on wanderlust

One of the ways I deal with my shit is by running away. Running away to other cities, states, hell, even to another country.

For most of life I’ve had a longing, a tugging feeling that I just need to go. To do and see and experience that which I’m not currently doing, seeing, experiencing. To be hurled into a completely different situation, a new start. To shape myself all over again.

In the past, I’ve reacted to my unhappiness, melancholy, or dissatisfaction by listening to that longing, following it wherever it called me. Following that urge was the easy answer; I could simultaneously get away while collecting new experiences. Following it has led me to Maine, DC, France, Tennessee, New York City, and most recently, Dallas.

I first remember feeling this in high school; my goal at that point was to get the hell out of Texas, to go away far, far away. Because even though I loved my friends and my school, I saw Dallas as a fake, plastic city and I needed to leave and go somewhere with culture and history and importance.

So I did.

I went to college as far away as I could, the furthest of any of my classmates, in fact. I started there in the fall, in a school in a quaint little New England town. And I was downright elated that I was finally where I was supposed to be. It was sickeningly picturesque: red brick dorms, hundreds year old buildings named after famous alumni, a campus littered with trees whose leaves were painted brilliant oranges, reds, yellows at the beginning of the school year.


Wouldn’t you know, as much as I tried to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t there, that familiar tugging crept back. Even though this was the place I was supposed to be, even though this is what I’d always wanted…my heart was still pulling me away. That first year of college is when I realized that maybe my desire to go far, far away wasn’t only Dallas’ fault. Maybe it was an inherent part of me.

I’m not really sure what to call it, this tugging feeling, this desire to go. Is it wanderlust? Is it a product of being young? Am I just too choosy? The thing that really gets me about it all is that even once I go and start over somewhere new, I typically end up yearning for the places I left. Never truly satisfied.

Now, I’m here, back in Dallas, and in a place where I’m content…but that longing persists, the strings pulling me away. As much as I try to swallow that feeling and to push away that tugging…I feel it.

I know I should take advantage of the fact that at this point in my life I can just get up and go, relatively easily. Because lord knows that won’t always be the case. So doubtless, though I try to convince myself I won’t… I’ll go. And leave again. And start over, again. And collect more experiences. And collect more failures. And collect more successes.

But I always wonder… Will I ever just be?

Posted: Thursday, April 12th, 2012 @ 5:52 pm
Categories: words.
Tags: , , , , .
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  • http://livingwithhealthyhunger.com dorry

    oh, I love this. and I relate in many ways, but admire your strength to just get up & go! I didn’t find that confidence until I met Billy and we shared that desire – the desire to GO. someone asked me recently if we thought we’d ever “settle down” somewhere, and I have no idea. I do know that we’re happy to be in NYC for now, and I know things will change when we have babies, so like you mentioned, it’s best to do it now while we can. :) please let me know if you ever plan a trip up here!

  • http://bindandcreate.com Rose

    I think it makes perfect sense to want to get up and go, especially when things in your current city become complacent (or you become that way, I guess). I’ve lived in Pittsburgh now for two years, and already I want to go. I will stay here for a while because it’s close to the people I love, but if there was an opportunity to go – I would.

    I think some people have wanderlust all of their days, and that’s perfectly fine. It just means you’re curious and explorative. I think it takes a lot for certain people to get rooted. Some never do.

  • WJ

    No. The short answer is no. I would love to tell you that it goes away. Mine never has. I just keep it at bay. I would like to blame it on genetics (dad moved around all over), or maybe culture (people have driven me away or pushed). In fact culture is the most believable. I feel sometimes we, as a culture, breed discontent. We are trained at a very young age to strive for more. To not be satisfied. Hell, even the advertising we are indoctrinated with tell us that this new product is better than the last. We are TAUGHT that there is something better right around the corner. Every time I watch “Legends of the Fall” I always feel the same way that Tristan does. That too long in one place makes me want to run off again.

    The trick is “contentment”. If you can figure out that bitch, then you win. That or you wait until you run out of gas……and there are no refills.

  • http://bpspecial.blogspot.com Anna

    Good thoughts, as always.

    In yoga class the other day, the teacher said something along the lines of “When we are small, we’re always told to stay where we are if we get lost. But when we get older, the first thing we do when we feel lost and panicky is to run. Why is that?” I don’t know, but it’s very true.

  • http://lifesafont.com Beth

    This is sooooooo so so not me! But I love trying to live vicariously through people who have this capability! You say run away I say impressive that you are able to get up and go! I am such a pansy! Truly I am!