What is Wanderlust and How Can I Cure It?

When you think of the word “travel,” most people think of going to a faraway place by catching a bus, train, plane, or driving for hours outside of town. They are overwhelmed by the thought of saving money, clipping coupons, and living off of ramen just to see a new concrete jungle. However, once they come back, they are suddenly overcome by the “travel bug,” otherwise known as wanderlust. But can wanderlust only be fulfilled by going away? Is there a way to satisfy this craving for adventure without leaving the confines of your own town? I would argue that you can.

The definition of wanderlust by the Merriam-Wester Dictionary site is a “strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.” What this definition doesn’t capture is paired illusion of feeling stuck where you are, both in your location and in your routine.

https://burst.shopify.com/photos/city-woman-exercising-outdoors

https://burst.shopify.com/photos/city-woman-exercising-outdoors

When I came back home from studying abroad in South Korea for a semester, I almost immediately felt trapped. Suddenly access transportation was slow, I couldn’t make it to the other side of the country without a lot of money or even more time, and the burden of a new, rigorous quarter at school made it impossible for me to mimic the freedom I had almost 7,000 miles away from home. “Wanderlust” had become a prison that no one warned me about in the pre-departure presentation months before.

One thing I’ve learned in my time in college is when life gives you lemons, you don’t just make lemonade; you make lemon tarts.

There are three options you have when it comes to handling wanderlust. One is simply ignoring it, which is kind of like eating the lemons. The second, the lemonade, is taking a vacation during a break and exploring as much as possible. My favorite option is the third: adopting the explorer’s mindset, and turning everyday life into an adventure. Lemon. Tarts.

https://flic.kr/p/cwd1Q9

https://flic.kr/p/cwd1Q9

What do people do when they travel? It’s not all about the Statue of Liberty, the Space Needle, the Reading Terminal Market, or Time Square. People look for new experiences that they don’t normally have in their day-to-day routine. By acquiring the explorer’s mindset, that there is an adventure hiding everywhere, you can work on your wanderlust every day. Take a new route to class, check out new restaurants, or go on a date in a new neighborhood. You don’t have to become a tourist to shake up the monotony.

Humans are resistant to change, and I’m completely guilty of this. My first few months home were just me stuck in my old routine before traveling to Korea. But one day I decided to visit a friend in a neighborhood I had never been to. Then I went to another part of the city for happy hour with my best friend from middle school. And yes, I did make a couple of bus trips to nearby cities during long weekends over the summer. As time went on, I found that the bugging wanderlust that had cornered me was getting what it wanted.

I’m not saying that you don’t need a big trip to Europe or a backpacking road trip across Southeast Asia. At some point, you will want more than whatever you’re doing. If watching videos on YouTube is like a bandage, scaling your hometown is a painkiller, then that big trip abroad is the trip to the doctor’s office.

I hate to say this, but wanderlust is completely incurable. In my travels, I’ve met people who have explored the world and still feel that pang to keep moving. The best strategy to keep wanderlust at bay is to constantly challenge yourself to see new places, experience new things, and maintain your thirst for knowledge. And maybe bake a tray of lemon tarts.

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By Jada Gossett

Jada is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is majoring in Psychology and working on a Certificate in Creative Writing and Publishing at Drexel University. After traveling to South Korea for study abroad in the Fall of 2016, she has undertaken a new side venture as a lifestyle blogger determined to get college students to get out of their comfort zone. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter or Instagram. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings.

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