I recently read and reblogged a post from Thought Catalog titled “What a Life of Travel Does to You.” The author was spot on, describing the uninterrupted urge self-proclaimed wanderlust junkies feel on a near daily basis. Price alerts on dream destinations are set, the bucket list continues to grow, and blogs are enviously read. If only I had the money, free time, and so on.
I get it. As a matter of fact, I was accustomed to this lifestyle not so long ago. While teaching in Korea and backpacking Southeast Asia, I was living a traveler’s dream. I flew to Shanghai on the weekend, took day trips to Seoul, spent a month in Thailand because I could. That soon ended when money ran out and homesickness grew nearly unbearable. And just as my adventurous time abroad began, it just as abruptly ended.
And here I find myself so-many months later, thrust back into the “real world.” Come June, it will be one year since I’ve crossed an ocean. And that feels like an eternity. Although I would love to continue galavanting across the world, I realize that, at least for me, it’s unrealistic. I moved back home to be closer to friends and family and pursue a career I’m passionate about. Do I regret the time I spent abroad? Absolutely not. Can I continue to live for months, or even years, thousands of miles away from loved ones? No.
So this is the predicament I find myself in. Closer to home and pursuing a career I truly love, yet still battling the urge to book a one-way flight to Florence. What to do?
Keep discovering. Upon further investigation, I have found that my own backyard is full of hidden gems just waiting for me to explore. I’ve made efforts to visit friends in cities across the nation, from New York City to Louisville. I’ve hiked trails right here in Illinois (and it’s more beautiful than you might think). I lived in Chicago and fell in love with neighborhoods, restaurants, and cafes. I’ve attended a number of concerts. I’ve taken photos for no good reason.
Is it the same as standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or Colosseum? No, not quite. But I hope to continue feeling that indescribable rush, whether it happens when I visit Florence again or see the Grand Canyon for the first time.
A present lack of travel won’t stop me from exploring in the future. When I have a steady career and income, I’d like to travel more once again, perhaps a week or two at a time. But for now, the little discoveries satisfy just fine.