July 16, 2015

The One Thing to Pack when Wanderlust Calls.


Mario Mancuso

When I am packing for a trip, whether it is a short weekend road adventure, an overseas escapade without an end date or globetrotting for a few weeks, I always get to a point where my mind is riffling through scenarios to make sure I packed everything I need.

Clothes, shoes, comforts, an open mind and…what am I forgetting?

A good run usually brings any oversights as I seek ultimate packing fruition via the endorphin fix.

I was running one of my favorite trails that twists through the meadows, mountains and trees of Tahoe, days before I was leaving for eight weeks in Europe when my mind drifted away from material items I needed to pack. My every thought started to be fully consumed by the need to make a promise to myself.

First, there were a few questions that needed to be answered before I could solidify what the promise would be. A deep pant as I reached the top of a small hill and looked towards the clouds and beckoned this thought: Is a wandering soul destined to be alone forever?

Knowing my upcoming trip would be filled with adventure and enlightenment from cultures, people, and places, I found myself in a moment of dark introspect. Does my desire to wander, travel and explore dictate a lifestyle where I will be alone forever?

I thought back to an amazing guy who appeared in my life a few months before this trip. It is hard for me to admit, but I think the fact that we know I was going away created an expiration date for our relationship. We spoiled sooner than anticipated. I still care for him and think things could have been different if adventure hadn’t called, but that is something I’ll never know. Maybe I am not willing to let go of adventure just yet.

Why do drifters have such huge hearts?

My heart wants to be filled with life, experience, adventure and, yes, love too. Having so many places that call my heart, I find it hard to always give enough to a person who wants to stand next to me. Adventure tends to sneak up and pull me away and while my heart really liked what was happening next to me, I needed to know what that adventure had in store. Maybe the curiosity of what is out there keeps my heart so big.

Can we infect others with our love for people, places and culture?

Whether I am out adventuring or spending time in what is considered home, I want everyone around me to feel passionate about people and places in their life too. I think I almost expect people to be willing to embrace people, places and cultures. Maybe our desire to dive so deeply is too much too and fast at times.

Should we settle at some point?

Settling down and creating a routine crosses my mind at times. Other times it really stresses me out. Deep down I think it will be a part of my life at some point, just not right now. The wild side of me hopes that never happens although my bank account probably wouldn’t mind. While I very much want someone by my side, I’m not ready to slow and start growing roots. Maybe I haven’t found something, somewhere or someone, that would make me want to settle. Wanderlust keeps me from physically settling, which might also also be the cause for my wandering heart.

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel. A desire so strong it is irresistible. We cannot resist the experiences that allow us to understand our own existence. For us, travel is too appealing to resist.

So, what do I need to promise myself?

As I turned into the meadow, looking at the mountains in the distance, my breath filled with crisp air as my feet pounded the ground and I felt a moment of enlightenment and bliss. The next thought that crossed my mind answered those questions I was so desperately trying to answer. I decided to work on this promise to my wandering wild heart…I will do my best to never let anything or anyone change my pursuit for happiness.

How do you pack the pursuit of happiness in a suitcase?

I think the overall reminder to pack the right mindset for the trip ahead was the fruition I needed. There might be moments where I need to adapt this promise, patch it to keep working and maybe eventually change it for something different somewhere along the way.


Author: Brook Bentley

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

Photo: Mario Mancuso/Flickr

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