Wanderlust: a very strong or irresistible impulse to travel
Fernweh: an ache for distance

I often have what can only be described as chronic wanderlust. Sometimes I get so desperate for space, distance, a new world or a new experience that I feel physically sick. For a long time I thought it was just a restlessness that needed to be stamped out of me. But recently I’ve come round to the idea that perhaps I’m just made to be a wanderer, a traveller. I guess it’s part of the reason why I want to study languages at university, there’s a quote from Schiller which says:

‘Die Grenze meine Sprache bedeutet die Grenze meine Welt’ The limits of my language are the limits of my world

I’m a true believer that in order to travel properly and to fully appreciate and experience everything that it entails, it’s important to be able to communicate in more than one language. As someone who has lived abroad and travelled a lot, I have seen the benefits of being multi-lingual - free ice-cream being one of them!

You could interpret the concept of a traveller slightly differently and call me a runaway or a coward. Maybe that has some truth in it. I’m also a day-dream addict, my head is never below the clouds and I am rarely fully present. Being in the moment, for me, feels like squeezing myself into a box when all I want to do is expand. So in someways I do want to ‘runaway’ from my life, even though there isn’t anything I should really want to get away from. Part of me wants to get away from voices and the pressure and responsibility that they seems to come from being in Bracknell. To settle, to create a home requires stamina, patience and responsibility. When I travel, particularly when I’m on my own, I have no agenda other than to get to my destination, I have no voices, no pressures…I can hear myself…I can hear God.

In this sense, my wanderlust might be a cry for help. A cry for intimacy with God. An open space reminds me of God’s greatness, a long stretch of road reminds me of life’s journey and standing alone on a busy street of a big city reminds me of our diversity and the beauty in humanity. I love the adventure that comes with travelling and the romantic connotations of a wanderer. Just the idea of gaining knowledge and experience, of meeting and communicating with an array of characters, engaging in their stories and entwining the strings of their hearts and lives with my own - it’s so exciting! In my mind God made this world in order that we might explore it, so I’m determined to see as much of it as I possibly can.

The restlessness is annoying though, especially when I can’t fulfill it. Tonight, for example, the desire for space and newness is so irrevocable that I find myself wandering aimlessly around my house, unable to focus on anything. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to connect myself with here or root myself to any relationship. I want to be free, I want to BREATHE!
Hopefully, one day, my fernweh will transform itself into heimweh and I will finally come home…I will finally belong.

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