Ever since I stumbled upon New York Hardcore outfit Every Time I Die’s 2009 album The New Junk Aesthetic I’ve been in love with the word Wanderlust. As a writer it’s not uncommon to fall in love with a word, phrase, or quote; my iPhone, laptop and notebooks are full of various screenshots and scribbles of words that inspire me to create. Yet few have ever managed to illicit the kind of reaction that the title of track four on the aforementioned album does. Wanderlust: Just the way it rolls off of your tongue ignites this writer’s desire to create. But what does it mean? Well, to summarise about a million different dictionaries and websites, a state of wanderlust is:
A strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.
Even its meaning gives me goose-bumps, and yet seems so inherently simple to grasp. A strong desire to explore the world: wanderlust is that impulse we feel to travel. It’s that compulsion that tells us to save up our pennies and jump on a plane, train or bus and venture to areas a new so that we may increase our awareness of the world around us. That impulse; that urge to travel is what has led me to be sitting on a deck chair in Thailand as I pen this very entry. My own desire to explore has seen me travel across boarders from my humble home in Brisbane, Australia to a world vastly different from where I live.
It seems so straight forward, doesn’t it? If one experiences a sense of wanderlust then they feel an urge to travel and explore the physical realms of this world. We commonly refer to this sensation as the travel bug, but what if there is more to it than that? What if this form of the sensation is merely skin deep? What if there are two levels of wanderlust that we can feel? Surely if this were to be the case than what I have just described could only be defined as feeling the emotion on a macrocosm level. My desires to travel to Thailand are universal; everyone at some point in their life is exposed to that unrelenting urge to travel, or to start afresh in a new or foreign place. It’s this feeling that inspires us to broaden our horizons. But there is so much more to our world than just the physical and the tangible.
Part of my journey overseas was to satisfy this feeling of wanderlust and itchy feet that has been growing inside of me since my last international journey. But for the larger part my journey has been sparked by a yearning to overcome the angst within the microcosm that is my heart and my mind. Confusing right? Well, let me simplify it for you: I’ve travelled overseas not so I can explore the world, but rather so that I can explore my own mind. I’ve taken a journey through the macrocosm of our globe so that I can better understand the microcosm that is me.
For as long as I can remember my heart and mind has been a volatile mixture of pure love and unrelenting hate for everyone and everything around me. If you’ve ever had the (dis)pleasure of meeting me, you will be acutely aware that I am quite a placid person. There is very little that seems to faze me on the macrocosm level. I try each and every single day to only expose my positivity to the world; yet internally there are fires raging that if ever unleashed would turn so much of what I love to ashes. My microcosm is a fucking nightmarish world of pent up creativity and frustration at a world that refuses to take my craft as seriously as I do. Most days my aspirations of becoming a published author are stifled by the mundane tasks of a man failing to live up to his dreams. I live in this bizarre world where I project a positivity onto others that I fail to project internally to myself. Shit, if you asked me to paint the insides of my mind you’d end up with a fucking dystopian image reminiscent of Botticelli’s Map of Hell. And the worst part of my mindset is that as of late it’s getting progressively worse.
For a few reasons outside of my control I’ve spent the past couple of weeks living in a state of high stress and constant anger, and if it weren’t for my current holiday I’d probably have fallen apart by now. The wanderlust that had been growing inside of me, urging me to travel, to explore, to understand is the very thing that has kept me from exploding into a tirade of uncensored rage. My journey into the world so that I can better understand myself could not have come at a better time. It allows be to take a step back from the life that sees me constantly putting my dreams second to someone else’s and reassess where I am in my life and where I truly want to be. Wanderlust is that feeling, that urge to travel and explore the world. But that doesn’t necessarily restrict us to the physical world. It also urges us to explore ourselves, to understand the catalysts and compulsions that drive us towards our inevitable success or eventual failure every single day.
With that being said, the next two weeks of my life are going to be extremely engaging. As I venture through a land foreign to my own I will also strive to do so from an internal perspective. I’m not trying to be the next Buddha, I’m not going to sit underneath a Bodhi tree and wait for a moment of divine clarity or an epiphany that suddenly sees me racing down a path to success or enlightenment. I’m just trying to better understand myself so that one day my dreams do ultimately become my realities.