As I sit on my laptop this evening I find myself struck with an intense case of wanderlust. I have a tab open showing me airline prices to fly to London from Grand Rapids, MI. I have another tab open searching for travel books about Europe. And previously I had tabs open to various blogs about backpacking and traveling through Europe, a map of Europe and my lovely Pinterest board dedicated to traveling. So yeah, this case of wanderlust is one of the most intense I’ve experienced. Why? Why do I suddenly feel this urge to back a bag and go somewhere I’ve never been before? And, why is traveling simultaneously one of the most expensive and rewarding things one can do? So many whys and the answers are all unclear. Okay, maybe they aren’t unclear but they’re complicated to say the least.
For starters I could tell you that my need to travel and see new places is largely due in part to the fact that I have been relatively homebound for the past ten or so months. Since my accident (long story short: traumatic car crash, lots of broken things, lots of surgery, lots of recovery) back in February I haven’t exactly been able to go too many places. Until the last few months I haven’t felt comfortable going out in public because I was usually confined to a wheelchair if we were going to be walking long distances. And being in a wheelchair just made me feel uncomfortable, it made me feel like people were looking at me and that I was constantly in the way and I did not like that feeling at all. So instead I stayed home and watched or read about other people’s adventures. In the last few months I have been able to use a walker, which still brings a bit of unwanted attention to me and I still get super self conscious because of that, but it is still a lot more tolerable than a wheelchair. Things are more accessible for me and it’s not a huge inconvenience to go somewhere like it was previously. That’s the bottom line, I didn’t want to inconvenience people because a wheelchair is heavy. So now that I have less demanding equipment I want to make up for lost time and go go go, but I still have a little bit of recovery before I’m ready to fly solo.
I can also tell you that my great desire to travel and go on an adventure as of late has to do with the books and movies I tend to watch. I want to be like Bilbo Baggins and go on an adventure! So many book and movie characters just drop everything and go, and I want to be able to do that. Looking back on my life I have plenty of stories to tell and memories but they all take places within the comfort of the mitten state, minus a few trips to Chicago, Florida, Missouri and DC. And that is a bit depressing. God gave us this entire planet to inhabit and I have explored the absolute smallest fraction of it. I am wasting this wonderful gift God has given us and when I get to Heaven one day what stories will I be able to tell? If my grandma happens to spend her spare time watching the Courtnei Channel up there she is probably dying of boredom as I type. Sorry grandma, I’m trying to liven things up! There’s so much to explore and if we weren’t intended to explore it why would we have legs? Think about that for a moment.
Those two reasons are probably the biggest factors influencing my sudden onset of wanderlust and I’m not entirely sure what to do, mainly because traveling is so expensive. I saw a quote on one social media or another about how travel is the only thing that you buy that will make you richer. And I honestly believe that 100%. I am aware that it will not make you richer from a financial standpoint, but how many people do you know that have traveled someplace new and haven’t returned just a little bit different than they were before? I’m going to guess probably none, unless you think I meant traveled to a new laundry mat or grocery store…although those places can be life altering.
For now the way I am going to curb my wanderlust is plan a trip. Now this may or may not be a trip I am able to take, but maybe someday I will be able to do it. So until I am back on my feet and back behind the wheel of a car I am going to have to settle for reading about the adventures of others and planning my own adventure to go on someday soon. So world, you have a little more time to prepare for me, and in the mean time I’ll practice honing my Bilbo Baggins impersonation.