I don’t care about the reasons for my wanderings; I’m not one for understanding the mechanics of anything. I expect my car to start when I turn the key and I couldn’t care about the periodic table any more than why these letters appear as I type. I accept my dromomania, and far from it being unreasonable’, I bathe in it. It is the one aspect of my life that takes precedent over everything and I relish the chance to dip in to it as often as possible. I’m not content when I’m in one place too long. I deal with being stationary because most of the time I have little choice but I’m only truly happy when I indulge, and thru-hiking is my chosen method. The world is a wonderful place when experienced at walking velocity.
Olympic National Park Hikes Map Photo Gallery
Some say our desire to wander goes back thousands of years, to when we had little choice in the matter. Seasonal changes drove us to the cooler mountains in the summer and back to the plains in winter. We searched for more hospitable environments in which to live, and if food became scarce in one location we moved on to where it was plentiful. In the Ice Age we fled south to escape; in times of drought we moved on in search of water. Cook, Magellan, Columbus and others I’d argue were not so much mapping a new world than indulging their appetites to move ever onwards.
Another example would be the mass migration of Europeans to the new world, America, in the early 1600s. The new world promised cheap, abundant land and a fresh start for many. Many stayed on their new land but many more felt compelled to keep travelling. The east coast became colonised, and even then, we still looked further ahead. The gold rush of 1848 to 1855 saw further migration to California and the west coast. Explorers such as Captain Joseph Walker mapped routes over the great mountains of the western states and people followed.
Exploration was necessary, but I’d argue it was the dromomaniacs who were always the first in the queue when an expedition was needed.
Even now, the urge to search, explore, move ever onwards still compels humankind and a few individuals revel in the opportunity to keep moving. Now our options on Earth are becoming exhausted, we look to the stars.
Having said that, I long for a permanent place to live. Not that I could spend that much time there, but I would like a base to return to, a familiar place to call home, a location to reflect on the last adventure and to plan the next one.