What is a Wanderluster?
According to Wikipedia, wanderlust is defined as what the above image says: a strong desire to travel and explore the world. In sociology, wanderlust is defined more specifically by someone who is wanting to have more cultural experiences, instead of merely wandering and traveling to relax.
The above picture leads to a wanderluster who is blogging about her life traveling the world and immersing herself in different cultures. I only just recently discovered her, but her blog is great and resonates strongly with me, since I long to experience many of the things she’s been seeing.
How am I a Wanderluster?
My wanderlust began as “sunlust” in my childhood, when I would go with my family on vacation to other states and different parts of my home state. This was more for the relaxing time spent, instead of trying to have cultural experiences. However, it planted some thoughts in my head to make me want to learn about other lives and experiences. The Red Mill of Waupaca, Wisconsin started my interest in learning about history and what came before me. Visiting relatives in South Carolina, Florida, and Washington State all showed me that there is so much in this country that exists outside of the house I was growing up in.
My next big travel opportunity came in 2008 when the Rainbow Alliance that I was a part of at my first college would travel to a regional conference in February. The MBLGTAC Conference was always held at a major university, so while on one level it was showing me different campuses that I didn’t have the passion to reach out to earlier in life, it also showed me different cultures even in the same region of the country that I had known for two decades. That conference has brought me to:
- Champlain-Urbana, IL (2008)
- Bloomington, IN (2009)
- Madison, WI (2010)
- Ann Arbor, MI (2011)
- Ames, IA (2012)
- East Lansing, MI (2013)
- Kansas City, MO (2014)
The last conference I went to was close enough to Kansas that I crossed the border and very briefly got to see Topeka, KS. Each new city brought a different perspective to me about my own life, and new experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy otherwise.
One particular conference experience had me cross through the city of Gary, IN. I had first heard about this city while watching a college production of The Music Man, in which one of the songs is about the city. I had done a little bit of research before I passed through, originally getting excited over the fact that the city was a theater reference for me, but eventually it became more about the possibility of a paranormal experience, which I also have something of a passion for. The feelings I had while just driving through some neighborhoods, and the emotions that I felt while quickly taking in the abandoned downtown main street were enough of a moving experience that I’ve always wanted to go back and see the city at night.
This interest continued to build and finally culminated in my permanent move from Wisconsin to Vermont. At it’s core, Vermont is a beautiful state, with so much to see and explore in a tiny amount of space.
As I continue to live in Vermont, my interest in finding new places to see continues to build. I have a Manchester, New Hampshire trip, a Portland, Maine trip, a Hartford, Connecticut, and a Providence, Rhode Island trip all in the works, and I presume I’ll have seen all four before 2017’s end.
The most famous fictional traveler I know, The Doctor, has been the solid rock that keeps my wanderlust growing. His TARDIS (a time machine that travels in space) stood as my primary avatar as a symbol of my continued interest in wanting to go out and explore more that the world has to offer.
What places do I want to explore, and why?
I have an old, physical diary with a few pages of places I want to explore. On the first page, I’ve listed that in each “place to explore” I wanted to see:
- A famous “attraction”
- A theatrical production
- A Nightclub
- A local dining establishment
- A local coffee shop
- Any local, notable Snopesters that I’ve connected with
This reflects on my personal interests in addition to the broad concepts of travel for cultural sake.
Just for the sake of including it, here’s my current working “Places To Wander To” List:
- New York, NY (Having been here on a high school trip, I want to see this city through my more mature eyes and brain)
- Pittsburgh, PA (The setting for the US version of Queer As Folk)
- Boston, MA (So much of New England history has happened here. Also big Massachusetts place.)
- Portland, OR (For a while I wanted to move here.)
- Seattle, WA (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
- Miami, FL (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
- Myrtle Beach, SC (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
- Houston, TX (Near the setting for one of my favorite TV series, Reba. I’m also very strongly considering moving here.)
- Austin, TX (Another good representation of Texas.)
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Fransisco, CA (I’m stereotyping here, but this would be something of a pilgrimage for me)
- Palo Alto, CA (So much of technology is born here)
- Laramie, WY (To physically see the town made famous by a play, which they rightfully feel doesn’t represent them)
- Minneapolis, MN (This is supposedly like a sister to Madison, WI)
- Denver, CO (Originally wanted to see this because it was “near South Park” but now there’s so much more there)
- Salt Lake City, UT (I feel this is the place in Utah I would enjoy the most)
- Phoenix, AZ (I’ve been told that Pridefest here is the best in the country)
- Escanaba, MI (From my love for the stage play trilogy, beginning with Escanaba in da Moonlight)
- Atlanta, GA (Like Salt Lake City, I feel this would be a good place to start seeing Georgia)
- Las Vegas, NV (One of the settings for my favorite show in high school, Beyblade)
- Hong Kong (Same as above)
- Kyoto (This is the city where some of the central characters in the Beyblade anime are based on)
- Tokyo (Having been so into anime culture at one point in my life, I feel this is a given)
- London (I went here before I was able to immerse myself in so many British things. I want to go back, but as a Whovian)
- Paris (In addiction to being more aware of French culture nowadays, this was also a brief setting for Beyblade)
- Rome (Having worked for a self-proclaimed Italian restaurant, and this being a brief setting for Beyblade)
- Berlin (Both a few episodes of Beyblade, and my absolute favorite stage musical, Cabaret took place here)
- Moscow (One of the best Beyblade story arcs took place here)
- The Amazon Rainforest (I was obsessed with the game Amazon Trail for nearly a whole decade, this is another given)
- Czech Republic (As part of my own heritage, I want to see this country)
- Copenhagen, Denmark (Also part of my heritage, if I ever decide to emigrate from the US, this would be at the top of my list of choices)
- Scotland (Another valued part of my heritage)
- Ibiza, Spain (One of the hottest Nightclub spots in the world)
Added In December 2016: Now that I’ve been working in the hotel industry for two major hotel chains and multiple properties, I can say that working in hotels has taught me the skills and given me the tools to make traveling easier and more accessible to me. The “industry” likes to refer to itself as “hospitality” but I prefer to think of the term, “Travel Industry.”