I have been wondering what is it that drives wanderlust in us, and I would love to hear the opinion of fellow HEthians.
Since the past 2 years I’ve had a strong desire to travel, and I’ve also travelled a decent amount in my country(India). Now this roughly seems to coincide with the time when I start my “spiritual quest” too. Though I just took it as something natural, a part of me, I now wonder whether there is a spiritual aspect to wanderlust after all, or is it merely a pleasing escape from reality. I know it’s hard to generalize, but a discussion on this should be quite fruitful I believe.
I don’t know what it is. I guess it has to do, with the moment, the pressence, now. Or not knowing the next moment. The real point can be escape or freedom driven.
So I don’t know you’re inner motivation.
Do you want to escape society, rules, boredom?
That’s a negative motivation, as it is a rejection of a form of reality.
In arab is a saying, a guest is like a fish, after 3 days it begins to smell.
I like the saying, why be a guest, instead of being a haven to others.
Thank you for the response, Dhyan!
Well, I genuinely don’t think that it is an “escape” from things for me. I love things as it is without travel at home as well, but there’s still always a calling inside to go out and explore. So probably it is freedom driven. But my only problem is that I believe true freedom is here and now, it doesn’t have to involve any external agent like travelling, because freedom is a very “inner” idea to me. So this is where the confusion lies for me, the two ideas seem to be quite opposing in nature.
Practice non attached traveling :)) and yes freedom is inside. But we can do what feels good, without iignorance of pain. And if you’re young it’s a good time to explore the globe. I am 55 and wouldn’t do any backpacking anymore.
Have a good time :)
I think it’s less freedom driven and more of a yearning to know through exploration of surroundings, through first hand experience. Not just wanting to see a place, but actually BE there. Conceptual visualizations don’t do as much justice as physically being there.
I completely agree with this, learning to see yourself through the eyes of a different culture can be extremely enlightened. We carry so much of our roots that will never be exposed in similar surroundings. You will learn there is no external or internal, our surroundings are us in this moment, and only when they fundamentally change, will you see the essence of non-self.
I think it happens when the purpose that your culture gives you that motivates your behaviors stops working. You feel a sense of not having ground to stand on, and are trying to seek out new meanings to life.
When you are firmly rooted in a motivation for existing (given to you by culture at first), you have no desire to explore and find new things because you already think you know what the purpose to your existence is. When you feel that something is missing, you feel a kind of drift less feeling and enter into a kind of seeking mode. You want to explore new things. Traveling is just one expression of that.
I did some traveling a while back, and noticed that most of the other people I encountered while traveling had no real sense of purpose. They were merely being in the moment and seeking new experiences, be it through drugs or new environments.
think that wanderlust is just a step on the path towards finding a reason-for-being in life. And once you find it and are rooted in a mission, the need for new experiences kind of diminishes. Once you know the direction you are going in, you don’t want to drift around as much. It feels counter-productive.
What people consider to be “reality” is not really reality. It is a socially constructed belief system about what is and isn’t possible, and keeps you stuck in living in a certain way based on those beliefs. For instance, most people think they have to value money above all else, even if that means hating what they are doing in order to attain it. As long as they are making enough money to live, it doesn’t matter if they hate what they are doing. That is a socially constructed “reality,” but it enslaves you to a life of prostitution and selling yourself.
I think you should follow your desire to travel. It provides new perspectives, and can give you a new sense of what is possible. But once you are rooted in a new sense of what’s possible, you get out of that seeking mode.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
I also feel this deep sense of moving and traveling around, for some years I was keeping myself for do so, until finish university and speacially to be thankful with my mom effort to give me a “better” life, or at least with more opportunities than she had.
Then I started travelling when I was pregnant and the sense of lost of purpose got more deep and my intuition more sharpe. I couldnt help it but go. I dont regret cause I found new ways of living, where flow and surrender serve more than worring and rational thinking. But then fears comes again wherever the finantial situations where unstable but always, always something happen to get goes, day by day. Finally after having my baby and with no stable work and worries about “stability” I decide to return to my mother’s home, and well I can write a book about it I guess, I was hard but Big lessons and forgiveness, accepting my roots, no just running away from it, forgive and forgive myself. Gratitute.
