American Wanderlust

wan·der·lust

ˈwändərˌləst
noun
noun: wanderlust
  1. a strong desire to travel.
  2. “a man consumed by wanderlust”

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When you picture yourself on your dream vacation, where are you? Maybe it is somewhere tropical, with palm trees swaying in the breeze and the smell of coconut in the air. Maybe it is a quaint country side with rolling hills and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Maybe it is somewhere warm and sunny, or somewhere lush and green.

Many Americans have travel bucket lists full of places over seas – Paris, Scotland, Ireland, Morocco – Somewhere exotic and faraway. But how many of us have ever considered exploring right here in our own county, or even in our own state?

My family and I spent sixteen years in the Caribbean living in what most people would consider a dream vacation location. We chopped open our own hand-picked coconuts, and bought seafood directly from the fishermen. We spent every December 26th on the beach just because we could. When it comes to vacations, my bar is set rather high.

My travel bucket list is pretty typical, and full of place I will probably never be able to visit, but it has very few, if any, United States destinations. Arizona certainly was not on my list. I, like so many others, never thought to consider my own country to be an exciting travel experience. I never expected the USA to be able to satisfy my wanderlust.

I spend most of my adult life on the East Coast states – Virginia, Tennessee, Florida – and I was so unaware of how different the other side of the country is. I had no idea views like the ones I saw in Arizona even existed here!

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After spending the week out west with my sister and her new family, I was blown away by their stories of travel and adventure and pictures of breathtaking sights. The craziest part is that my sister does not even have a passport! Sure, she and her husband would love to explore over seas, but there is so much to see in our own country, they could probably spend a life time traveling it and still not see everything it has to offer.

Amazingly, America has hot golden deserts, vast mountains, secluded lakes, larger-than-life forests, bustling cities, tranquil country sides, and salt-soaked beaches all within a few hours of each other. It has national parks and astonishing sights in nearly every state. It is so rich in History and beauty! Why is it that so many people that live here, my self included, have almost no desire to truly see the country?

How can we call a country ours when we have never seen it? How can we claim to love it when we know so little about it?

I have no doubt that my wanderlust will never be completely cured. There is always some where else to see and something new to experience. But now, I believe my desires to travel and see the world could be placated without ever crossing an ocean.

My sister asked that I charge you with this – Before you venture overseas to bask in the beauty of another countries, see what your own country has to offer. Explore in your own backyard. You might actually fall in love.

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