We are a generation characterized by our glorification of wanderlust, a word so overused and over-though that it has been stripped of its beauty, emptied, exposed. A word degraded, perhaps, much as a view is rendered moot through the repetitive action of opening. It waits, arms flung wide and again, receiving the flocks of would-be dreamers, hopes pinned on avoiding the inevitable: themselves.
Yes, this is the church of our modern malaise. We, tentacles of roaming millennials, reaching for something we know surely must be there but can’t quite find or grasp, slippery. And so photos are taken, splayed like calling cards, their function at best a surrogate memory, at worst, mere proof of passage. We have loved the world for its value as a prop, selfie-stick sublimations, the breadcrumbs of our decent left for next years crop of seekers, hearts still idly pinned to the hope that happiness is only a voyage away.
But let’s take a step back. It’s true, of course, that people have always travelled. Yet, I can’t help but feel that this is somehow new– the sleepy-eyed and un-documented voyages of yesteryear have been re-written, replaced by the roaving quests of the over-educated and under-inspired. The maladie of the errant — this is new. And perhaps we all feel it to some extent, that building, billowing pressure sneaking further into the conscious reaches of our lives the longer we remain in one place, a chant that grows louder in the dark: the longer you stay, the longer you will stay. Stuck. Stagnent. It stands on the scaffolding we’ve built for it along the way, the scaries of another looming Monday morning, the fear of meditation, our inability sit still and just be alone with ourselves.
And so the question becomes, where did it come from? Perhaps it’s the idea of home that has become untenable, replaced by itchy soles or souls. The perfection of a white linen bedspread, princess and the pea, this your mind speaking from under the layers you’ve laid down to cover it up. Two choices: Roll over, or run.
Perhaps the only “home” we can appreciate anymore is the one seen from across an ocean, a continent, as if down a long highway shimmering with the mirage of a perfection afforded only by this far-off vantage point, lost when standing too close. Home has become a construct of distance. For this generation of vagrants, the footsore roamers, perhaps the proverbial “heart” once associate with such a notion is, and can only be, wherever they are not.
So we all trudge on, warm hearts and cold feet, disenchanted yet somehow hopeful, souls wide-shut, still clinging to the belief in an answer lying just around the bend. We, army of dreamers, eyes closed to the inexorable truth underlying our grid-lined lives, the underdeveloped, the overexposed. We, lost in this rambling game of find-and-seek passed off as wanderlust– a slight of hand, or of heart, which, instead of giving value to our voyage, has served only to render the word as impotent as the act.