Now I have a job, my baby is one year and a half, still now have this deep sense of going to this beautiful magical place in Guatemala, but in a more clear, focuss and calm way. I know that my main travel is within myself.
Your question makes me think about the fact that we humans evolved as nomadic hunter-gatherers, ever wandering, ever discovering new sights, sounds, smells, and experiences. I think there is something in the human spirit that wants to roam, wants to gaze upon previously unseen vistas, wants to encounter the novel and the unknown.
Someone else in this thread suggested that traveling is something that one gets out of one’s system, and then one becomes content to just stay in one place. I disagree that this is universally true. I think it depends on the person. I think the way our global systems have functioned since the agricultural revolution has encouraged man to become stationary. Even today, the majority of people are working jobs that are location-dependent. Our systems are set up to accommodate people who settle down in a particular place much more so than people who remain ever on the move. But I think this is changing. More and more people are able to work remotely or become digital nomads by one means or another. Traveling is becoming more accessible. And with that, we’re seeing increasing numbers of people elect for a lifestyle of permanent nomadism, preferring to change locations every 6 months or every couple years, as opposed to settling down in the same spot for decades.
As with most anything, I think there are drawbacks and benefits to a lifestyle of nomadism, just as there are drawbacks and benefits to choosing to settle down in one place for an extended period. As someone who has been to 10 countries in the past 2 years and has lived in Busan, South Korea; Spencer, Iowa; and San Francisco, California during that time, I personally seem to be drifting (pun intended) into the camp of the permanent nomads. I do, however, see great benefit in integrating oneself into a long-term community in a fixed physical location. My hope is to find a “home base” of sorts within the next few years at which I can live most of the time, while still traveling maybe 6 – 12 months out of every 2 – 3 years. This is all speculation, though. I don’t know what is going to happen.
I think man is a curious animal, an animal who wants at his core to explore and to understand. I’d be hard-pressed to think of a better means of exploring and understanding the world than actually going out and seeing for oneself how humans manage to live in the many corners of Earth. As Martijn said, entering another culture provides invaluable perspective on one’s own culture and identity. I think of cultures as human operating systems, and these operating systems vary so widely that going to a foreign country can be like entering The Matrix or visiting another planet. Very few things — perhaps nothing — have been more eye-opening for me than diving into these novel and unknown domains of experience. The complexity and diversity of our planet is truly mind-boggling, and once one gets a taste of it, well, there may be no turning back.
I agree with Mikey that Wanderlust may be driven by a loss of purpose, as a way of redefining yourself when your current definition doesn’t fit anymore, has become worn and stretched by years of use, if you will. It is the yearning to explore, to experience more, in the hopes of finding a new, better and updated fit for the person that you have developed and changed into.
To think there is a spiritual aspect of Wanderlust seems natural. Feeling the call of a power higher than ourselves, outside of our realm even, is a widely renowned phenomenon. Why should it be excluded from possibly driving or at least sparking Wanderlust? I do not personally feel that spirituality is involved in my Wanderlust, but am open to the possibility of it for others.
On the drive of Wanderlust, at least in my case I agree with Jordan in that it probably stems from our nomadic roots. I feel the need to get out of the old and go find something, everything, new. I want to find the cusp of some new frontier and discover everything that it has to offer. My personal drive is more focused around exploration of the environment that we all call home, and may possibly call home in the future.
Anyway, thats my humble interpretation and the best explanation of my own feelings that I could throw together. Thank you guys for sharing your thoughts and feelings about this.
YES! In my 20’s my friends called me The best traveled BUM! I still hate money… Anyway, I see travel as a type of shamenisim…. Someone needs to wander out and report back… Just because times change, well, we change much slower… In 5 years my wife and i will take our LUST and wander again… I can’t wait… We are nomads
This may seem a little out there to those that are unfamiliar with it, but the answer is quite simple: astrology. You are born with certain personality software. Anybody familiar with astrology will tell you that the Fire signs (Aries, Sagittarius, Leo) like to explore and do new things. These are your travellers. The majority of the people that I know that have travelled a lot – I am not talking taking your 2 weeks of vacation in the Caribbean but rather quitting your job to backpack around the gobe for 6+ months – have almost always been Fire signs. If you know travellers, ask them what their sign is. You may be surprised what you discover.
