The Madness of Wanderlust
Wanderlust is a heavy, maddening, exciting, infuriating beast. I’ve discovered a rekindled connection with Jack Kerouac and his itchy leg, the one that needs to feel the pedal beneath it, the weight forced down to increase speed into some unknown direction, heading west or east, doesn’t matter. Just out, onward, on the road.
Apparently there are studies that say you inherit wanderlust as a gene from your mother’s side. That would explain a lot, since my mother always had a free spirit, wandered over to America and around the land, always needing somewhere else to go, to belong, to feel home.
I’ve realized now that home has nothing to do with where you actually live, where you are. Home is a sensation of satisfaction. And every now and then, in order to find it, you have to leave it. Home is the entire world, the space within myself, within wandering hearts that find a moment’s peace. It’s not a permanent, fixed thing.
It’s the act of travel itself. I can go to the same place I’ve been a thousand times before, but it’s the going, the move, like Kerouac says, “the one and noble function of our time” that matters.
Every now and then that devil appears and whispers to get out of here, that itchy leg, that flight response. The draw of the endless ocean, the open vast miles of possibility, the excitement of undiscovered shores. The adventure of the unknown is always calling to me, and all the excuses and blinders of real life are like weights, keeping me just heavy enough to flounder a few inches above the surface, when I should be like a jet boat, speeding forward, making waves.
Perhaps it is my inevitable lot in life to be the struggler, always experiencing the journey, always on a new quest, rather than the hero who’s finally come home. That home is the end and beginning, where I start and return, both with a new story to create and an old one to tell.
What a mad life am I living— the ordered, designed, scheduled madness, struggling against the creative inspiring madness, fulfilled by this stream of consciousness that Jack himself would turn to in search of those moments of clarity.