Wan·der·lust: A Strong Desire to Travel

Getting lost to find myself


Jamie Wanzek

An unforgettable Sahara Desert sunrise in Morocco

Rachel Lightner, Opinion Editor

Everyone has that certain something that makes them tick, that satisfies their desires and keeps them coming back for more. An endless search for fulfillment and pleasure. It’s what you wake up thinking about and fall asleep dreaming of. For me, that certain something is traveling. The saying “I was bit by the travel bug” is an understatement. How I like to phrase it is the desire to travel is seeping through my veins and pulsing through my blood. It was passed down to me through a mutual family lust to see every inch of this world and create every connection possible. My mother always taught me that a stranger can be turned into a friend with a simple hello, and I made that my mantra throughout life. I am a full time student, part time worker, club president, and volunteer within the community. Regardless of how many positions I hold or the work load I have, my sanity is obtained through traveling. Whether it is on a weekend road trip a few hours away, or living in Europe for four months, exploring is my form of happiness. I feel most alive when I’m adventuring to a new place, into the unknown. The idea of discovering a foreign place, culture, or person is the thrill of it all, and it resonates deep inside me.

The experiences I have when in a new place make me feel most alive. Everything is at a heightened perception, a clearer reality. Walking through a cobblestone alley in Spain, church bells sounding off between the stucco walls, a gentle breeze from the Mediterranean sea whisping through the streets, I feel every emotion engaged. Riding on a camel’s back through the stillness of a black Sahara night, billions of stars dancing overhead and the only plausible sound is my heavy heart beat and the camel’s hoofs gliding through the orange sand, I feel more alive than ever before. These are moments that remind me of why I travel.

I tend to hear people say, “I wish I could travel more,” or “If only I could afford to travel.” My response to these comments is this: You can do whatever you want with your life. It is yours to make. If you want to run away to a new place, do it. If it is money holding you back, work hard and save every penny you make with the determination and lust to get to your destination or reach your goal. As cliché as it sounds, the only thing stopping you is, well, you. If it all seems overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, look into Sierra Nevada College’s study abroad program, University Studies Abroad Consortium, or one of the numerous travel study courses available like Sights and Slopes of Japan or the Service Learning trip to South Africa.

It’s easy to get into a comfortable cycle, especially living in a relaxed place like Tahoe. Days pass without realizing, and you catch yourself feeling stagnant. Everything feels numb. Don’t let this feeling pass unnoticed. Make a change. Shake up your cycle. It’s so important to experience traveling, especially in college. This is a time where you can explore and create. Find inspiration. Find yourself. Never stop exploring. Get out there and live while you still can.