Some say it stems from restlessness, the inability to stay in one place. Others argue that it comes from an insatiable hunger to learn and experience as much as possible.
I’m not sure what the source is for my wanderlust, or if it is the same for every trip I take. All I know is that I have been bitten by the travel bug if, in fact, one exists, and I have zero intention of resisting the urge it gives me to explore.
The only treatment I am interested in is travel and travel often.
I grew up in a homogenous, suburban town in Louisville, Kentucky. Pleasantville is how I describe it. Within this town, or bubble, everyone knows everyone, the majority of people look the same, and you live a happy life with little cause to worry.
It’s certainly not a bad way to live. In its simplicity, it provides a beautiful design that would satisfy most individuals. But I came to learn at a young age that I’m not like most individuals.
What most people find confusing, I find enlightening; what most people find strange, I find compelling and what most people find terrifying, I find exhilarating.
Fear of the unknown is not foreign to me, but it is also not an inhibitor. It entices me. Encourages me to take a step closer to the edge.
All I need is someone telling me not to do something – that I couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t do it – and before you know it, I’m jumping off the cliff, pushing on the gas peddle or boarding the plane to a country I know little about.
It’s like bait. A tempting, delicious, risky piece of bait hanging right in front of my nose, demanding my attention.
Ignoring it is not an option. Denying it would mean starvation, deprivation of my main source of energy and happiness – passion for life.
So at the age of 18, I bought a camera, took the bait and ran.
I escaped my bubble and explored the mountainous region of Limpopo Province, South Africa where I taught children how to use eco-friendly laptops and walked in the path of lions. I went to Dubai to go off-roading in the Saharan desert and discuss the importance of civic engagement when combating the Millennium Development Goals.
I spent two months in London researching unreported stories in neglected parts of the world for an award-winning production company and spent my weekends traveling to abandoned castles and historic European towns.
After two years in college, several thousand dollars in scholarships, and three trips abroad, I was addicted. I wanted, I needed, more.
So I flew to Chile and ziplined across the Andes, drank endless amounts of wine and learned about the media in Latin America. After that, I sped off to Turkey to visit the Hagia Sophia, cross the Bosphorous Strait and promote a strengthened relationship between NGOs and the media at an international student conference.
By graduation, I knew that no stationary job would satisfy me. It would only lead to boredom and insanity. Without any job prospects, I picked a city in the U.S. that was close enough to home but would support my cravings, and moved.
For two years, I have lived in D.C., and for two years, I have continued searching for a new, exciting path that would take me overseas. My love affair with travel and experiencing different places and cultures has only strengthened with time.
I am ready for the next adventure.