To travel means to be free- to be free means to live; to travel is to live. Since the beginning, this had seemed innately obvious to me. When I was younger, I read all of the works of the “free men”, Kerouac, Whitman, and Thoreau. I was inspired by their untamed lives and unraveled souls.
They traveled to the lands of unfamiliarity and met themselves, their truest forms. That was the life I wanted so terribly while I stared out of my small town bedroom window. I imagined myself running through foreign streets, surrounded by worlds I had only seen in my dreams.
Growing up in a small town, one can assume, and I can vouch, that there isn’t a whole lot to do for entertainment. I remember using my free time to explore the nearby forest and hidden alleyways throughout the town.
When I finally turned sixteen, I spent that time driving as far as I could on a tank of gas, intentionally getting lost and exploring the city I found myself in. At that age, I couldn’t begin to explain what it was that I was feeling. Now, I know that the intense fire of desire within me is called, Wanderlust.
Wanderlust: it’s defined as, “the strong desire to travel”, but it is so much more than that. This desire is a burning flame of purpose- it’s a calling from something so much more powerful than our own self.
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Importantly, it is a calling that cannot be ignored. It will push you to cross oceans and borders, but not just to see famous cathedrals or tour the most historic parts of a city. While those are fulfilling, to truly travel is to match your heartbeat to the rhythm of the city, to connect to the foreign faces and hearts of the people. Traveling frees your soul with the presence of Life that it brings.
I believe if we have something within us that holds a force stronger than anything on the planet, we must follow it. We must let it carry us away to lands in which we belong and come from. That is why true travelers only find themselves when they are on the road, running from small towns, and petty complaints.
As travelers, we run to lands that we have never set foot on, but they prove to us all of the reasons to why we call them our true home. This is the force that I had felt, not only the desire to travel, but the desire to find my home. So, that’s exactly what I did. Instead of spending my next paychecks on tanks of gas, I saved up to by myself my first plane ticket outside of America- one ticket to Europe.