According to the New Oxford American Dictionary:
a strong desire to travel.
“a man consumed by wanderlust”
It’s an amazing feeling, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. A lot of the time, I even feel like I am incapable of living in the moment because I have this hardwired desire to go somewhere else. I don’t want to be ‘consumed’ by any emotion because it will ultimately never leave room for the others. For example, appreciation. Sometimes you are so ‘consumed’ by the feeling of being there that you forget to enjoy it at all.
As it’s been a month since Bali, I said that I would write something to sum up the experience and what I’ve learned from it. Read the first post about Bali here. Why was it so difficult? What I’ve seemingly discovered stems from 1. still journaling in my Bali notebook (using the same pen of course, I rue the day that it runs out of ink) and 2. taking a look inward. And what did I find? I found that I may claim to love to travel but I spend most of my time hyper focused on seeing as many places in the world as I can. It’s a race! Cue Mr Bean in Rat Race. The most important part of a race is when you get to the finish line, but what is the finish line when it comes to travel? You’ll never see it all, countries and cultures will never stop being beautiful and alluring, it never has a finish line. I’m racing against absolutely nothing. What a nightmare! I’m competing with myself with no idea how to even win. Having the strong desire to travel is a very important thing and I never want to lose that, but being able to put that emotion on pause is also equally as important. If I never stop and enjoy the moment I am living in, the moments run the risk of having no meaning. They become forgettable. I don’t want to dream of these trips for years, finally take them and then forget the moments that made them so special.
I think this is what happened in Bali. Not only the other emotional challenges, you can read about those here, but there was something deeper that made it so difficult to be in the moment. The feeling of ‘wanderlust’ can sometimes be so consuming and addicting that eventually you self implode. Especially when things are not working out the way you want them to. The pressure people (travellers) put on themselves to see the world is a powerful thing and should be celebrated but for me, it took away the most important aspects of seeing the world in the first place. The emotions and anxiety of the difficulties made the feeling of wanderlust too much to bear, leading to the ever-enjoyable break down you read about before. I was in my dream destination and I was struggling to be in the moment every day. I needed a constant reminder to enjoy where I was. The feeling of finally being there was everything I wanted, but I was too emotionally drained to be present.
I do believe that the feeling of ‘too much wanderlust’ starts at home. The physical unrest to constantly leave, move and start over. It builds and builds until you feel unable to even enjoy where you live. The feeling of constantly being unsatisfied with your surroundings, thinking that travel will be the only thing that will bring you joy. The issue with this mindset is that travel can’t fill the void you’ve built by avoiding living in the moment. If you are never living in the moment in your daily life, going on a trip won’t suddenly teach you how to do so. You have to practice how to be present, every day. Taking a trip can’t be the rebound relationship you use to feel happy with your life, it should be the reward. There is no finish line when it comes to travel, but there can be a way to make more of the trips that you have worked so hard to take.
This is entirely my own hot take on why I had such a difficult time in Bali, but I feel like realising this has slowly allowed me to discover what I need to change in my life (home & travel) to feel more complete and in the moment. I felt like my need for control imploded in Bali, but finding out why has ultimately led to me discovering that it’s been bound to happen for a long time. Being present and enjoying the moment is a challenge for me but it’s worth paying attention to.