Wanderlust Like Whoa

This is going to be a post about wanderlust.

Elephant. Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by MJ.

My Kansan friend just got back from a dream trip to Tanzania and Kenya. Listening to her describe her trip made me feel like a recovering cocaine addict listening to someone describe the intricacies of a recent high. I’m painfully jealous, and yearning for an adventure.

For the first time in years, I’ve had to live through my friends’ trips as I keep my mind focused on science and school. When I moved back from Ecuador, I went off my travel addiction cold-turkey — it hasn’t been easy. As we caught up and she told me all about the colorful textiles she saw, the giraffes she fed, and fun facts about the size of an elephant’s reproductive organs, she also mentioned a moment she had while visiting Serengeti National Park. It’s a moment I know all too well, but have gone too long without…

As she stood, looking over the landscape of the Serengeti, impossibly far away from home, she found herself suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. It was one of those experiences that comes unexpectedly while traveling, when an intense, pure sense of appreciation for the world just hits you like a charging rhino, and everything around you becomes insanely beautiful. In these moments, you just feel lucky. Grateful. Small in a great big, mysterious world. If you’ve ever traveled and had one of these moments, you know what I’m talking about. I miss that feeling. I crave that feeling. It is, all bundled up into one moment, what traveling is all about.

Sunset in Serengeti. Tanzania. Photo by MJ.

With less than a week before my 29th birthday, I realize that this was the first year of my life (at least since I’ve been able to walk) during which I did not even board an airplane. Yes, folks, Travels with Tavel has not left the country in over a year and it doesn’t feel right at all. I don’t even want to admit it, but it’s true. I almost feel ashamed, like I haven’t been true to a major piece of who I am. But, I know this is a temporary withdrawal. Needless to say, my wanderlust meter is binging loudly, and something’s gotta give. (My “Places” Board on Pinterest is NOT helping!) I don’t think my soul can take this much wanderlust for much longer! So, what am I going to do about it?

The bus I took from Tumbaco, Ecuador to Quito, Ecuador, hours before ending up in the hospital with a parasite. Trust me: with the stomach ache I had that day, this was NOT an ideal form of transportation!

Well, I don’t have many options. My funds are low, applications are due soon, and my priorities have matured in such a way that I feel guilty even contemplating throwing the money down for a travel escape — but is the guilt that much greater than the wanderlust? Nope. Never!

Wild horses with Cotopaxi Volcano in the background. Cotopaxi Province, Ecuador.

Luckily, there is one form of escapism that I can afford right now, and that’s daydreaming. For $0.00 I can take a day-trip anywhere in the world… in my mind. Trust me, I know this will only get me so far (technically, 0 miles away from where I am now), but I’ll take it.

29 won’t be like 28. I WILL go somewhere – mark my words. Right now, I’m trying to weigh my options and figure out where — if I can only afford one trip in two years — WHERE I should go. How does one choose?! My soul is craving the usual spots I’ve been craving for years — Southern Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Tanzania  — but life always influences the wanderlust list, and new people, friends’ Facebook photo albums, or random conversations often lead to new travel cravings. Suddenly, I find myself craving the Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia, Turkey and Kenya more than ever before.

Wildebeests. Tanzania. Photo by MJ.

So, I need your help. If you are experiencing wanderlust right now (and I KNOW you are!), please share your wanderlust list. Where, if anywhere in the world, would you want to go right now? If you want to suggest a place for me to go, or recommend a place you’ve been, please do so as a comment. This blog might be all I have for a few more months, so wherever it is you want to go, please take TwT with you.

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Filed under Africa, Life Stuff, School, Travel, wanderlust

8 responses to “Wanderlust Like Whoa

  1. Great post. Top of my wanderlust list is Rome…I know it’s crazy given how much time I’ve spent in Italy that I’ve never been there, but I haven’t. I would also love to go somewhere warm and tropical over the winter months…Costa Rica would be ideal. I don’t think you should feel any guilt about traveling. It’s an important part of who you are and it’s necessary to have balance. I think you’ve earned the right to wander as you please!

    • travelswithtavel

      Excellent response, with much needed affirmation that I deserve a trip 🙂 Thank you so much Chloe! Oh — and for the record, Rome never gets old (so to speak – har har). I don’t think there’s ever a day I don’t crave Italy…

  2. Katy

    All Molly talks about is the size of various animal’s sex organs, she’s hooked!

  3. I’m right there with you on Croatia or Morocco. Even Thailand!! Or India. Anywhere where the food is good and the views are beautiful. (P.S. Happy birthday!!!)

    • travelswithtavel

      Thank you Elaine!! Yes… Those are all so exciting! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put my camera down if I go to Morocco though! I’m drooling just at the thought… Isn’t it fun to imagine?!

  4. MJ

    Seeing animals in Africa only makes me want to see MORE animals in Africa. I’m going to start saving my pennies so I can see the gorillas in Uganda.

    Mexico, Turkey, and Morocco are on my list because of the textiles. There are many reasons for me to visit those countries, but the potential to come home with an amazing rug is certainly a motivator.

    Thanks for sharing some of my pictures!

    • travelswithtavel

      Yes!! Thank you for contributing your list and your photos, MJ! Your photos MADE the entry 🙂 So glad you got to go to Africa. Gorillas in Uganda though? Sign me up! I also have to agree that, now that I am a little older, I do think about all the pretty things that could adorn a home some day… Next trip, I’ll definitely have to pick something up. Now I just have to figure out when and where that’s going to be…


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