First Wanderlust

I remember a French Philosophy course I took in college, one that changed the way I read books and wrote words. The professor was tough, I had a lot to prove, and I was eager. We were reading Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. In this story, a man who leaves his life’s work to reside in Venice for a bit due to a sense of wanderlust.

When I read this word, I became hypnotized by the combination of letters. Poetry made sense. Music made sense. Semantics made sense. All of it was beautiful, and I didn’t really know what it meant yet.

I went home after class and looked it up in the dictionary: Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world. It was this moment when I came to realize that my life made sense too. I have wanderlust, not just as a momentary feeling that some might acquire, but this is in my blood. This is what has been bothering me for years. I cannot settle, and this is okay, because I simply need to see the world.

Can you remember a moment in your life when something has struck you so hard, your world started to make sense? These moments are why we are here, I believe. We are alive to make sense of our surroundings and to put meaning in them.

Can you guess where I’m going next?



  1. For me Thomas Mann has never been the person to associate Wanderlust with, his other works are rather ‘stationary’ in my opinion. On the other hand I associate especially Hermann Hesse with that word, or maybe Goethe – regarding German authors. Wanderlust in its original sense does not only refer to feeling the urge to travel abroad, but also the joy in just walking around in nature, hiking is (still) one of the favorite things to do in our free time. Sorry for rambling about semantics 🙂

    Right now I have one of those times in my life where nothing makes sense anymore. These are also the moments that define us as well, when you have to try to find a way to make sense of your life again.

    1. seriously replying my own comment. while being on a 600km road trip today I actually thought about the word ‘wanderlust’ and realized that the english word ‘wanderlust’ might be German by origin, but it does have a different meaning when you actually speak German. There is a different German word that might describe the feeling of having the urge to travel, to be abroad, so deeply that it actually hurts just thinking about staying where you are because you need to be somewhere else: Fernweh.
      and now I shut up.
      Wherever you go, be safe.

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  2. I had moment four years ago when I first left home. I was always super attached to my family and friends in Brazil, but then I moved to the Bay Area and started trying new cultures, making new friends, taking care of myself and even realizing who I really was and what I really wanted. I am a gypsy =P I belong to the world. Since then I have visited some different countries and I’m about to start working as an actress in a cruise ship that travels all over the world. Can’t wait for it. I know I’ll always miss my hometown and SF but I also now that they will always be waiting for me.
    Just so you know, you have inspired me to not feel guilty about what my heart is telling me to do. Being away from home sometimes doesn’t mean that I love less the ones who stay. It seems that you have great bonds back home and your wanderlust hasn’t changed it.
    Thank you Ashley =)

    Ps.: Loving your blog

    1. I really feel like moivng to NYC after my final exams next year. The powder blue of your shirt plus your red lipstick work perfectly well together!xx miss annie

  3. Guadaluep · · Reply

    For me it was something similar to yours, but in a broader sense. It happened when I first came across You, Me, and Charlie. I always knew I was different, but I thought of this as a negative thing. I thought I was a loser because I was more interested in reading books and drawing pretty pictures than going out and partying and getting drunk. Don’t get me wrong; if you enjoy doing that, it’s fine, but it’s just not my thing. When I clicked on a link to the YM&C website, my life became much clearer. There were actually other people like me! There were people who want to learn and travel and read books and create beautiful art. I finally felt like I wasn’t alone. Now all I have to do is find people like this in real life. 😀

  4. As someone with four taottos, NOT getting one done because you’re not 100% certain is a very, very wise thing. (I don’t regret any of mine, but I can’t imagine living with one I hated.)

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