I’ve heard much mentioned recently about The Camino, Machu Picchu, and The Pacific Crest Trail. My social media connections talk about the Rick-shaw Run, Ghan, Orient Express, Great Ocean Road and Pacific Coast Highway. I hear whispers of ultra-marathon races like the 4 Desert Series, discussions of Euro-rail travel and conversations about how ‘best’ to road trip Australia or the United States. More and more experiences wind up gaining my attention and joining my list of ‘I’d like to’ and ‘in which trip can we do this?’. JRR Tolkien coined the phrase ‘not all who wander are lost’. I couldn’t agree with him more. How do you wander?
Do you get lost in the white caps of ocean waves, like me or are you more taken by nature as it oozes through a hiking trail, like my Dad? Do ski runs call to you, like my brother-in-law, or is it the idyllic setting of a frozen or thawed lake, like my mid-western friends? Do you yearn for cultures unlike your own or are you more likely to find comfort in ones you understand? Are you a minimalist or fan of luxury? Do the wiles of Africa call to you or is it the aromas of Southeast Asia? Do you have your heart set on an Antarctic journey amongst the sea or a dogsledding tour closer to the Arctic Circle? How do you wander?
My wanderings have changed over time – have yours? In my younger days, the only places to which they took me were mainly comprised of water and sand and my heart was full. As years progressed, I craved even more places to feel at peace. For awhile, it was the beach and the draw of foreign lands that quenched the thirst. I continued to yearn for greater adventure when I wasn’t looking at the sea. The cravings changed. While keeping the need for water and sand – culture, adventure, learning, new experiences and blasting through a small comfort zone joined the ranks of travel planning desires. I was not lost in my wanderings. Most specifically, I was found.
The draw to the unknown is still great. The joy of travel is a thirst quencher. The thrill of the new satiates a desire. The search for the longer journey that continues to fill the soul is always there. But amidst the outward wanderings, I have found the inward ‘travel’. The ability to find a spot, stay put and allow your travel mindset to take hold there is something I never thought I’d be able to do. It could be nature’s path, a different culture, a new experience or the joy of a sunny day – but , when you put your mind to it, your travel exuberance takes over and curiosity reigns supreme. Mostly still, the best place for me, is when I’m looking into the crest and crash of a wave as it hits the sandy shore while my toes wait patiently wiggling in the sand.
Some people set goals for weight loss, muscle gain or career promotion. Goal setting is different for each person. There’s that personal growth component, that, to me, is significant. Part of that is finding the joy in the everyday, ‘wandering’ while staying put and finding travel days amidst the every day. I have other goals of course, but continuing to ‘wander’, no matter where I roam, is one of them.