wan·der·lust – ˈwändərˌləst/
a strong desire to travel or wander
Julie, Amanda and I on one of numerous US shopping excursions.
As a previous Instagram post promised this blog post was inspired when 2 of my best friends, Julie and Amanda were traipsing around Paris (my all time FAVOURITE city) and another good friend, Andrew was off in Washington, DC (another one of my favs) and New York City. I was totally jealous… I imagined the sounds of accordions playing while eating the world’s butteriest croissant sipping a true macchiato (not that reverse Starbucks kind) on my way to the Impressionists at le Musee d’Orsay. About 3 seconds later I though, “Angela… you live in Kenya where you can kiss giraffes, stand at the edge of the Great Rift Valley or swim in the Indian Ocean.” To be fair, it’s not like I’ve been on a year long holiday but still…
Pondering in the tea fields of Limuru in the Great Rift Valley.
I have one older brother, Peter or as I have called him since I was 9, Bo (I’m not entirely sure how this came about). I love him a lot and he bails me out of a lot of trouble but you could definitely say he was the more obedient/less adventurous child. If you ask my mother, I was definitely the “wild child.” The one who didn’t listen, whose desire to see how far I could push caused her nights of worry and anxiety (I probably still cause her that).
She always tells this story of when I was a kid, she dropped me off at a birthday party or something and I jumped out of the car and without so much as a goodbye I ran off. My mom forever quotes this as evidence of how I don’t care about home and don’t look back. After high school I chose the furthest university I’d been accepted to, just for the sake of going somewhere. So I would be the one who would run off to Africa, the land of endless dangers and unknowns (and might I just say *gasp* EBOLA!) for a year instead of having a sensible job at a bank.
Allison, me and Christy in front of Buckingham Palace circa 2010.
That being said, as I’ve gotten older I’ve definitely felt more strongly the cost of leaving home. There is a greater realization of what you are leaving behind, the kids that are growing up, your parents aging and life moving on without you. Sometimes I think I’ve misspent my early and mid 20s but then I think I’ve heard the chimes of Big Ben. I’ve been awed at the expanse of space where the Twin Towers once stood, marveled at the Arc de Triomphe from the top of the Eiffel Tower and stood where gladiators once battled for their lives 2000 years ago. I’ve seen my reflection in the same glass as the men who signed into effect the end of World War I. I’ve trekked after chimpanzees, kissed a giraffe, swam with dolphins and sea lions and seen lions makingbaby lions 10 ft away. Even as I sit here in Kenya, I’m dreaming of where I’ll go next (I’m picturing sampan-ing in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam or riding a dodgy train in India). Remember this ad for the Discovery Channel? The world is just awesome.
Hiding in a turret built in 1595. Fort Jesus, Mombasa.
Another definition describes wanderlust as the desire to escape or likened to an obsession, more than just enjoying travel. This idea leads me to reflect perhaps on the deeper meaning of why I am so strongly compelled to leave. Am I running from something? Is my life at home so discontenting? Am I afraid of settling down and being “responsible”? It’s like a permanent case of the grass being greener on the other side. Straight haired girls eat bread crusts to get curly hair (at least I did).
If I’ve learned nothing else this year, I think it’s been a big lesson in being content in any and every situation (Phil 4:11). I know God’s got it and I’ve realized that me worrying about it or trying to plan the “perfect” next 5 years of my life likely isn’t going to work out the way I want it to. Not that I needed a tonne of help in being laissez faire but I’m just going to enjoy the ride, to lean into the dips and curves because my life is headed exactly where He wants it to go. As a disclaimer I feel like I’ve written a few of these carpe diem-esque, live in the moment etc. posts… but it’s hard not to feel that way when you live in the land of lions and savannah and Kili. Why not jump in that waterfall or eat that grasshoppa? You might never get that chance again.