It’s safe to say the secret’s out. Regardless of how well we know each other, the name “The Wanderluster” leaves little to the imagination as to where my interests lie. Traveling is my life—it’s my motivator, my challenger, my bliss. When I ponder my achievements, travel has something to do with almost all of them. As much as I have tried to quell this wanderlust of mine, it has thus far proven to be unshakable and unrelenting. In fact, this feeling only subsides after months of being away, when my own bed and the comforts of home have been so far out of reach for so long that they feel like a mystical fairyland, where it’s always springtime and nothing bad has ever happened in all of time (cue skipping through a field to Andy William’s “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, even though it’s a song about the opposite of springtime).
There have of course been times during my travels when the longing to be home was almost painful. Shivering in freezing tents, being in an unforgiving foreign culture, and surprise rattlesnake greetings have all invoked this desire to get back to my comfort zone, questioning why I would ever leave the suburbs of Philadelphia in the first place (so safe, so cozy, so unpoisonous).
It is very easy to want to be somewhere other than your current location. Between friends on social media showing off their vacation pics, to tuning into some Netflix for David Attenborough’s Africa (this is way too specific to not give away that I am, in fact, doing this now), we are hounded with images of faraway places and foreign paradises, and if you’re anything like me, you wish you could see them all.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to not only travel to other countries, but to call a few of them “home” for lengthy periods of time. And without fail, upon my return to Pennsylvania, a wave of relief comes crashing over me. The view of familiar streets, my old school, and the smell of my house send sparks through my brain that say, “You’re here! You made it! Oo OOOOO!”***
After this initial internal sigh of relief, it only takes a few days before I’m too comfortable and I begin yearning for my next adventure. The anticipation always has me daydreaming of what life will be like in my future locale, so much so that I often forget to actually enjoy home. With Australia on the horizon and the discomfort that comes with adapting to any place new, it has been my new goal as of late to be mindfully appreciative of this time I’ve assigned myself to be in my comfort zone. Taking walks daily through my neighborhood, spending quality time with my parents, sitting on my couch with warm beverage in hand, laying in bed at night knowing it is MY bed, keeping in mind all of the moments of incredible discomfort when I’ve longed to be exactly here— being fully present and at peace in this wonderful town I get to call home.
As important as it is to wander through new places, be it near or far, it is equally, if not more, important to enjoy where you are in times of total contentment. This is something I have always known but have not always practiced. It is easy to take for granted the joy of being home; it doesn’t require much thought or much strain, and our minds are completely unguarded. This means that there really is no place like home. It’s time to treat it as such.
***A million figurative dollars to the person who gets this reference.