As a travel writer I am often told it seems as if I have done everything.
Ironically, I feel that many devoted travelers, never ones to sit back and rest on their laurels, are always focusing on adventures they still haven’t done; corners of the globe which remain woefully unexplored. Wanderlust is a glorious malady which afflicts some only temporarily, and for others it can be a lifelong pursuit of those places not yet visited or stories not yet told.
Last year when I published Kyle the Vagabond’s Top Ten Travel Moments of 2011 I was met with a deluge of support from people championing my desire to want to “do it all”. Thanks, but my attention remains focused on adventures which didn’t happen to make that list: Trek to see the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, experience the Northern Lights from the confines of a rural Lapland village, maybe enjoy a cafe au lait on the beaches of French Guyana, just because I can.
Sure, while trekking in Nepal, diving in the Philippines, and exploring the outer temples of Angkor Wat can all be checked off “the list”, I nevertheless feel as if the “haven’t done that column” will forever trump those things in which I have.
Stumbling upon this page for Carnival spirit cruises, I realized that I’ve never even been on a cruise. I’ve catered to throngs of cruise ship passengers from the fjords of Alaska to the shores of Hawaii, but I’ve never actually had a berth of my own, dined at the copious buffet, or watched the sun rise from my balcony over an endless blue horizon. I don’t particularly feel an overwhelming need to go on a cruise at this point in my life, but I nevertheless have no idea what the experience might be like should I decide I ever want to. There are geriatrics and children who have crossed entire oceans, whereas my blue water experience hasn’t even let me lose sight of land.
While the travails of maturing will eventually slow me down, although the photos and memories of past voyages will stay strong, there will forever exist a conveyer belt of wanderlists shuttling themselves through my brain.
Explore Patagonia on horseback, standup paddle on Lake Malawi, walk across Andorra, wear flannels and grow a beard in a fishing village in Nova Scotia…
Just as with cycles of the moon, our ability to travel and be stoked on the experience waxes and wanes in harmony with a number of factors: finances, burnout, health, family, and overall life stability. Despite the itch to roam being exacerbated during times of inactivity, devoted travelers must always know there will be other adventures on the drawing board, there will be other oceans to cross, and the uncertainty of corners not yet explored is the kindling to keep the flame alive.