What is Wanderlust?

“Wanderlust is an insatiable desire to see the world” – this is the most popular definition I came across on the internet. Some people resent their cubicle 9-5 jobs and dream of a magical escape, they picture a life of a traveler full of excitement, vigor, and passion. Some are making this lifestyle a reality. They traverse the globe, explore cultural sights and enjoy scenic views from airplane illuminators. Yet, none of them claims to have found the remedy for wanderlust. Whether they are stuck in the rat race or currently touring exotic destination, they all keep searching in vain. For wanderlust is not easy to cure. Wanderlust is a slight contamination that our mind bestows upon itself, it is a vicious loop of unfulfilled desires, aggravated through social media. It is an endless chase, created by our inability or unwillingness to delve deeper. We jump from one plane to another, compile long bucket lists based on our Instagram feeds, try to see main European cities in 3 days and stay in hostels because we want to party with other backpackers. These are all consequences of our fear. What are we afraid of? We are afraid to go deeper because we think that in the process we might lose the sight of countless opportunities the world has to offer. Thus we barely scratch the surface and, lost and confused in the sea of choices, we end up missing all opportunities altogether. And the more places we travel to, the more severe this contamination gets.

Why is travel meaningless?

We are obsessed with travel, motion, constant change, but all those words, in essence, mean movement. They are derived from a verb and can be defined as an unstoppable action. Once you understand that you are obsessing over a process rather than a tangible result, you realize that this road has no end. And where there is no end, there is no meaning. You might argue, that some hobbies and professions (writing, for example) also derive their meaning from the notion of movement. Only they produce something as a result. What does a perpetual traveler produce?

There is one thing that travel is known to produce effortlessly – inspiration. But unless you pay attention and use that inspiration to create something, your heart will remain hollow. Our parents used to buy material things in pursuit of happiness, today, the general outlook is that we should spend money on experiences. We exchanged things for experiences, only to consume them with the same rapacious hunger, failing to comprehend and appreciate their value. Meanwhile, happiness is an allure that keeps beckoning somewhere in the distance and yet in front of our eyes.  

So travel, explore, discover and always come back to a place where you can allow the experience to acquire meaning, where you can delve deeper, where you can convert those magical sights and turquoise oceans into a piece of art and inspire others. And if you can not travel, accept it for now as there are other ways to find inspiration – in ordinary things as well as in your imagination.

On travel writing

Travel writing can heal wanderlust. Travel story is an escape without leaving, a deep plunge into the unknown, that can satiate travel hunger. Imagine the unstoppable flow of words and beautiful visions of ancient castles, gloomy church interiors, snowy peaks of the mountains and welcoming smiles of strangers – all devised from the depth of your own imagination. Those images can be so vivid, that they surpass the impression of a real place.

Along with visual representation, a good travel story can also convey a feeling of a place. Because, no matter how many cities you walked in, how many mountains you climbed and how many museums you visited, all these experiences are merely a tick on the paper unless you can feel thousands of years of history beneath your feet and capture the fleeting spirit of a foreign culture. A feeling of a place is an intangible asset, available to us through travel writing, that can then grow in our own land, in the forms of love, hope, and friendship. That’s why a travel story is an ultimate cure for wanderlust  – it has the power to make us more empathetic and opens our eyes to the fact, that a place is only a backdrop and what we are looking for is within us.

Other ways to cure wanderlust include:

  • Finding your passion
  • Appreciating what you have and living in the present
  • Learning a new language

For another philosophical travel article and for the list of reasons why women should travel alone head over here.