The Curious Science Behind Wanderlust

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Picture yourself on the trip of a lifetime, maybe trekking through the icy villages of Greenland or scouting for pink auroras in Norway. Maybe the idea of ibexes climbing steep dams excites you to want to do the same.

Wired to Travel?

I have a friend whose Chinese name means 宇: World, Universe… paired with 川: Hills, Creeks or Water.

He’s a travel photographer with a penchant for getting lost, so as to find.

He feels the need to escape the predictable to learn more about the voracious world out there.

Was he born an insatiable adventurer?

Our brains are smart and they catch up fast. They know exactly what we want and they activate the flush and rush of emotions to match, making us want to “take that risk” and go for the trip despite us being low on the leave count. If you perpetually get estatic just by looking at a postcard, it’s likely that you…. have an incurable case of wanderlust.

First Things first…

New things, exploring and the unknown all tempt us. Here’s my attempt to explain why:

Our fiesty pal, Adrenaline, loves the “newness” of things. The electrical neurons in our brains connect excitedly to each other upon contact, and make stronger bonds.

We remember our first kisses, our childhood friends or the very first time our hearts broke. Similarly, the brain functions like that when you travel. We remember the firsts and new, best. Even when we don’t want to.

When was the last time you saw something for the first time?

The first time you’ve ever seen a Roman, or tasted Risotto, sang with a blind busker, kissed the crystal waters of New Zealand… listened to Irish laughter…

You made first contact with the further world, took an alfesco stroll among the wild springs of a seemingly infinite gaia.

In those moments, wanderlust is just another silly term social scientists come up with. You’re really in love with the unexplainable little glories of the earth.

It’s all yours

All the wide & wondrous world is painted before you
Your star struck eyes a-dancing
Won’t you pick up your brush and join in?
Blend the colours of firsts into everything

Learning to live in 2 places: Safe haven and Techie world

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I’m learning to live in 2 places at the same time. It’s hard. But here are the two: Safe haven and techie world.

Everyone needs a safe haven.

“What’s that?” you might be wondering.

A safe haven is (in my definition) an emotional, spiritual or physical thing/place that one finds comforting refuge in.

In our world where everything’s changing so fast and unnecessarily (mostly), we’re really losing touch with so much. It can feel pretty devastating, this sense of a “loose grasp” on things and people. Nobody likes this feeling. And I occasionally, deeply miss the old fashioned way of living.

I don’t have to go into the details of how technology has changed a lot of things for better and for worse. It’s a clear winner for being a double edged sword. I know.

As I sit in my room, staring at my books, I pondered about the days when reading wasn’t an option. Or when writing in my journal and spending time in an encyclopedia were essential to a good night’s sleep. Now it’s checking my friends’ latest updates on their lives.

I can’t help but miss reading in cafes with no wifi, having long phonecalls, and writing on paper. I even miss pagers, man. They all were, in the most sentimental sense, a piece of the past that actually had more good than not. I remember myself being most contented with the scrappy handheld pager in primary school. Or when I was six, and played with real toys rather than virtual barbie worlds on ipads. I’ve missed good ol fun. And I suspect that i’d live just right without all the fancy add-ons to my phone – but it’s not easy when everyone else creates another world where these add-ons are everything.

Sometimes I’m also afraid i’d forget all of these memories… or that technology will teach me to spurn the ‘old-fashion and out-dated’, and to embrace all that’s shiny, sleek and new. I’m afraid of turning into a device too. Something that remembers all dates, efficiently sends out birthday wishes, records all quotable quotes, takes the best pictures with instagram, strongly connected to the world of hollywood and knowledge… And yet… remains just that. Does it build up patience? Love? Down-to-earthness? Does it desire to build up others? Does it care for others? Does it value-add to real everyday living?

At night, as I think on what’s good, nothing, (definitely not the stuff i’ve read on social media platforms, or my whatsapp conversations) but my safe haven floats into mind. Funny. This safe haven managed to escape my thoughts the entire day, right up ’til the closing of the day. Social media and computer technology have been in rein for the most part. Contradictorily, they are not the things I give one whit about in my heart of hearts. I realise my safe haven is the very thing, perhaps the only thing i truly care about.

I proceed to open up my safe haven in my mind and there i see it: God and his promises, Jesus’ love, people who carry my heart with them, and I with theirs… and my books. I see the desire to want to make an impact in my world.

It’s an uphill battle of wills, everyday, to keep the most important things, the most important thing. I say my thank yous to technology… you are an efficient helper. But let me keep you as just that. Afterall, I wouldn’t have written this post without you.

It’s not one world or the other, but a harmonious, unequal, integration of both… and it’ll still be hard.

Paradox of the world

People are such odd beings. We are strange and sometimes, really mental.SAMSUNG CSCWe are stubbornly creatures of habit yet we can’t stand routine. We become unhappy when one thing goes wrong in the light of the 100 things that went right. We say that money isn’t everything but we act as if it is. We learn to appreciate things usually after they’re gone. We laugh at racist jokes but do not tolerate racism. We love to explore but are afraid of the unknown. We want to do more but complain when we do too much. We speak of the world lacking love but we do not readily give it away either.

Now enters God, who is our counterpart. He is strange in the same way he is beautiful. His glowy, loving light does not scorch but intrigues us to him, like moths to fire.

He’s nothing like us, but desires to be with us. He’s everything we aren’t. He lives by his word, and not one of his promises fail. He’s paradoxically wonderful. Completely holy and just, yet fully loving and gracious.

We can’t see him, and yet we believe deep down in our hearts that he’s exactly all we’ve been looking for. This mightn’t be answer enough for everyone, but it’s answer enough for me.