Achtsamkeit Das Bunte Leben

What’s the Deeper Meaning of our Wanderlust?

yearning, wanderlust and longing... a landscape with the ocean on the horizon. ©Johanna Ringe 2020
What stands really behind our longing for distant shores? Is it wanderlust? Is it restlessness?
  • Is this wanderlust the desire to discover the world, to see places we have never been before, places we might know from books, photographs, or films? Just to find out what it is really like there?
  • Maybe this wanderlust is the desire to absorb as much of this world as we can – before we are too old, too weak, too poor, or otherwise limited, and then to indulge in sweet memories in days to come?
  • This yearning to travel might just be the wish to fulfil our oldest childhood dreams
  • Is our wanderlust the desire to fill the emptiness of our lives, so that we do not have to feel it, so that we do not have to make fundamental changes?
  • Or is this wanderlust the attempt to distract ourselves from the boredom of our everyday life (with just those three weeks of slight adventure, once a year)?
  • Perhaps this longing is the simple wish to discover new places that seem inviting to us, so that we may spend more time there in the future?
Or is this wanderlust actually the desire to be somewhere else? To be far far away, and just not here?

Whatever your personal answers might be right now – it makes sense to ask yourself these questions. (Maybe not necessarily every year when it comes to annual holidays. These are usually planned from a recreational point of view. There might not even be any yearning involved in that planning, apart from that for a good night’s sleep.)

But whenever we are gripped by a yearning, whether it be wanderlust, HOMESICKNESS, or heartache, it is wise to take a scrutinizing look at it.

To look closely at what happened in the exact moment the feeling rose in us…or in the moment just before that. It is advisable to recognize as clearly as possible what we are truly longing for:

  • Is it a specific place?
  • Or a particular feeling?
  • Certain people?
  • Rather the escape from here, from this place, these feelings, and these people?
  • Is it the escape from the here and now, into a glorified past or a glorified future?
  • Or is it the dawning realization that some major change is necessary and inevitable?

You may not like these questions. Maybe you want to dismiss them as useless; you may even want to run away from them. That is your prerogative. We are all free to feel our wanderlust (or homesickness or heartache), and free to deal with it in our own personal way.

But when our yearnings become agony, then it is high time!

Then questions must be asked, and our answers, however painful and unpleasant they may be, will show us the way out of the torment, out of the pain, into better days.

Change is the only reliable constant in this world,
and the sooner we accept this, the easier it will be for us to walk through life almost unscathed.

Questions are a good way to initiate change. (If you want everything to stay the same, then for crying out loud do not start asking questions!)

On this note I wish for you to always have the right questions at hand, whether it is about your longings or any other topic!

Heartfelt, wherever you are,

Unterschrift Johanna (c) Johanna Ringe 2014 ff.