Wanderlust

Jordan Ricker - Senegal


July 17, 2012

I wanted to move.

Ever since I was born, I’ve been moving. I’ve never lived in the same house for more than three years of my life – I’ve lived in eleven houses at last count. My dad’s not in the navy, and my mom isn’t an ambassador. They’re divorced, which has led to each of them moving in their own lives and, being their children, my two younger siblings and I followed.

The constant necessary adaptation of this life caused me to have a strange fondness for change, and an expectancy for it as well. It has also caused a hesitancy in me to connect completely with things or people, as I am aware I will eventually be removed from them or they from me. Thus I fear to give too much of myself, lest I will have to leave it behind, yet again. To keep moving is to stay safe.

That unrest has created my deep-seated need to travel. I need to keep moving, to travel around and see what else is out there. The fear may be present, but so is the excitement.

I joined Global Citizen Year because of the opportunity it gave me to move, to travel, to experience strange and incredible things in far-off places I had never even dreamed about. I desperately latched on to this opportunity to keep that momentum going, not daring to think what would happen if I remained still and stagnant. But I’ve also come to realize that in joining GCY, Iam giving myself over to others. Totally and completely. I am staying in their house, in their country, and I will be giving part of myself to them. It’s strange, new, and terrifying. But I feel that it is a challenge that is both necessary and exhilarating.

My wanderlust seems so deeply personal, but I feel as if this idea of wanderlust is actually present in every human. This desire to see more, to do more, to travel is within all of us. It is a part of what makes us human. Now, I know this is somewhat of a grandiose statement to make, but I firmly believe it. I feel that wandering, moving about, aimlessly or not, is part of human nature. We were nomads for thousands upon thousands of years, and have only recently settled down because of agriculture. But the instinct is still there: keep moving.

So, I started wondering. Why do we keep moving? When we find something good or comforting or simply stable, why don’t we grab tight to it, and never let it go? Because we are never satisfied. It’s this insatiable hunger of humanity – to feed and feed on more. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking at this hunger in a bad light. In fact, I’m looking at it with a remarkable sense of wonder. Humans, in our own little way, are looking for truth. We keeping moving, even away from what is known and comfortable, because we are straining to discover the truth about ourselves and the limits of our knowledge.

A better understanding of my own small approximation of the truth is what I hope to gain from my Global Citizen Year.

What that truth is, well, that’s another journey.

Wish me luck!

Jordan Ricker