May 30, 2011


wan·der·lust/ˈwändərˌləst/: Noun: a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Last summer I had this idea to get a big world map to hang on my wall. I thought it was particularly perfect, seeing as my roommate and I are both of international origins (I'm an MK from Ethiopia, she's an MK from China), and we could even do something incredibly precious like putting a picture of our families with a string attached to their respective know? What I really wanted was to find an old, vintagey second-hand map buried somewhere in the depth of a crowded bookstore (that happened to be a great price) -- somewhat crinkled and yellowed with age; the blues of the oceans and pinks and yellows of the countries starting to fade.

But none of this ever happened.

Then last night, Madeline and I were walking home from dinner, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves that evening. We needed to run some errands, so I threw out the possibility of Wal-Mart, to which Madeline (who happens to be going to Palestine in two weeks) responded "Well, I have been wanting a world map for my wall..."

I stopped, right in the middle of the Corner. "Madeline!" I exclaimed. "I want a world map for my wall!"

"Let's go to Wal-Mart!" said Madeline.

And a taxi-driver sitting nonchalantly in his vehicle about five feet away started laughing at us.

Anyway, we went to Wal-Mart, and each purchased a $6 50x32" world map, which we promptly brought home, laid out on the floor and admired while drinking blue kool-aid jammers and enjoying Busta Rhymes' skillz in "Look at Me Now."

No, it's not the vintage wonder I had imagined. But I am still excited to put it on my wall and remember that, although I'm here now (and I love it, and I'm supposed to be here), my home and my heart are still there. I've learned to love small-town America, but I also love the coffee-smells and rickety taxis of Ethiopia and the bike paths of England. I love the crowds and clutter of the street life of a foreign country and getting to be in a place that you've heard so much about or that is so far away.

Some of you might know that it's my goal to go to as many countries as I am old. I'm at eighteen -- down by two right now, and although I really am excited to be here in Charlottesville for the summer, at the same time I'm itching to just go somewhere. Hearing other people's crazy summer plans coupled with a long trail of travel blog perusals a few days ago had me looking up flight prices to various locations around the globe on, thinking to myself...maybe I could go somewhere for a week at the end of the summer? Is it possible? Where would I go? Who would I go with? How much would it cost?

The thing is, this is probably is not going to happen. And maybe it is for the better. It's true that I love exploring, roaming around different corners of the globe -- but can I also be content with where I am right now? Traveling and being a foreigner comes easily to me, because it was how I was raised -- but what lessons and growth is there for me here in Charlottesville this summer? In an ordinary work day? These are the things that I'll be exploring this summer.

P.S. Ironically, the amazing Kaye Stansbury just let me know that she's started a blog about her summer project in San Diego -- and the blog's title? Wanderlust. Um, hello, girl after my own heart. (And everybody please stalk the heck out of her because she is just that wonderful and is going to have all sorts of adventures in the next few weeks!)

[image source, via Pinterest. Quote by Seneca]

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