Monday, February 28, 2011


I am afflicted and/or blessed with chronic wanderlust. Some people have a mild case, and others have never experienced it at all. And yes, I enable myself. The more I go, the more I want to go.

For me, it's genetic. I blame my parents, specifically my mother, and her mother before her. My grandmother graduated from college as a very young woman, and rather than take a traditional teaching job in Oklahoma, she went to New Mexico to teach the Indians. Alone. And loved it.
My mother graduated from college as a young woman, and rather than take a traditional teaching job in Fort Worth, she and my father went to the Territory of Hawaii where she occasionally taught barefoot and learned to hula dance. And loved it.
I graduated from college as a young woman, and I went into business, being a landMAN in Lafayette, Louisiana, which was another world to me. Alone. And loved it.

Once I married and had children, in our poor years, we went camping. And loved it.
My parents began a yearly family trip, taking my and my brother's families on vacation. We started small, renting a rollover church van and driving to Oklahoma. Then branched out farther and farther, until we were cruising around the world. And loved it.
I've infected my own daughters with wanderlust. I also now experience solitary episodes, which are incredibly enjoyable.

What is it that drives me to leave the home I love? To venture out into unknown worlds, lands, foods, people, cultures? Partly it's curiosity, which supposedly killed the cat, but most likely won't kill me. Even so, it's an adrenaline rush to make sure I do survive. One of my mottos is "as long as I don't die, it'll be a great story later." Partly it's humility, to see how others not only live, but live happily and contentedly. To see how other countries (and even states) make choices different than what I am accustomed to living with, and do well. To see that our way is not the only way. Partly it's energizing, to be "on" 24/7, knowing each second cannot be completely expected nor will ever be repeated. To appreciate life so intensely, when I am used to taking time and life for granted. Partly it's inspiring, to see places where history actually happened; to learn to believe in the past. Partly it's encouraging, to meet people so vastly different from me, that I immediately connect with and know I could forge friendships with, given more time. Partly it's the unpredictability, to taste new things and either love exotic flavors, or attempt to swallow fast (so as to not spit it out at my host) with some semblance of a smile.

Wanderlust is immediately understood by others similarly infected. They get it, this strong, innate desire to travel about, with or without a destination. Others think it's a waste of time and money. A foolhardy slap in the face of Texas, or America. Like many things, it depends on the beholder. It is almost a necessity to me; it would be rash and stupid for them. Thank God for individuality!

Sunday we sang the hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing and reached the words "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it!"  I immediately felt my heart soar, as those words express exactly my heart. And then, I felt convicted, as it continued "Prone to leave the God I love." Oh, how sad that those words also express my heart too often. But finally, "Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above." Amen.

Leaving home is only worth it because I get to return to the place I love most. The people I love most. Home. I pray that my wanderlust does not permeate my spiritual life as it does my physical life. There is truly no place like Home.

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