wanderlust

man i have had so many thoughts swirling around in my head lately. going to have a ton more on this road trip/move i guess. it’s exciting.

i’m getting back in touch with my writer side. bought a few moleskin notebooks at CVS. setting aside time every day to write down words, phrases, loose ideas, song titles, etc. nerding out about words and etymologies.

i looked up the etymology of the word wanderlust today. it’s german—from the 20th century. i guess the word has an eventful history:

similar to wander-year—inspired by “the German romantic tradition of travel post apprenticeship, where students gained the chance to perfect skills before settling down to their trades.”

it also has this nature-y subtext since it actually translates to something like “lust” for “hiking.” i’m going to write a ton about nature during the next few weeks so let’s skip that for now.

i find it more interesting that its modern usage in german is less common and it’s been replaced:

English speakers are appropriating another contemporary German word to embody the craving for visiting far-away lands in the use of fernweh, which translates to “farsickness”– an antonym to heimweh, homesickness.

there's also this concept of sunlust vs.  wanderlust that comes up in sociologists’ work trying to explain tourism during the 70’s:

Sunlust describes those "vacations in which are motivated by the desire to experience different or better amenities for a specific purpose than are available in the environment in which one normally lives.” Alternatively wanderlust is described as the "basic trait in human nature that causes some individuals to want to leave things with which they are familiar and to go and see at first hand different existing cultures and places.”

since i wrote an EP about leaving home called homesick, maybe i need to write another one about going home called wanderlust. i think both allude to some kind of “search”—which is a word that turns me off but also makes me very self-conscious and hyper-aware.

i’m quick to tell people sometimes when they ask “what is your favorite city?” that they are all different and that’s not really a question i even know how to answer. it depends on the person asking sometimes too and how they’re asking. some people really just mean “what place do you miss the most?” or “what was your favorite thing that you used to do somewhere?”

others have a curiosity that leans more toward the subtext of: “it’s clear that you’ve traveled a lot for some reason. that you must always be searching for something. what city was closest to what you were searching for?”

but like i said, i’m not completely comfortable about this idea that i’m on some journey to find Truth And Happiness

if anything i think the “searching” part of things is the most uncomfortable part. that homesickness comes from a fear that you can lose touch w/ the idea of “home” and a denial that home stays the same, can be “found,” or can be brought back.

on the other end of the spectrum, wanderlust comes from a fear that the world is an endless adventure of trying to take new things in and process the differences and similarities of the human condition. but that this is ultimately very difficult and alienating--a bunch of psychologists link it to bipolar disorder or fleeing guilt. this thought catalog article about why americans shouldn’t move to europe comes to mind.

while at a romantic restaurant overlooking the mountains and the ocean, my latest ex and i had a conversation in big sur a few months ago about this. she said something along the lines of “i don’t believe when you travel somewhere for a few days, you actually experience much at all.” more or less that it doesn’t really count as a meaningful and worthwhile experience if you just go somewhere for a little bit and leave. you're a tourist no matter what. you miss the evolution, the monotony, the surrounding community of people and places who change but don’t really change.

i’m not sure i agreed with her at the time or that i do now. travel in itself seems like a chance to get glimpses and snapshots that can be mushed together into a larger picture of the human condition. and that a snapshot’s depth doesn’t necessarily discount its validity. sure claiming you’re from somewhere when you’ve lived there only a few years seems a little disingenuous to me. gentrification is depressing. travel comes with privilege. there's an alarming amount of people who move somewhere now and have no interest in understanding their communities or helping to make them better.

but i don't think that encompasses everyone. i think it's good that people with wanderlust are fascinated by cultural differences. seeing a waterfall makes people like me think about the kids who grew up near that waterfall, the stories that accompany it and how those stories probably make the essence of that waterfall hard to capture on a postcard and then sold for $4. the idea is that you're not just thinking "that's pretty. this is beautiful and exotic."

that's really just a visceral and reflexive response. i think the next layer of experiencing travel is subconsciously triggering yourself to make comparisons to where you’re from or where else you’ve been. "this place feels just like when we went to X. this food tastes better than Y back home. i didn't realize they had Dunkin Donuts in this state too."

but the layer of travel after that can be more rewarding when you’re exploring contrast--both participating in and being confronted by its implications. "how different would it be to grow up here?" "why is this place not like X?" "is it a good thing that this place makes me feel like a small fish in an endless pond?"

i'm pretty sure that most of my friends/family from home aren’t really sure if i’ll stay longer than six months. hard to know if it’s just them setting low expectations so as not to be hurt if i do move again.. or just knowing by now that i can be full of shit when i’m giving reasons about moving or staying. and that an intrinsic part of being close to me these days is dealing with my rationalizations for risk-taking, wandering, seeking “adventure” or change.

i need to go to bed soon--have not been sleeping all that much.

it seems weird but i think i’ve been doing this music stuff all wrong for a long time now. worrying too much about promotion and release schedules and finding the perfect band or playing a lot of shows or “making a career” out of it.

at its best (and maybe its worst) thick red wine is just me dealing with shit in life. writing songs that try to piece together who i am, where i have been, what i have done, what i have not done. having a band name is a pretty thin veil and i don’t really use the veil that much anyway.

if the “brand” of my art is just me writing long blog posts to no one again for a while, then that’s fucking okay. i don’t need to sell a ton of records or go on tour all the time or play a ton of shows. i can just be me and there will still be my words to communicate that experience.