Everyone seems to be jetting off to somewhere–and writing about it. Students are abroad learning-whilst-exploring, loving the cultural experience. People are taking a break from their careers or life in general to go globe trotting. There are sights to see; traditional tourist stops as well as the hole-in-the-wall sort of places. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m happy to say I’ve been able (by God’s blessing!) to do some of this myself. The picture above actually came from a missions trip I took to Austria a number of years ago. I loved trying to decipher the various languages to which I was exposed on the continent, as well as tasting the cuisine and wandering my way around foreign cities, camera in hand. And other peoples’ accounts of adventure are, at present, the closest I can come to doing that once again.
As much as I enjoy reading, I am prone to sudden and serious attacks of wanderenvy. Wanderenvy is often misdiagnosed as wanderlust, making it a dangerous look alike. However, it is imperative to the continued well-being of the sufferer that the two not be confused. As it turns out, wanderlust is a normal, healthy heart tug that (while a little painful) prevents stagnation of thought and body, encouraging the sufferer to get out and move. Conversely, while wanderenvy feels similar at first, it becomes a source of nauseating discontentment that actually undermines a pleasant outlook in the here and now. It can, in fact, become chronic if untreated. If we could only go there or do that or see this, everything would be different. It would allow us to write or overcome shyness or make us better people–if only.
The truth is, though, we don’t have to go anywhere to “experience life.” Life happens everywhere, as does culture. Wanderenvy must be treated for what it is: an excuse and a distraction from the beauty of where I am right now. Once identified, I have to make the conscious effort to appreciate this season of life–in which I am grounded for the time being. As to treating wanderlust, that’s a little simpler and much more fun. Day trips are great for getting it out of my system, as well as music from around the world. My boyfriend and I even started a project (currently on hold) to “eat our way through Europe” locally, visiting specialty restaurants. The difference is all in my motivation and my attitude. This is why it’s important the diagnosis come from an expert–you. How about it, which do you “suffer” from?