Lately I’ve been thinking about how for much of my life I have been restless and in early years, plagued by wanderlust. My adult life has been one of yearning for love and pervasive dissatisfaction with where I was, what I was doing. I don’t feel these things now. I thought about it being the result of being 68 etc. but that isn’t it. It isn’t even the result of having traveled around a bit and living abroad in a pretty exotic locale during exotic times. It’s that I like it here. I don’t think I would always have liked it here — probably not — but after living through all of that dissatisfaction, yearning and wanderlust, I learned some things about who I am.

There’s also the fact that I’m now able to do the things I want to do. I remember cramming a weekend full of writing or painting. Of hiking as far as I could after work or (as my grandma would say) “Of a Sunday.” I think some of my youthful restlessness came from just working so much and having so many intense and hopeless family obligations.

I wanted OUT, but I couldn’t get out.

I’ve also thought about travel. I don’t have a lot of yearning in that regard, either. Have I been everywhere I want to go? No. But I can’t go to many of the places I want to go because it’s not “then” any more. I fell in love with the idea of adventure travel reading Richard Halliburton’s book Seven League Boots when I was a little girl. I imagined that I would do those things when I grew up, but when I grew up the world had turned. I couldn’t travel like him, or Beryl Markham, T. E. Lawrence, Richard Francis Burton or any of my heroes. It didn’t stop me from trying and I had a lot of fun, but my last adventure out into the world really sucked. I had a torn Achilles tendon that made the hikes I’d envisioned in Switzerland impossible. Iceland had it in for me. Never mind that air travel today is humiliating for any one with metal body parts and uncomfortable even for short people. Everything has been “monetized,” even choosing a seat.

So here I am. Stationary and fine with it, a situation I never imagined. Life has taught me that I want to see mountains every day maybe even all the time. I want to live where there is winter. I want dogs. I want to paint and write. I want to be as healthy as possible. I want good friends, and peaceful days without personal crises. I don’t know that that’s old age. It seems to me that those are worthy human goals.

But, still and probably always, I want to go back to Zürich. 😉


9 thoughts on “Wanderlust

  1. I got to a point a few years ago when I realized I didn’t want to go back to Jerusalem. I was there in 2001, just a few days before 9/11 (business) — and the country is so changed, I barely recognized it. I want to go back to the Jerusalem and Israel I knew and love more than 30 years ago. I don’t think I want to go to this one.

  2. Contentment is the real deal. Happiness is just an elusive concept. Too many people spend way too much energy in pursuit of happiness and passion. Happy is not a condition to reside in – it wears you out. Contentment wraps you up and makes you feel warm (even in winter and covered in snow). I love that this photo is the inspiration for the painting!!

  3. Great post. I can relate. I prefer to think that I travel more than most. I travel every day. It’s just that I travel – on foot, with my dogs – through the nearby landscape rather than to another state or country. I’ve done that, and am grateful for those experiences, but I agree with you – travel ain’t what it used to be, and the hassles and inconvenience of modern international travel outweigh the benefits for me. And there’s the getting sick thing; seems like people always come home from their international travel sick.
    Maybe this is just a natural progression, that in out 60s we finally figure out what we love, what brings us joy, and we pursue and embrace it, creating an entire lifestyle that supports it.

    • ❤ in my late 30s I hiked one trail in CA every day for a year and I learned from that experience that the trail is never the same twice. I still had wanderlust, but after a while that lesson established itself in my heart in all its profound truth. I think you're right about knowing what we love, what brings us joy — and creating a life around that.

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