Wander Lust

Part 3 in a series on traveling…

There’s a mental dichotomy I experience each summer.  Between the love of getting away and the love of coming home.  I was so happy when we pulled up to the house after our road trip to Florida last month.  Two weeks of fun was just the right amount, and I was ready for some “regular old stuff.”  Sleeping in my own bed, reading the paper, even doing laundry.  I couldn’t imagine wanting to travel for a very long time.

But two weeks later I found myself browsing Groupon for getaways to Europe and the Bahamas.  Dreaming of an even bigger and longer amount of adventure far from home.  I have this tendency.  A wander lust that is temporarily quenched when I do travel, and sometimes squashed, but only for a time.  Until the desire to see some place new, or just different than Kansas (insert Kansas-is-lame joke here), pops back up, and searching rental houses on vrbo.com becomes a nightly past-time.  I can’t help it.  I want to see the world.

This is what makes living in the very middle of the United States ok with me.  The knowledge that I can occasionally go elsewhere.  I love my life here – my neighborhood, my kids’ school, the college-town atmosphere and Lawrence, Kansas’ perfect size.  But I also know there are other places to explore.  Different (cultures) to experience and try to understand.  Cultural geography was one of my favorite college courses, and traveling, to me, is a natural continuation of that study.  (As well as enjoying a mojito on a beach – that’s like prepping for mid-terms, right?)  It quenches my curiosity, gets me away from the mundane, helps me understand the world better, and gives me an excuse to eat whatever I want.  And I get to do it with the people I love.  There’s just not much better.

Until I’m ready to be home.  When I long for the mundane again – the comfortable familiarity of daily routines and my own house.  Of lying on the couch watching a movie covered in my favorite throw blanket eating a bowl of frozen berries from Costco on a Tuesday night.  Just “regular old stuff.”

We left for Colorado two and a half weeks after we got back from Florida.  Not nearly as long of a drive, but another road trip just the same, and I was ready.  I couldn’t believe it.  Even after all the exploratory driving we’d done on our southern trip, I was pumped to do some more.  To see some mountains and do some hiking and need to wear a sweatshirt at night.  As before, we added on some extra sight-seeing at the end, not having had enough.  And as before we were ready to call it quits the day we drove home.  (Five people in one hotel room helps bring about the ok-we’re-done-now feeling).  The travel-home-travel-home cycle continues.  I guess the good news is I can have them both: the getting away from home and the coming back.  Thank goodness for cars and airplanes and Southwest Rapid Rewards.  And for a fascinating world, with a great big America to explore, and good old Lawrence, KS at its center.  Where you can find me doing the same old stuff until I get the itch again.  Or Groupon has a deal to Rome.

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