Wanderlust - Why I have such a strong NEED for travel and adventure
Wanderlust, for me, isn't just about getting on a plane, as it is for some. For me, wanderlust is about going, doing, seeing, and exploring the unknown. Completely submerging myself into unknown territory, unknown cultures, and unfamiliar experiences. I have seen amazing things and met amazing people along the way. I don't travel to run away from anything. I travel to run WITH something. Something that is bigger than I am. Every single day, I day dream about traveling. Before I fall asleep, when I am riding or driving somewhere, when scanning social media, during phone conferences, while making something to eat, literally every day, I am living in Wanderlust.
Brains are wired to remember new and novel things and experiences. Instead of just reveling in those moments, I am constantly on the hunt for more. I have retained the same level of curiosity and the same desire to try new things that I had as a kid, only now it is more dangerous, because I have the means to follow through. Note the twisty roads and rock ledges in the pics from my childhood - "my parents started it" both with their genes and with experiences growing up! (P.S. THANK YOU mom, and dad!!!) .
Gene testing is all the rage these days. Did you know there is an actual Wanderlust gene? It's a gene called DRD4 and its responsibility is to regulate the dopamine levels in our brains. Well, there is a variety of this gene called DRD4-7R. Scientific research has found this gene is found in roughly 1 out of 5 people, and it's linked to restlessness, curiosity, and higher levels of risk-taking (aka ADHD) (as found in the article linked at the end of this post by Schilling, Walsh, & Yun, 2011). I am fairly confident my dad gave me this gene. It is likely that my mother did as well, however, she passed away when I was three, so she had no time to instill her personality in me, along with the gene, like my dad did (and still does). My dad left his hometown at 18 and joined the Marines. He went from rarely leaving the area in which he spent 18 years, to exploring the world, one push up at a time. After his years of service, he started a career in Law Enforcement. He introduced me to motorcycles at a young age. And he still, to this day, will take off on his motorcycle and just roam with no specific destination. Or he will take off to a destination, solo, on his bike, to camp, hike, and explore. Talk about a restlessness, curious, and risk taking way of life! As kids we always traveled for 2 weeks in the summer, as well as weekend stay-cation trips. We would camp, hike, explore, wander, and learn along the way. I loved every minute of it, even if my face didn't always match that passion, because, well, I was a 'tough' kid who didn't like to express myself nearly as often as I do as an adult. LOL. Somewhere along the path to adulthood, I lost my filter. And I am OK with that!
I am impulsive, adventurous, an adrenaline seeker, and a risk-taker. I am fearless in many ways (probably too many), yet I fear the mundane things in life. I fear boredom. I fear missing out on things, experiences, and adventures. Wikipedia says that wanderlust comes from the natural process of self-development, 'gone wild'. Travel makes me feel humble. It makes me feel a part of something much bigger than I can ever imagine. I like the thrill of wandering, facing unknown challenges, learning about unfamiliar cultures and ways of life. I like the challenge of meeting my own basic needs, using just my common sense and resources that I find along the way. I like trying new things, thinking outside the box, being spontaneous, and getting out of my comfort zone. I even like the less grand parts of travel - the bike breakdowns, the lack of finding a place to eat or sleep, having to be creative to get myself out of a less than ideal situation or environment. I crave the unknown, even the 'bad' side of it.
Yes, there are times that I have felt homesick, but the feeling always passes with a phone call, video chat, or making plans to see my family and friends. Wanderlust never leaves me. It is something that has attached itself to my soul, and while traveling for short periods of times eases the symptoms, there is no cure for the constant need to travel.
I struggle to balance reality and my daydreams. I know that I need to work to make money to travel. But there has to be more to life than just working to make money. I want to combine my passion of motorcycling, traveling, and wandering into something that can sustain me while I do just that.
Family sailing trip, back in the day!
My mom was a certified sky diver!
This is how I got places growing up!
Schilling, Walsh, and Yun. (2011). ADHD....Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(1), 3-11.