Sunday, February 5, 2012


With all the interstate driving I do for my teaching positions and Army responsibilities, you’d think I’d satisfy my wanderlust.  Sometimes I feel like the quintessential wanderer going wherever the wind blows me, a drifter passing through town, even a nomad; but unlike a Paleolithic hunter or Mongolian warrior, “on a steel horse I ride.”  Of course driving across state lines from one gig to another can become rather routine and dull after so many years and it isn’t exactly the romantic kind of travel that wanderlust conjures.  I’ve visited (and lived in) a few countries abroad, some of them exotic from a Western point of view; I’ve written about these experiences on this blog. Yet I still long for that special place: somewhere on the other shore or beyond the next dale.  Given my name, Viator, I’m cursed to keep trekking on, and on, until I step off the last train, relinquish my baggage on the dusty platform, and finally set foot on “the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns.”  I suspect my wanderlust is not so much about a τοπος, a piece of turf; rather, the odyssey I’ve embarked upon leads through darker and more labyrinthine pathways than the terrain beneath our feet.  Should finances and schedule allow, I hope someday to make another trip to Japan, perhaps one to South Africa, and definitely a return to Turkey and Germany.  But I’m also a wayfarer in another sense; like Joseph Conrad’s Captain Marlow navigating his way up the Congo, or Petrarch’s ascent of Mont Ventoux in the fourteenth century, my travels and longing for other lands are part and parcel of an inward journey.  My wide eyes betray a restless heart.