You know when this moment comes. You recognize it instantly no matter where you. You fiddle and want to run. The images of past adventures keep flashing in your head and the heart starts to fill up with anticipation. You think it is wanderlust, but it is not.
What if I told you that wanderlust does not exist? It is not wanderlust, it is and inspiration. Yes, you don’t actually want to leave the country. You caught the wave of inspiration and if you ride it to the end it will be a beautiful journey.
Wanderlust is fleeting. Don’t spread it thinly over a map of places. Inhale, let it fill up your lungs, let it warm your blood and paint your thoughts with colors. Channel the energy into creative things. Because the world is magical, no matter where you are.
Find your passion
What do you do for a living? Does your job make you jump out of bed every morning with more energy than you had the day before? These questions sound like annotations to entrepreneur book, but finding answers to them is the first step on the quest to happiness.
Ok, let’s say you know you are unhappy. What’s next? Finding your passion is not an easy task. It might take you more than 5 years to reach the point of clarity. But we all have a record of things we tried in the past, and we either liked or hated them. Make a list. Your passion might be lurking in the middle of those tolerable hobbies, interests, jobs and experiences.
I personally did not make a list. But I had a memory in my head of the time when I wrote a story about an alien. I was 11 years old. My imaginable alien landed on Earth, and in search for a shelter sneaked into the little boy’s room. The end of a story was pretty soapy – they became friends, even though the alien had to leave and each night the boy would stare into the window hoping someone out there hears his “Good night”.
Homework was always a torture for me, but no one forced me to write that story. Passion is effortless. You don’t have to push yourself. It is natural, like walking or breathing. It is easy, it does not feel like work, and it is the only right thing to do in life.
Appreciate what you have and live in the present
What does this other place have that your home doesn’t? Probably a lot of things. Good food, friendly locals, beautiful architecture, the sunny weather, better career opportunities, stunning nature, the ocean, the beach, the smiles.
The thing is that it is all an illusion. You can see good things with crystal clarity and the bad things remain in the shadow. They would not be there for long. The negative always comes out. Our perception of places is fluid, our moods change from being excited and inspired by the novelty to being frustrated and bored by the lack of stimuli.
Look into the window for a moment, notice how the snowflakes fall down gracefully onto the ground, how trees are swaying to the sound of the wind and how the gray colors of the sky are fading the line on the horizon border. Make an effort to see and appreciate the beauty, even if the world is wearing darker colors.
Focus on the positive instead of negative, remind yourself of the good things and try to fall in love with them again.
Learn a new language
The most hands-on advice someone gave me about healing wanderlust was to learn a new language. By doing so you dispel the myths of travel. You become engrossed in a different culture to such an extent that you start seeing how ridiculously ordinary it is.
Of course, you need years of learning and also some foreign living experience before this revelation dawns on you. But on your way to this eye-opening knowledge, you are also bettering yourself and, at least, have an exact reason to travel.
While wanderlust is an ambiguous feeling of longing for something unknown, the desire to explore a certain culture, conspired by learning the new language, comes from a place of purpose. When you have a purpose, travel produces a sense of fulfillment instead of an eerie emptiness.
You can’t always have what you want, and even if you could, it would never be enough. It’s only natural to want to escape but even if you did, you would always feel trapped. You can traverse the entire globe in search for yourself, but even if you were on the round the world trip right now, you would still be contemplating what to do next. The circle is unending. Don’t travel because you can’t find happiness, travel because it makes you happier when you return home. Also, make sure to read the first part of “How To Cure Wanderlust” series here.