There’s no way around it: I am, and will always be, a wanderluster. If my finances permitted it, I would be traveling to a different country every other week, unapologetically eating too much food in each of them. Being infected with the travel bug is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you have all these ideas in your head of where you want to go, and you’re always researching different cultures in hopes that you will eventually witness them for yourself. On the other, when you’ve hit the dreaded travel roadblock (aka you haven’t traveled in months, or even years), you grow so restless to such an unbearable point that the mere mention of the world ‘travel’ sends you into a frenzy. Frankly, you’re fed up with your everyday routine and just want to get the hell out of wherever you’re living. When you’re really desperate for a change of scenery, you peruse Google images for pictures of places you’ve already visited just to get that feeling again. And then, suddenly, you’re beautifully conflicted with nostalgia. Beautiful, because of the mind’s ability to associate an emotion (that’s oftentimes impossible to put into words) with a simple pixelated picture. A conflict, because that emotion is fleeting, as was the moment that you have etched in your memory.
And that is the story of my life right now. I’m restless, fed up, and itching to forgo my next adventure. I even purposely search for images of London just to feel nostalgic and briefly relive some of my favorite moments while studying abroad there. While I’m very well aware that London is not my home–and honestly, I didn’t even know much about the city or England before I went–I feel like a piece of me is still there. Naturally, that means that a piece of me is missing and I’m in dire need of getting it back; I must go to London. Since my departure on April 29, 2012, I’ve wanted to go back. I’ve spent countless hours on every existing travel site to find the best prices for vacation packages. I’ve made detailed itineraries and budget plans, and downloaded apps to get me ready for my big trip. I blocked out the naysayer in my head and told myself that I could make this trip happen, purposely disregarding the obvious hindrances: student loans, bills and the difficulty of taking time off from work.
I admit it: I didn’t take full advantage of London while I was there. Of course, I appreciated the opportunity to even go to a foreign place on my own and live there for nearly four months. But a part of me felt as if London would always be there when I was ready to truly explore it. However, I was naive in my thinking. The bright side to not doing and seeing all the things I wanted is that I have so much more to discover when I return. My experiences won’t be the same as they were before; I won’t have my friends whom I met in the program with me, and I most likely won’t be staying in posh South Kensington. And that’s completely okay. London will change me yet again during my next visit, but in different ways. I don’t know how, and that’s probably the best part. It’s the mystery of that city that keeps me so invested in it and my hunger for travel insatiable.
And I don’t mind that at all.