It should come as no surprise that travel and writing are two of my favorite things to do. Why else would I commit to voluntarily writing in this blog every week? The more I travel, the more I want to travel, and the more I write about travel, the more I want to continue documenting my experiences.
Both my travels and my writing fuel my wanderlust, but even beyond that, there are so many things that I see or experience every day that strengthen my desire to see the world. Here are a few that come to mind:
Entertainment (Books, TV, Movies)
Where do I even begin with this? Books, TV and movies give me wanderlust on a daily basis. It's a constant struggle not to book a ticket every time I read an amazing book or see something that appeals to the traveler in me on TV or in the movies. Cheryl Strayed's Wild (both the book and the movie) now has me intent on seeing Crater Lake and the Pacific Northwest. Author Jhumpa Lahiri's novels always transport me to Kolkata and make me want to explore more of India. And any movie that takes place in London or Paris is a constant reminder of how much I love both cities. Then there are the travel TV shows, which I consume like a parched person who's just been given a bottle of water: Parts Unknown, The Getaway, No Reservations, The Layover... basically any past or present television program connected to Anthony Bourdain makes me want to book a ticket. Like I said — a daily struggle.
Some people eat for nourishment and to survive. They aren't particularly interested in food but they know they have to eat to live. They also know what they like and usually have no interest in trying a new cuisine or learning about the origin of certain dishes. I don't understand these people. Sorry, but I don't. Food is another one of those things that gives me constant wanderlust because I am always curious about what and how people eat elsewhere. I also just love trying new foods. Sometimes I like what I eat, sometimes I don't, but that's part of the adventure. Even something like eating a hamburger makes me think of where the good burger places are in different cities or what the equivalent of a hamburger would be elsewhere. And if you can't travel to a new place, you can at least transport yourself there through food.
Growing up in South Florida, I became accustomed to having one season: all summer, all the time. But then I moved to New York and was dazzled by fall, bundled my way through winter, embraced the colorful flowers of spring and felt the freedom (and sweat) of a New York City summer. It's seeing how the seasons change in New York that makes me want to see how the seasons change in other cities around the world. One of my fondest travel memories is driving around the Cape Peninsula in South Africa during their spring and seeing all the protea (a flower indigenous to South Africa) sprouting everywhere. It was such a colorful and vibrant time to be there and made me wonder what the country was like at other times of the year. The same goes for seeing the seasons in many other cities and countries — spring in Japan, winter in Austria, summer in Brazil and fall pretty much everywhere.
I'm not sure when I started loving architecture but I imagine living in New York had a lot to do with it. Somewhere along the way I started noticing and appreciating buildings, both old and new, and how they're designed. Not only do I notice them, but sometimes they make me think of other countries or places. South Florida, where I was born, tends to have a lot of Spanish-style homes, and so growing up I always wondered about the architecture in Spain. When I finally made it to Andalucia and saw the similarities, I then wanted to see what homes were like in northern Spain and in the west, and so on. Then there are the cities that charm me immediately through their architecture — Paris being one and Stockholm being another — and strengthen my desire to keep traveling and observing what makes each city and its architecture unique.
I have mentioned in the past that one of the random things I love about traveling is watching the daily life of people in different cities and countries around the world. But, in particular, I really love watching daily life in cities. Having lived in one of the largest cities in the world for so long, I like to see how other city folks live, or at least wonder about how they live. There are some commonalities that I think exist all over, particularly in pedestrian places with mass transportation, but then there are all the things that make each city unique. And that's part of why I love to travel — to observe, to notice the differences and to appreciate how life is lived somewhere else. So even when I'm not traveling, I'm living my own life in a city and wondering about how life is lived in others.
I'm sure there are so many other things that give me wanderlust, but these are the ones that have the largest impact on me and my insatiable desire to experience the world.
What everyday things give you wanderlust?