I’ve met only a few people in my so many years that do not have wanderlust. My friend Free seems to not have this. He’s good with living in a mobile home in Oregon and not tasting the exotic flavors of a life on the road or even on a road trip. I won’t pretend to understand how someone cannot wonder what’s around the next corner or be happy with a current thing. I admit to forever thinking when driving to or from work what it will be like next year when I hit the road. When my final constraints are loosened and work is a thing of the past. How will it be to wake up on a day in Osaka Japan waiting for the Ferry Boat to take me to Shanghai or on the train from Singapore to Chiang Mai Thailand. What will the wanderlust be like when I am wandering rather than thinking about it? I wandered some before for work and was able to spend months in India at a time. Treasured moments. Chennai is a frenetic, wonderful, strange place with people like none I have ever met. Being a nomad there was a wonderous and ever-changing feeling. I managed to log hundreds of thousands of air miles in some years and now I have sufficient miles on United to do what I want when I’m ready. No real costs for the long haul flights when I’m ready. That’s nice for the hobo in my soul.
The more basic part of this wandering is not the destination though. Its the getting there. When I rode Amtrak north to Portland and Eugene and even south to Santa Barbara; it was the movement that thrilled me. The destination was good but I wanted the being neither here or there. I remember sitting in the Changi Airport in Singapore feeling the same way. I sat eating a toasted bagel with egg and cheese and perhaps sausage thinking that at that moment, no one knew where I was and I did not have to explain my actions in a failing domestic environment to a spouse that was content to just leave. I did not have another person clamoring to know what I would do for them. How can it be that its so bad to have live to another’s expectations? That whole thing is contrary to the wanderlust. It ties a person down to a thing which is not even good. We are put here for a number of years, with a number of successes and failures, expectations and realities and we doom ourselves to a life of staying put. Like my friend Free. Lets just buy the big TVs and stereos and the furniture and carpeting and porch upgrades. Its all good. Its good for him and that’s fine. Its not good for me. Nothing about it is a thing I would do. I would rather have a limited income in Georgetown Penang and wander the streets, subways, and trains on the search for a thing than sit in a place and everything is known and figured.
Perhaps that’s the greatest thing I see when we do not live and only exist. Our current thing is never perfect or even close. We are not cosmic star things. We ar chained down to carpet upgrades and new storage shed roofs and our spirits are chipped away and pretty soon the things we wanted bear no resemblance to what we got. I think it all comes about when we try to make another person happy, when we try to live to another’s expectations. When we go no further than the tip of our noses. Somehow our moments become less.
We need the wanderlust. We are from hunter gatherer stock. Wanderers and nomads that traveled their worlds and learned how to interact. I watch my friend and I’m sad. I wonder whatever happened to him. How did he get to the place he is at now from what he was? We will never know because the wanderlust and nomad has left his soul.
Its sad. Its like a life that moved to a different drummer once that just stopped. Just because we get old is no excuse to become a fuddy duddy. We all can move forth and experiment and have dreams and see that life is not the next step but the next thousand.
Go forth and be a wanderer and don’t settle for another’s expectations of you. You know and you will always know. No one can fit inside you and no one can know your feelings. Be that wanderer with the figurative atlatl and kit. Never settle.