It probably comes as no surprise that I’ve been wanderlusting as of late. What might be a surprise is how strong that desire has been.
Normally when I wake I do two things. First, I carefully exit my blanket cocoon so that I can make my way to the bathroom, and second, I wonder why I’m not waking up in Australia, or Nepal, or China, or Germany, or any other place but home. When I eat, I wonder why I’m not eating at a cafe in some far-off land. And when I’m working, I often wonder how much I could accomplish if I only had the ocean or a mountain to inspire me. It’s not that I hate where I am – quite the opposite – I just can’t shake this incredible desire to board a plane and do something crazy.
But recently the feeling to head to the airport has been stronger than simple wanderlust. It’s as if every breath has me exhaling any sense of staying rooted, and inhaling a heightened sense of you must travel now, right now, now, now. I honestly feel as if I’m being chased by some larger force; a beast of wanderlusting. A Wanderbeast, if you will.
Based on my experience, the Wanderbeast is clearly an insatiable, wild, and completely irrational animal. He demands adventure. He demands travel. He demands shenanigans. And you better believe he demands sacrifice. In fact, I think the only thing that will appease the beast is a sacrificial offering of juicy plane tickets.
Despite this, I’ve found myself vainly attempting to escape the clutches of the Wanderbeast over the last several weeks. I’d tell myself Gillis – you have work to do. Focus. Or I’d offer myself little rewards with the hope that this might somehow be enough to satiate the beast’s desire for adventure. Good job Gillis. You finished building that widget. Here, have yourself a scotch. I’d do all of these things and more hoping that somehow they’d let me evade the Wanderbeast and its need for a sacrifice.
Silly me. I should have known better. The Wanderbeast will not be quieted so easily.
And so, dear readers, to quell the beast I’ve been forced – forced I say – to plan not one, but two adventures. The first adventure will have me hurtling through the air at the end of October with Oliver1 – one of my grad students – to St. John’s, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and Rigolet for an epic research adventure. And less than two months after that I’ll be boarding another plane with Gerarda and Alan to head to Bruges, and who knows where else, on my multi-year multi-trip exploration of Europe.
Does this mean I’ve vanquished the Wanderbeast? Hells no. I think I’ve only managed to slow him down. But at least now that he’s distracted, I can get back to my regular business of academic pursuits and other nerdly things2.
1 Hi Oliver’s mom 🙂
2 Full disclosure, the minute I finished writing this sentence I immediately wanted to look at adventures in Norway. Or Australia. Or China. Or…