I’ve been a bit depressed the last month. It’s probably partially to do with the fact that I have summertime seasonal affective disorder (that never affected me until I moved to hot locations like LA and NYC), and it’s also probably a bit influenced by the fact my new apartment has left me dealing with bed bugs and an unresponsive landlord. I think part of it even might be that I miss my family, familiarity of life and the temperate weather of the Pacific Northwest that I grew up in. But a huge part of what is making me down right now is the fact that I am just itching so much to go out and travel more.
I might come off as sounding privileged in this post, but seriously, I can’t wrap my mind around how some people literally hate traveling. I’ve come across people who just really have no desire to ever leave their hometown or don’t feel the need to even go on a vacation further than just the closest beach. I know travel is seen as a luxury these days, but there’s no reason it needs to be and it truly baffles me when someone doesn’t have that lust for seeing the world like I do.
Before commercial flights became more available to the middle-class and tourism became the industry it is today, I guess I can understand a lack in interest to go outside of your comfort zone. It was expensive and difficult to go new places. Society taught that you went to college (probably somewhere near home), got married, had kids, bought a house and stayed put until you die. Or in a lot of cases, for many people of color, traveling was impossible for most of their existence while in America. From slavery to poverty to segregation and racism in many parts of the world, it didn’t become possible for many PoC to go anywhere until the last 20 years or so.
And because of all this, I feel that there’s no excuse now not to travel. As a black woman, this wouldn’t have been possible for me to do if I hadn’t been born into the generation that I was, so I consider myself privileged and lucky that I wasn’t born 200 years earlier and have access to the ability to go most places without an issue. Obviously it’s still not 100% safe for women to travel, especially alone, but I figure that a dangerous situation could happen while I’m walking home at night here in New York, so I’m not going to let the fear of that stop me from going abroad.
My soul was made to travel. My essence gets turned on by the sight of new things, people and places. My body gets antsy when I haven’t gone anywhere new for awhile. My eyes open wider when I am surrounded by unfamiliarity. My senses get heightened and become a new person for a day. When I settle into routine, I gain a weight upon me of discomfort and it ails me until I go somewhere else. My thoughts are constantly filled with far off lands and what plane ticket I’m going to buy next. In a way, I guess this makes my life more complicated than the average person, but I don’t mind.
I’ve never understood traditional lifestyles. I get that the world survives on a basic family structure and the way things work with the average life path makes sense for a lot of people, but for us folk with wanderlust on the mind and breaking the mold, we often get chided for our choices. We’re told we’re crazy, that we’ll grow out of it and we need to just settle down. We won’t though. You can’t shut down that part of us. We go to the beat of a different drum and it’s not even a ridiculous beat to follow. We’re not harming anyone by wanting to travel, we’re not ruining anyone’s life by not buying a house and not having kids. We just see the possibilities of a world much bigger than ourselves and want to experience it.
I don’t get why people without wanderlust think that it would ever be easy for us to just fall into a routine of a job and save up money our whole life so we can travel once we retire at 70. There is no guarantee that you get 70 years on Earth, and there’s no surety that by the time you retire you’ll even be healthy enough to travel. I want to go now while I’m young and have energy. I don’t want to spend my whole life putting away money for a trip I’ll take in 50 years. That sounds absolutely ridiculous to me.
Basically what I’m saying is that while I fully get that traveling is not a passion for everyone, the thing that irks me the most about people without wanderlust is their need to judge us with it. This isn’t just individuals, but society in general. The judgment placed on people who chose to live untraditionally is constantly thrown in our faces by the media, older people, and even strangers who endow you with the assumption you have kids or are going to stay at the same job for the rest of your life.
All I know is that the thing that makes me the happiest in the world is spending time in new places and gaining a knowledge of other parts of the world and meeting people and learning about their cultures and capturing the world through my lens. We think the world is a scary place because that’s all the media wants to show us, but going to these places and seeing it for yourself is the best way to push away ignorance and see all the good there is in diversity and different lifestyles. This is why I have wanderlust, and this is why my goal is to see as much of the world as I can before I die.