“T-minus 5 hours to take off. The bag is packed, the money, exchanged, and the last minute errands are accomplished. And now comes the waiting part: the hour before I get in the car, the wait in traffic to O’Hare, and the 9 hour plane ride to Berlin where nerves and anxiety get their chance to settle in even more. Yay.”
I wrote this exactly one year ago, on September 23, 2013. I faintly remember the feeling of excitement, mingled with the internal thought of, “OHMYGOD, WHAT AM I DOING?” It was a big step for me, to leave on a plane to Germany, with less than $4,500 to my name, and not knowing where I was going to be in the next couple of months. But, as much as that sounds like a terrifying situation, let me say now that this was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Making that move to get out of the car, indulging my dad in a last goodbye photograph, and stepping on to my flight to Germany opened up a world that I will never forget, and as a result, will always crave. I made friends that broadened my perspectives and ideas, saw places and monuments that literally took my breath away, and I learned – about the places and people around me, as well as myself.
This isn’t where I tell you that I “found myself” and achieved enlightenment, or that this is what you should expect when you travel. I think that takes a little more commitment and hard work than traveling around the world. This is where I tell you that traveling is hard; it has its ups and downs, and puts a strain both on your body and your mind.
I was able to learn more about myself because 1. I had a lot of time to myself being on very long bus and train rides, and 2. I figured out what I loved, what I hated, and my tolerance for different things. This is also where I repeat my much used catch phrase: “Anyone can travel.” It just takes a little determination, hard work, and prioritizing, and you’re on your way.
Merriam-Webster defines the term ‘wanderlust’ as “a strong desire to travel.” I’m sure you’ve seen or heard it before. It’s easily found on artsy posters at Urban Outfitters, and I am more than positive it’s floating around on your Pinterest page at this very moment.
The term may also very easily drum up some feelings of annoyance, left over from that time your Facebook friend posted pictures of S.E. Asia as a status, accompanied by #wanderlust (yes, I did receive a complaint here or there from my best friend last year, especially when it was snowing in Michigan). And it’s true; wanderlust, or the travel-bug, is real, and I’ve come down a serious case. It’s easy to contract, and I hope you are seriously plagued by it, because the outcome is more than worth it.
I also think that there’s a bigger reason to the idea of wanderlust. It’s a theory of mine that I’ve been contemplating for a while. Traveling, seeing new places, meeting new people – it becomes an addiction. Like any addiction, the more you have, the more you crave, to the point where your appetite is no longer satiable. You feel the need to keep moving and to be around people who are doing the same thing. So, consider this my official warning as I continue to attack you with stories of amazing, faraway places, all in the hope that I can convince you to one day embark on a journey of your own.
I’ll be talking about tips on packing, how you see the world around you on very limited funds, and recommendations on places to visit, based on my own experiences and fellow travelers here at Tufts. I’ll also throw in the occasional crazy travel story!
If you have any tips, stories, or general musings about traveling, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll do my best to incorporate your story into these posts.