Wanderlust, Getting Older, And The BBC

I’ve always had a bad case of wanderlust, a desire to travel and see other places in the world. I’ve had a bit of the travel bug, ever since I was very small. I come by it naturally — my father has it too. (He used to joke that he joined the Air Force to see the world, and he saw Flin Flon.)

It’s always been there, but sometimes it’s stronger than other times. It comes and goes. Sometimes, it’s so strong, it’s hard to describe. When I have it bad, it’s like a weight or a pressure on my chest, an actual physical feeling. Sometimes, it’s like a nervous energy, like that “spring fever” feeling people get in spring where they need to get outside or they’ll go mad.

I’ve been feeling it a lot lately. I don’t know what triggers it, but it starts off a cycle of talking about other places and daydreaming about other places and reading about other places. I get this twitchy feeling of needing to get away and go somewhere. I start talking about living in other countries. I read about other countries, and resorts and places to stay and cities in other countries. I look at job listings in other countries. I listen to the BBC World Service.

When I lived in Japan, I listened to the BBC World Service late at night. It was the one time in my entire life where that feeling of wanderlust was satisfied, and I felt like I was part of the world. I would lay in the dark and listen to stories and requests for songs from other people out there in the world listening to the BBC World Service, and I felt connected. I felt like I was part of things, and that I belonged there. I had a feeling of being this tiny speck on the planet with a connection to other tiny specks on the planet, and it felt great.

Most times, when the travel bug hits me, I get a little obsessed. Fortunately, these days, these fits of wanderlust are fairly short-lived. I dive into looking at this stuff, I talk about it a lot, but it passes in a week or two. I listen to the BBC, but it doesn’t last long.

It’s one of those incredibly ironic twists of fate that I married someone who has absolutely no interest in living abroad, of adventures out in the world. He’s a homebody.

BDH has told me, whenever I start on one of these cycles of wanting to get out into the world, “No.” He tells me very patiently, I might add, each time I raise the possibility of living in this country or on that island or whatever, that he has no interest in moving, thankyouverymuch. I think he knows that the passion will burn itself out soon, and it’s mostly idle talk anyway. He lets me dream and obsess and chatter, knowing it will pass in time.

The problem is, I’m getting older, and I am beginning to feel some twinges of regret twined with the travel bug. I’m starting to feel bummed.

I know that my life is (statistically) half over, and I haven’t done some of these things and been to some of these places. And the older I get, the less likely it is that I will ever do it. When I was younger, there were so many possibilities, and I was mostly fearless. I WOULD get up and go somewhere, given the chance. It was a real option for me. Now, the possibilities dwindle, and I get more comfortable and less adventurous. I’m no longer brave. I know I will likely never live on a tropical island somewhere. I won’t ever sail the South Pacific and explore. I won’t live in a cute flat or a cottage somewhere in Ireland or the UK.

I’m not unhappy with my life, don’t get me wrong. I have a good life going here. I just sometimes dream of a life I wish I had lived out there in the world, and it’s kind of sad to realize that it probably won’t happen. When I was young, it felt as though it was all possible.

I guess that’s what happens as you get older.

Oh well. I may not travel the world, but I have the internet to satisfy my wanderlust a little bit. I have air conditioning and creature comforts and a comfy chair, from which I can look at places live, in real time, that I only ever dreamed about. I still have the BBC World Service.