In my uni days, I used to be pretty into the goth scene. I don’t think I ever graduated from goth school, but there was a song by a band called Nightwish entitled, “Wanderlust”.
The reason I’m starting this post in this rather unusual place is that it it is the melancholic passion, the ‘romance’ of some goth music that I feel can be captured in the word. The essence of ‘wanderlust’ is about a flightiness, a need to be always moving, a reluctance to commit or put down roots…
All of this suggested to me at the time, and still does to some extent, that people who spend their lives travelling and moving carry this melancholy. They carry a sense of dissatisfaction, of not belonging in any one location, of constantly needing something more than what can be provided by staying in one place.
Here I am, doing things I never thought I would at age 20: stable 9-5 job, getting married, looking at buying a house. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to travel.
Some people keep score – it’s been a while since I’ve done a proper count. For fairness, I’m only counting places I’ve spent more than 10 hours.
Let’s see: The UK, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico, The US, Morocco, Japan, India, Russia, Czechia, Israel, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain (including the Balearics and Canaries), Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, Monaco, San Marino. 23. Hm, I thought I had been to more!
Next on the list are probably (in no particular order): South Korea, Thailand, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Sweden, and Greece. That’s 11 – enough to be getting on with!
My fiancé once taught me about the types of freedom. Freedom from, and freedom to. Travel is a great metaphor for freedom – and for many, myself included, I believe there is a combination of both sorts here.
We seek freedom from too much commitment, from repetition, from the pressure of a particular society to be a certain way – and even freedom from the cold, dark winter.
We seek freedom to experience new things, to grow in unfettered ways, to be our true selves, to interact with people in new ways and share our newfound selves with them.
And at a shallower level, FOOD. SUN. CULTURE.
I love getting lost in a new city.
I love walking past people going to work, coming from work, going out to lunch with their friends – pretending I know what their lives are about.
Is it because we don’t (at least, I don’t) give ourselves the space to imagine these things in our daily lives that makes travelling seem so exciting? Like becoming a cultural voyeur.
We recently went travelling in the south of Spain, in Andalucia.
It was only my second time on the Spanish mainland, and this was very different to the previous visit – just like visiting different parts of the UK provides very different experiences. My first time in Spain, we went to Barcelona and Valencia; two parts of Spain that also differ somewhat from each other, although Valenciana, the local dialect of Valencia, shares many commonalities with Catalan, the language of Barcelona – and therefore culturally there are stronger similarities between the two than with other parts of Spain.
Similarly, the three cities we visited in Andalucia: Seville, Cordoba and Malaga (accents omitted for ease of typing) were all different, but much more closely tied (sitting in the same ‘province’ of Spain).
On both occasions we visited during politically hot times – Barcelona when Catalonia was about to have its “illegal referendum” on separating, and Andalucia when it was about to vote for its new representative (although by all accounts nothing will change there – a good thing because the alternative populist candidate (the Spanish equivalent of a Tory) apparently stood for change, and not a lot else).
I’ll close with a few photos of Seville, brought to you slightly late from my insta.