when one home becomes two, then two homes become five, then five becomes ten?

Where was Plato’s “home”? Did he find himself constantly wondering about what else is out there for him to see? Was he like me too?

I have this theory about why I desire being in new places so much. I think it’s because I leave little pieces of me in little nooks and crannies within the ground, between significant (to me anyway) landmarks and roots that dig deep into the earth; I leave these little pieces within the crevices of people’s palms – the lines that run along our palms and fingers, making up our distinct prints. They’re so microscopic and hard to see but, maybe, every microscopic chunk, in retrospect, tugs at these little strings in my heart as I feel each piece getting chipped away.

I mean – it’s not like it’s a bad thing. I would never ever view having several homes to run to and love and feel comfortable in as something negative. But sometimes, it just feels funny or odd, like there’s this feeling of disconnect. Other times it’s so weak that I can push it away but other times it is so strong that I am jumping impatiently at the thought of being far far away.

I want to be in places with plenty of people to meet, where the sounds of crows and voices talking over each other act as soothing melodies to my ears. I want to hear waves crashing ashore, and birds chirping and the wind whistling through the trees. I want to be in places with plenty of sights to see; perhaps where city lights that should blind me really do everything but that, or perhaps where lush greens and blue skies run for vast distances, calming me down. I want to be surrounded by life and zeal and energy.

I wonder if Plato ever feels the same. Do you?

4 Comments

  1. njgarver 2 years ago

    Sometimes I feel like University is a means to an end. University will let me make money which will let me travel…. then I remember I take Philosophy, and a life of extravagance doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

    After my first year, like the cliched first year philosophy student, I had an existential crisis. What was I doing in Uni, why do I choose to live and not die? It hadn’t ever really occurred to me to go traveling, for my whole life I figured I would see the world, but it had never entered my mind that traveling was something you had to actively go out and do.

    I decided to take the year off school. Party, make money, and travel. The things I felt teens were supposed to do, I could pick up my deep contemplation after I had been to South America.

    So I left, all on my own, me against the world. I met all kinds of people, I talked about many things, but Philosophy wasn’t among them.

    For me traveling was about escaping the contemplation I was destined for, even for a year. Plato traveled to deepen his thought. Plato wasn’t trying to escape like many wanderers, he was trying to grow.

    With the emergence of nihilistic ideals it leads a person to wonder whether philosophy is really about growing anymore, or if it’s just about thinking. I’ve learned to take everything less seriously now, and take pleasure in small things, and I think traveling had a lot to do with that.

  2. Gillian Patterson 2 years ago

    This is an interesting thought. As a first year student from Toronto, I find myself longing to be home, however, last year, I couldn’t wait to move to Vancouver and begin my studies at UBC. That could just be that I have high standards for myself and am hard to please. I think it can relate to going on a trip to a new place, and after a certain amount of time you want more than anything else to be in your own bed at home. I think it is human nature to crave a comfortable and personal domain. I think this feeling overpowers any feelings of wanderlust (at least for me anyway). Or maybe its the idea of experiencing new places and new cultures that sounds so appealing. But once you are there, you realize how ideal your home is – your routine.

  3. mikebeanso 2 years ago

    Hey thanks for sharing! It seems like you enjoy travelling quite a bit. I quite enjoy travelling as well, and your article prompted me to think: “Why?”

    I agree that I find I leave a bit of myself as well when I go travelling, and I love feeling the energy from the new people I meet. But I think what really appeals to me the most about visiting new places is that it’s a journey. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. We gain new perspectives when visiting new places, similar to how visiting new ideas helps us understand things from different angles as philosophers. Taking a road less travelled is sometimes quite uncomfortable, but I’m sure you’d agree with me that it always comes to some learning that makes you grow to become a better person. I’ll definitely make it my goal to keep on travelling whenever I can. Hope you do to!! :)

  4. scarletnguyen 2 years ago

    Thank you for such a good read in a rainy day. This article made me think a lot. I can sometimes call myself a “wanderlust”, too. Not everyone who wanders, is lost. I like to travel, and I like the idea that we can explore the world to find where our hearts belong. I also often close my eyes and imagine that I’m lying somewhere in the field of an unknown place, or standing in the cave in a forest. It’s so good to find someone whose heart is also out there like me. Thank you so much for your sharing. Hope that you are having such a lovely day !

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