Ms. L forwarded this to me, enjoy :)
Unlocking The Wanderlust
Submitted by Howard Hudson on Tue, 2007-01-23 14:37.
Ever wondered where you're going in life? I suppose we all do sooner orlater, unless everything is perfect. I've been thinking about all thetravelling I do, of making new friends from Italy, Spain, Flanders:wondering if it's one priceless experience after another or more of a series of costly diversions. Costly in the sense of time, and if these friends arearound for the long haul or are simply transitory.
Many of my friends are settling, marrying and having kids – but for now I'm still enjoying the wandering. More and more though I'm questioning the motivations. One of these was an idea put in my head by an older woman: that all we ever do is swap one prison for another. She had moved from the badgering of her mother to the bullying of her husband at an early age, so she was always forced to compromise. We've lived totally different lives but her words seem to have become part of me. Will I ever be satisfied? Why do I always feel the need to escape?
People talk about biological clocks: tick, tick, ticking away for womenaround my age. Ok, so I'm not getting any younger and I don't want to be a Charlie Chaplin dad, but I'm thinking more about a wanderlust clock. Where to next I think: but is this wanderlust or restlessness? Should I keep pushing the boat out? This many questions means it's time to hole up or cut loose.
The problem is that I keep doing both. Like flirting, flitting from one place to another is like dipping your toes in the water and never going swimming. It means nothing unless you really get in. Total immersion is an addiction: learning a language, finding your niche in a foreign city, and really getting to know the locals and their culture.
But like relationships, when do you know you've found the right one, that you've found something that will last? You try, you fail. You try again, you become more cautious or more bold, depending on your experiences. You find a place or person that feels right, that keeps you calm but also on your toes. But after a time they change and you realise you need to evolve with them, keeping up with their pace of change… unless you set the pace. But then you're the one who's always restive, which is as paradoxical as it sounds.
restivec.1410, restyffe "not moving forward," from M.Fr. restif (fem. restive)"motionless," from rester "to remain" (see rest (2)). Sense of "unmanageable" (1687) evolved via notion of a horse refusing to go forward.
Rome encapsulates a lot of this, beautiful as it is. Visit for a week and you'll have a great time. Live here for a year or two, and you'll feel it getting under your skin… like a chilli pepper itch. Scratching is oddly satisfying for a while but you wonder if it'll always feel that way. I said to Mia, my assistant, the other day how this place is "fantastic yet frustrating as hell". She replied: "Damn, you got the definition I've been looking for for the past 10 years". So will Rome just be another stop-off, like London, Florence, Brussels and Barcelona? Is the prison a state of mind, like a little black cloud thatfollows us around? More importantly, does a person or place exist that could settle all the restiveness? I've got a sneaking suspicion that it's as much a sign of the times – of being part of the Easyjet/Erasmus generation – as something in my mind.