There is a profound sadness that envelops the entire being whenever it comes time to leave a place after a particularly lovely time. This is never truer than when one has to leave a faraway land and return home. The immensity of this unavoidable melancholy is often directly proportional to the length of time spent abroad and, in some cases, the distance between home and holiday.
It is a state of mind and being familiar to those of us with an insatiable wanderlust. And no matter how many times we fly away, how far we run, or where we go, the reluctance to return is never diminished.
It does not necessarily mean we dread going home to our friends and family, merely that there exists an unquenchable restlessness deep within us that gives birth to a constant desire to explore new places, take in new sights, and experience new things. It is a restlessness that can be quelled only temporarily, when we are somewhere new and exciting, collecting mementos and creating memories.
We return home with stories and souvenirs, and for a while, we are the stars of our own show, sating the curiosity of inquiring minds: where did we go? What did we see? Did we do anything interesting, or meet anyone intriguing? But of course, the questions eventually cease, and we are confined to revisiting the photos and memories and keepsakes on our own. That familiar longing – the longing to run away again, to absorb new information and immerse oneself in new experiences – sets in once more, and we find ourselves stressing over our schedules and finances, all in anticipation of the next great escape.
Much like a drug, travelling is an addictive pursuit that consistently produces an extreme high, and when the high inevitably wears off, we crave more. Unlike a drug, however, there is no known cure for such an addiction…well, except one: that is, to keep feeding it.
The world is so vast, and in comparison, we are but insignificant specks of life within it, pottering about and attending to our own daily affairs, often without a thought as to what lies beyond our homes, and the lives to which we have grown accustomed. There are many among us who, for various reasons, cannot afford (financially or otherwise) to travel. But for those of us who can – and this does not refer exclusively to the wealthy – it would be a crying shame not to explore the world and discover all it has to offer.
We never know what we may find, but should we (attempt to) traverse the wide expanse of this earth, what we find, whatever it may be, is exactly what makes travelling so worthwhile. The knowledge gained and experiences had while travelling are priceless, far superior to anything one can read in a book or on a website.
And sometimes, when you least expect it, you end up discovering something so amazing and precious, something that alters your perception significantly, something that, regardless of its permanence, changes your life forever. It is then that you will be glad you took the opportunity to travel.
So, go. Go out into this wide world of ours, and savour all that is in store. Take photographs, write down your observations, try everything once. Be a traveller, not a tourist; do your best to live like a local, wherever you may be. And above all: be free.