A strong desire to travel
It starts to unravel a burning cord that is never satisfied
It never reaches it’s destination
There is no destination
There is only travel
For me wanderlust was ignited in the early 2000’s. I used to read this book to my boys
I wanted to see all the places that the family had seen and which are so beautifully described in Alison Lester’s whimsical story. I wanted to see them with my family. Yet that wasn’t to be.
About the same time as we bought that book something else happened that would put a kybosh on my travelling dreams for a very long time.
It was like this.
I was about to talk in front of a group of mostly strangers – it was a very important talk and I was no public speaker. My Mum was upstairs with the kids, she was looking after them for the evening and seeing they had their dinner etc as I and my husband were leading the meeting which we were holding in our shed.
I was waiting, pacing.
My husband had come home from work, was supposed to be having a shower and would be over in a minute. I was to greet people as they arrived and then the meeting would start when he came back.
The minutes ticked away.
As our shed filled up with strangers (come to be part of a newly formed protest group at a large scale development happening in the vicinity) my stomach was filling up with dread.
I would be fine once it began but I couldn’t begin until he arrived.
Where the hell was he?
Finally I stalked back over to the house to hurry him up.
I found him in the kitchen with Mum.
Explaining how to cook sausages. They were dishing up the meal which my husband had taken over the making of – to my boys.
It hit me in that moment how much Dad had hid Mum’s mental cognitive decline of late.
For someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease the symptoms can be fairly innocuous. The person looks the same, behaves more or less the same. Most small chain tasks are still performed with relative ease.
Cooking which is a long chain task, requiring many steps, was now out of Mum’s league. It had happened fast.
I had the dinner mostly prepared yet even just the last steps was beyond her (though she had nodded confidently and reassuringly as I left a half hour earlier) Mum didn’t even know that she had such limits to her abilities.
Mum had been a wonderful cook all her life. Now she was not.
It was a lot for all of us to take in.
This was the night and that was the moment in which I ran into several walls at once.
They had suddenly sprung up around me.
Mum needed me.
And it stayed that way for a very long time.
Apart from sporadic and brief dashes away I would not travel for another ten years. To do so required more planning then even the magical powers of wanderlust could cope with – or rather more guilt and worry over how everyone would cope in my absence.
Wanderlust can’t cope with that sort of pressure – it wandered off to dance with someone else instead.
In 2014 both my parents died within a few months of each other. It was a terribly sad and harrowing year and for many reasons. A lot of work stress as a major project came to a close. My eldest left school. The list goes on.
2015 began on a slightly lighter note and wanderlust danced back into my life.
My children were now busy – one with important senior schooling years. The eldest now tied up in work.
My husband was also tied up with work.
Because my work is done from home and can be carried out almost anywhere at least for small stints of time (even longer if planned) I was not tied up.
And wanderlust was playing a very tuneful song.
In 2015 I began to travel, not much just a few trips west solo by motorbike and up into the Carnarvon Gorge for camping and hiking. A couple of days at a stretch.
A long ten day motorbike trip with my brothers rounded out 2015 – we did it for Dad who had always wanted to do travel by motorbike and had never ended up doing so.
Touring by motorbike is a world of new experiences, adventure and freedom. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing and it paints the world into a whole new frame.
Touring for ten days lifts the roof off your head. It blew down the walls I had built up so long ago and I saw through their self created barriers.
Wanderlust kicked into high gear.
By the end of spring in 2016 I was riding away for a few days, once up to a week every month, venturing deep into the outback on long stretches of road where I barely saw a car for long stretches of time.
I loved it and purposefully chose to live 2016 as I had no other year of my life to that point.
I chose to move, to go and to see as much as I could. Below is a clip from my personally Instagram which inspired me at the time.
In between I worked furiously to keep up with all I had to do work wise and luckily I am blessed with a husband and family who cheered me on and never made me feel even the slightest bit guilty.
Because guilt would have stopped me otherwise.
Guilt and anxiety always halt wanderlust in it’s tracks. These toxic emotions dilute the magic and build cages around people.
I kept guilt at bay by counter thoughts.
I’ll just do this for a year I thought. Then I’ll settle down and go back to being more…normal.
Wanderlust is an energy all of its own.
“Lets go here” it will whisper whilst I dutifully peg washing on the line and sort through my paperwork.
“No – I’ve got important things to do and I can’t be doing that – go away” I will primly state – out loud and into the thin air around me if that is what is required in order to deliver the right degree of firmness.
“Oh but let’ssssss” will come the sibilant refrain.
And then funnily enough – something will come up and …
I really was going to behave this year.
I wasn’t going to journey so much.
I love my home.
I love my family.
Yet the wanderlust is pulling me.
And fate is colluding
The universe conspiring
And I’m off again soon.
My motorbike needs a service and a fault corrected in the on board computer. It can’t be done locally. So I’m off to ride the hinterland hills and coast roads to get it done at a BMW service centre at Caloundra.
A couple of days – just a couple of days.
I was going to behave.
But then we (my husband and I) are off to see Bruce Springsteen in February at Hanging Rock, catch up with friends in Melbourne and drive the Great Ocean Road.
I was going to behave but it’s just a couple of days – a few – maybe five.
Then I’ll be back and settle down.
But then in March my sister booked us tickets to see Adele with her in Brisbane.
I was going to behave but…
It’s just a couple of days but speaking of longer.
The best time to see Uluru and Alice Springs is in April. My maps and time planning tell me I would only need several days and a good motorbike (which I have).
My husband is looking at bikes – he is getting his bike licence. He knows if he doesn’t get one I’ll be off again with a grin on my face and he will be left behind.
That’s the thing – you can’t wait for your partner to catch up. If I had done that I would never have done anything or gone anywhere. Instead you have to follow your dream until it becomes clearly a dream worth following to others.
Be the change – don’t whinge about wanting one 😉
And then there are a great many other plans coalescing out there in the Universe – some may come off – others that I haven’t even dreamt of might be gathered in and open up.
One never knows – it is certainly exciting though now I’ve realised this thing about wanderlust and how it isn’t me – it is surrounding me.
My husband has caught it.
My wanderlust is infectious – it is infecting him.
And I’ll tell you why.
To see a person with wanderlust is to see a free soul with shining eyes and a happy smile. Freckles and sunburnt noses and excitement that churns the air around them as they prepare for travel.
Being around that sort of energy is contagious.
It is fun.
And when others begin to see how things fall into place.
How easy it all can be.
Yes, one can work but free time is
Which is the way it is supposed to be
When they stop wondering and watch the Universe conspire and coordinate matters so efficiently that it seems to just
Wanderlust is not just a feeling
It is a space
A space of pure freedom and magic where anything can happen but you have to get out of the way and just let it
I was going to behave…
A few pictures from last years Lightning Ridge trip – a fascinating place to travel to.
Lightning Ridge is an opal mining town in NSW.
You can see other motorbike stories here and under the travel section on my blog (hopefully there will be a great many more one day) and pictures on my personal Instagram or the one linked to my blog.
Sorry this has turned into a frighteningly long post 😳