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Can Wanderlust be Stationary?

Merriam Webster defines wanderlust as “strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.” I had long assumed that wanderlust naturally implied travel to far distances, but does it necessitate a physical distance? Does it require land roving? If I consider my own opinions, I’d consider wanderlust the strong longing or inclination to continually explore anything unknown and curious. Can wandering be a more intimate, local preoccupation? And can it be intellectual rather than physical?

What if a naturally travel-hungry, culturally curious Go Girl finds herself wanting to stay in the same spot for a change? What if she realizes she’s enjoyed having the same address for a second year? How absurd! It can’t be!

Ah, but perhaps it can.

Nothing replaces seeing with your own eyes. No lesson can be learned better in theory than in person. No hypothetical understanding can replace the empathy of personal experiences. But it takes a lot of attempted humility to admit that my desire to experience the far and wide has made it easy to sometimes ignore the close and in between. Have I put too much emphasis on how much will remain unchecked from my bucket list that I’ve ignored the pleasures of the here and now?

It has been almost exactly one year after my first entry for Go Girl and I find myself asking myself why I’m still excited to explore Florida. Funny that the question for others would be, “Why are you in such a rush to leave?” For me, though, the inclination had always been to wander–yes, physically and over great distances–and accepting that I not only can stay but want to stay has actually required some meditation and deep exhaling. How many beaches have I not visited, museums explored, or creative communities joined? How many friendships have not yet hit their stride? How many paintings will remain imaginary or writings unexpressed? How many opportunities have I not yet appreciated?

There are creative, intellectual, and personal goals that have always been tossed aside in favor of travel and exploration. But perhaps I am at the (temporary and somewhat unfamiliar) point where my curiosity for the projects, activities, and relationships I could develop locally outweighs my curiosity for unknown lands. What equally powerful experiences could show themselves if I let myself stay long enough in one place?

Go Girls are not only vacationers, volunteers, and expats. We are powerful women, exploring and creating and expressing in all realms. Wanderlust is in our blood whether it pushes us onto a plane or into a new community. And how wonderful a feeling that is.

So now I ask: Fellow Go Girls and Wanderlust-ers, how do you balance the perpetual desire to explore with the potential to develop while stationary? Do you find yourselves constantly counting down until the next move or do you find that your times of pause and transition can be equally as productive? And, ultimately, can wanderlust be stationary?

Samantha Marangell
Blogger As a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Moldova ‘07-’09) Samantha appreciates seeing a new country through the host community and, when traveling, she looks forward to learning key phrases in the respective languages. She has just moved to the Australia after a year in the Czech Republic. She will reflect on making friends abroad and figuring out whether she'll finally stay in one place.

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