Thursday, December 02, 2010

Whatever you wish to keep

Originally uploaded by jc_strick

Yoga in Chattanooga

Boat kids are a lot like missionary kids. All of us are crazy gypsies for the rest of our lives. Some academics even came up with a name for us: third-culture kids. Because the culture we create is in between the two that we grew up conscious of. That’s one of the things we grow up with a continual awareness of: culture.

Most children, especially those growing up in the United States, aren’t even aware that such a thing exists. As far as they’re concerned there’s only one. Theirs. They are fish growing up not aware of the ocean. How can they be, when they’ve never seen anything else? But we missionary kids are aware, from the moment we cross that invisible boundary between the worlds, that culture is all there is.

Maybe that’s what keeps us endlessly questing among cultures. I look at people who manage to be stationary, attached to one place, with envy. Such an odd thing, to know stories about the grandparents of the people you run into at the grocery store. Such an odd thing, to meet someone and realize you went to kindergarten with her. So strange, to never be a stranger.

I see cultures, and I want to taste them. I want to experience them, and then move on to another one. The Germans have the best word for this feeling, as usual. Wanderlust. I can’t stay in one place, because I lust after new places, after new experiences, after new journeys. Wanderlust haunts me like a spectre.

So I’m planning another trip. I had intended to do a long hike this year, and I’m realizing that the year is drawing to an end. I’ve taken time off of both my jobs, and I’m heading south, to the Alabama Pinhoti Trail. This blog was designed as a travel blog, after all. Something I’ve fallen away from in the last two years of staying still. But traveling is when my heart beats fastest.


Anonymous said...

Did I ever tell you that since we met way back in - what, the early aughts - whenever I see or hear the word Wanderlust, your face immediately comes to mind?

I look forward to reading about your next adventure, Melissa!

Melissa said...

I take that as a big compliment. Wanderlust is both a curse and a blessing, but its one I embrace with open arms. I'm hoping to keep the blog updated as I go, but that's all dependent on the internet access in small Alabama towns...

edifice rex said...

Well, if you are up my way, drop by. :)
And you should actually be able to get internet access in even most small towns here. I've seen internet cafes in some of the darndest places.

Melissa said...

I'd love to drop by! We'll be staying in the Talladega National Forest the whole way down Alabama, but we'll definitely be needing to stop in to towns for resupply. How close to you will we be, do you think? Drop an email, if you want to get together! (We've got internet access at our first stop.)

Ellen D. said...

The urge of captive birds to migrate manifests itself in seasonally occurring restlessness, termed “Zugunruhe.”