Doesn’t everyone dream at one time or another about just taking off, about hitting the road for an indefinite period simply to travel? Maybe your fantasy is about backpacking through the mountains, visiting new cities and countries, checking out new cultures, or simply wandering aimlessly like the bear who went over the mountain “to see what he could see.”
Think about how the wandering instinct manifests in your life. There are many ways you can wander, travel, or explore. You can do it on foot or in a scuba-diving outfit, through a microscope or a telescope, a history book or a natural-history magazine. You can do it in your own town, in the jungles of Africa, or on the surface of the moon. It can lead you to discover the lost city of Knossos or a great Hungarian restaurant in the next block.
Take a few minutes of every day to fantasize about how you would wander, travel, or explore if you could. If you find this hard to do because you are telling yourself that it is irresponsible to want to wander around on this planet, stop! Remind yourself that heeding these instincts is important for your personal fulfillment, as vital as eating or sleeping.
Take your exploring fantasies seriously. See which of them you can follow up on. Maybe you can’t take a spaceship around the sun just yet, but you can go camping, or you can drive down a country lane until you run across a barn where the farmer is pressing cider from a new crop of apples. You can make up your mind to take another ten minutes and drive a different way home from work or to take a vacation at a new location this year. If you use your imagination, you will find that your fantasies of exploration and your possible experiences of it are literally endless.
Remember that exploration means being open to all kinds of variety in your life as a whole. New foods, new friends, new hobbies, athletic pursuits, music, art, or whatever, all will indulge your instincts for wandering, traveling, or exploring and give you a more well-rounded and abundant idea of what human life is about—fuller almost than you can imagine.
I have never met a person who wasn’t at least secretly excited about the prospects of traveling and exploring. But sadly, I have met a great many who squelch or deny their wandering instincts. If you find that you have been fighting your nomadic instincts, perhaps because you equate any indulgence of them with irresponsibility, you are cutting off that one set of instincts for which all of the others may have been made—your opportunity to move out into the world and discover it in all of its limitless glory and mystery.