Interesting. It seems way out there but, to designate a person’s personality software depending what time they were born in small solar system in an endless universe, is kind of silly; rather than their genetics, culture, environment, and emotional past experiences that might make us more likely to travel.
Just wondering though, why do you believe in astrology? Is it fun? Has there been some connection to the universe or something that has drawn you to it? How far does it go back in history? Is there any evidence at all?
I believe its a Human’s natural tendency to want to explore and discover, we see this in young children who tend to crawl away, touch everything and even more so put whatever they can in their mouth. Curious little beings, aren’t we? Babies have such a thirst for understanding and exploration, constantly looking for stimuli and new things to discover. Its not until education rolls around where we are told to sit still behind a desk, complete tasks, and listen to directions ultimatley being expected to carry them out. This breaks children in a way we overlook all to easily, soon they’re concerned with their GPA and where they’ll be going to college that they forget about how much of the world is uncharted and unmapped for their brain.
I think this feeling of wanderlust is part of what makes us human, our inate need to explore and expand our horizons, and some souls refuse to let that fire die within themselves.
Wanderlust for me is a very mental and emotional response to the world around me. I am influenced to a great deal by where I am and who I am with. I try to put myself in surroundings that are conducive to my own growth and feeling of well-being.
To that end, exploring new places leads to a greater understanding of the hows and whys of the way I live my life. There are an almost infinite number of ways to conduct your life, and I think it is very valuable to see the examples of others, and to be able to learn from both the good and bad (in your own opinion) of what the other person or culture is doing. In this way, I think I can live more intentionally, and seek after a more fulfilling life for myself.
There is a hunger that comes with wanderlust. The desire to experience, to enjoy, to learn. It is a physical manifestation of my thoughts and the way I want to live my life. I have both been very lucky and have worked very hard to be able to travel and experience new things. I try to make the most of those opportunities.
wanderlust is just dependant on a person. some people never want to leave their little areas and comfort zones and get angry easily outside of it. others can’t wait to leave where they are. And a few probably get it after they’ve felt trapped/unfulfilled with life after devoting it to things that aren’t as important as they thought. the reasons are all different and i’ll try to use my own experiences for example. i went to europe with my mom and sister when i was 17. landed in England and took a ferry across the channel to france where we got on a bus and toured 7 other countries. it was beautiful. the scenery i’ll never forget, but the general existing there, day in and out were lacking a sense of fullfilment. I wanted so badly to have a friend from back home with me. I kept buying gifts throughout the trip to bring back for them. Even people i wasn’t really good friends with. Something was missing. I recently went to Yellowstone with my mom but the best parts of the trip i believe, happened to be on the way there when we stopped at a small canyon and i made my mom climb a small mountain with me and a pass leading into the yellowstone area that was so grand and unique. The actual yellowstone was packed with tourists and spots that i didn’t care for too much. would i go back? maybe with kids but not really for any other reason than to climb a mountain or do something of that nature. I think there are things you do on your trips that make you feel like you are very alive, strong, smart, or whatever it is that you need to feel that you remember when you travel. the other parts are just going through the motions. Another thing i think is, how much did you have to save up/struggle through to afford it? did you pay at all? are you holding on to every moment? is this your DREAM place? or is it just a side quest with a few good and not so good moments? i find that i always want to explore, but i’m into nature through and through. I always forget people, what they said (unless it was deep long discussions then i remember the important bits) but the nature always gives me the greatest emotional response. that’s my wanderlust. New Nature. ALTHOUGH. i have always wanted to go to japan based on it’s culture. that’s a bucket list thing. i’d love to learn more languages too. since i’m a musician though, i’m trying to focus on my career so i can “earn” traveling around the world.
Did you get to see Stonehenge?! I have never left the U.S. I would love to go see the ancient parts of the world though, I feel like I need to walk down a road that the Romans 1st chartered and maybe visit a town where Jesus did something amazing or go see an amphitheater in Greece.
I find that I forget words in memories too, but always remember the way it “felt”. And I know that each person and each city or town has a different “feeling” ..or aura or atmosphere but I can’t describe it too well, lol.
Humans, or at least some of us, are inherently driven to figure things out and see more things. It’s inspiring and engaging, something we need to not get bored.
There’s also the instinct to patrol and expand territory, knowing our surroundings for the sake of protection and access to resources.