The Joy of Wanderlust

Wanderlust – that German word which has now become synonymous for the “joy of traveling” – is a real thing. It’s a desire so strong that it motivates you to do anything you can to get out of your day-to-day routine.

I have a simple test that can easily demonstrate whether you are afflicted with wanderlust. After arriving at a new destination, take a look at a person, place, or thing that, in your every day life, would seem mundane. When you look upon this object in this new and distant land, is it now imbued with a aura of charm about it? Does this object seem new and/or magical, simply because it is somewhere that you’ve never been before? If so, then you are likely to have wanderlust.

In my case, it was a hill in Ireland, lush with green fields, and dotted with sheep. Prior to this journey, I have seen hills dotted with sheep before, as there is plenty of farmland in Western Pennsylvania that could double as locations as Central Ireland if some location scout in Hollywood wanted to save some money. But the mere fact that I was someplace else, someplace new, had given this scene a romantic quality about it that made it seem exotic.

Deep within my cynical heart is an area that is a romantic. Wanderlust is an extension of that. Wanderlust isn’t a rejection of the commonplace. It’s isn’t a critique of the everyday. It’s a celebration of the new, of the undiscovered. It’s the understanding that somewhere, out there, is a scene that we have yet to see that will fill us with awe.

I’m of the belief that wanderlust is also an extension of our childhood, a feeling that harkens back to that time in our life when everything we experienced was new and exciting. This desire of travel is a call to that innocence. It is an optimistic hope that there are places in the world that will still surprise us, that will still teach us, even as we enter our mid-life and beyond.

Wanderlust is a joyous thing. I hope to never lose mine.