Wanderlust is opportunity. It is the yearning to simply go; to leave without an anticipated return date, or determined destination. By formal definition, wanderlust is the “intense desire to travel about.

” It is an overwhelming need to escape, traverse, and rove. The ten letters of the word “wanderlust” glide off the tip of the tongue blissfully, sharpened by the quiet hiss of the hard “s” that trails behind the other letters; a sound similar to the whisper of the engine of the airplane that has not yet departed. It is the type of want that has accordingly whispered incessantly in my ear, plaguing, persisting, persuading; turning every road into opportunity, and every such opportunity into necessity. Wanderlust itself is raw desire. It is the stack of Conde Nast travel magazines worn at the seams from incessant browsing.

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It is the ever growing list entitled “places to visit.” More importantly, it is the chance to begin again; to drift aimlessly, and stumble upon the idea of self re-creation where it would be least expected. In foreign lands, reputations are unknown, as are names. The remote nature of these places and the absence from the usual social circle is the outlet for the exploration of a person’s true self. There is the freedom to become a different person entirely, or to re-examine the depths of the soul.

The discovery of self is not then characterized by the study of a road map, but rather by a bent and twisted pattern, bumpy yet beautiful in its design. Travel would never be sought after if wanderlust was not so impatient or urging. Wanderlust is also liberation. With experience comes the understanding that the mind is the camera that captures the essence of any scene. Digital photographs and video footage rob any trip of sincere appreciation. The focus must not be on the still shots to later be printed and framed, but on the gnawing sense of wanderlust that caused the plunge into the unfamiliar.

Travel is not defined by gimmicky tee shirts and pictures; it is also not preserved by the superficial capturing of moments. It is the remembrance- simply by memory- of the way a person felt when present in that place. For those who wonder if memory is enough to retain a vivid image, the only advice that can be given is: make the moment unforgettable. A life devoid of such innate desire to see this world is one of complacency and monotony. Remaining in the same place without leaving at least once to explore the borders beyond home is a sin. Every person is walking a different path, following a different road; however, paths may never widen and roads may never diverge if boundaries are not pushed.

Horizons may be expanded only through new experience and encounters. Wanderlust calls to the traveler in me. It beckons and gestures impatiently to unfamiliar places that beg to be explored. Wanderlust is anxious and unrelenting. Wanderlust saves souls.