They say that curiosity killed the cat, but only the members of this top secret, sometimes twisted club can tell you that it was wanderlust. I mean, would this cat even be out prowling in the first place if it wasn’t for the irresistible lust to wander that ran through her veins? No, probably not, and this is the very disease that has recently plagued my system. You will notice that I have referred to it as a disease, and that is no accident or mere cynical blathering on my part. A few nights prior, while I was finishing my novel, I picked up a copy of the dictionary to look up the word cancer, and this is what I found:
‘a malignant tumor or growth caused when cells multiply uncontrollably, destroying healthy tissue.’
OK, fine. Aside from the fact that the cancer had been personified as ‘malignant’, as if it strolled around with a giant hatchet looking for innocent people to hack up, I swiftly moved on to the next definition that my research had led me to look up: wanderlust:
‘desire for traveling: a strong desire to travel’
And I found myself wandering whether there really was any difference between the two. I think it is safe to say that desires can be deemed uncontrollable. I mean, there really is no explanation as to why people feel so utterly compelled to do the strangest things unless we take into account the underestimated and overwhelming power of a desire. And I’m not talking about the desire to eat a hamburger or the desire to down a glass of ice cold lemonade on a sweltering day. I’m talking about the desire to run far away as fast as physically possible. The feeling of restlessness and claustrophobia that can encase a person so tightly that they want nothing more than to sprout wings and fly off into oblivion. And yet, it still amazes me how both cancer and wanderlust are essentially killers. Something so evil and something so beautiful are undeniably the same thing – and just the mere knowledge of this is enough to destroy me.
I find that if I think about it too much, I can actually visualise the walls closing in on me like the thick storm clouds pressing down over London right this very minute. (Before anybody asks, I am perfectly sane.) Instead of feeling safe or protected in my own home, I actually feel cheated that there is a big, beautiful world out there just waiting to be explored, and here I am sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs, staring blankly at a droning television screen, but to what avail?
This condition I have diagnosed myself with, wanderlust, means that I have a continuous, restless, relentless desire to be set free. What ‘freedom’ is, or what could be classed as freedom… I’m not sure. …And I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand what to do to free myself.