Wanderlust and I had a decently close relationship even before I was introduced to the official term through Yes and Yes. Traveling – and it’s more localized cousin, exploring – and I have been tight since my very first flight as a 3-year-old immigrating to the United States with my family.
I had always associated travel with family, closeness, and childhood comfort. Probably because I near-exclusively traveled with/to family from toddlerhood through college. One, or the other, of my parents were always with me. My brother a fixture to travel as luggage. A myriad of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents awaited at the other end. That week during sixth grade at science camp? A banana slug kissing anomaly (that, and I was with all my classmates and teachers, so it felt like family). Those overnight trips with my youth group to summer camps and winter conferences? Again, like family. Besides, at the end of all those trips, I came back to my parents and a welcoming home with a familiar dinner on the table.
It wasn’t until I turned 23 when I did the wanderlust thing for (semi) real. I went to China-China (as opposed to Hong Kong-China; the only China I knew thus far was a 12-year-old memory a couple miles into Shenzhen). With a bunch of people I had never met previous to the trip. We went to Beijing, the Great Wall, Qingdao, lived in Taiyuan, traveled to Pingyao, Xian, and Thailand on our holidays.
And then, during our 8-week long Chinese New Year holiday, when everyone else went gadding off to India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore? I did a solo trip back to my old haunts and people in HK.
Then, when our stint in China was over, I spent some time exploring this great expanse of States: Colorado for some fun in the snow, Florida for some fun in the sand, Seattle for some fun in the Pacific Northwest mist, Washington DC for some fun on the Mall. San Diego and LA a few times. Snowboarding in Tahoe. Las Vegas. A road trip to Portland.
I’ve been back to HK a couple more times too, but in general, the travel bug from that China year has tapered off. I don’t have as much a desire to roam the world, hiking and sleeping under host family roofs, as I did back then. I like my own bed, and my own roof. I like home.
So is there something wrong with me? When nearly every other person of my age/education/colored-collar occupation dreams and saves for that big trip somewhere? Am I missing something?
Ok. I lie. There are only a select band of people that take adventure travel seriously. I guess I just hang out with this band more often than the fans of Disney theme parks and all-inclusive cruises. I am also a compare-er. Why don’t I have the need to hike to Macchu Picchu? I don’t really want to go snorkling in the Great Barrier Reef. And in all honesty, I can live without traveling the entire length of Europe on the Orient Express.
I am ok with saving my money for a comfortable, early retirement. A retirement where I can really travel. Ha!
Note: Actually, I do want to see Macchu Picchu and the Great Barrier Reef with my own eyes, and REALLY want to go from Istanbul to London on the OE. I give myself a lot of excuses though, money being the foremost one. I make enough to live a comfortable lifestyle, save and invest, give to charity, AND contribute to my parent’s income. Those things are important to me. Apparently, more important than travel. So I really can’t complain or compare. I am doing the things I want to do. I am accomplishing the goals I want to accomplish (with the exception of losing weight, which belongs in a separate post – nay, separate BLOG – entirely; and getting married, which is something God has more control over than I do).