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Is Having Wanderlust Bad?

is having wanderlust bad?

“Not all those who wander are lost”

What is Wanderlust?

The word wanderlust comes from the german language and it literally means “a strong desire to travel”. This romantic term is linked to aimless wandering, a wish to escape and even bipolar disorder; but is having wanderlust really that bad?

It’s true that the term wanderlust has been altered and abused with time. What once was a genuine desire has now become an indicator of people’s dissatisfaction towards their roots. We live in a world where reigns an unrestrained will to be anywhere but ‘here’. Not knowing how to be happy where we are, we are always waiting for the next great adventure to come along, forgetting that we are living one daily! “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home” [1] wrote the poet Matsuo Basho.

trip the adventure found me Chiara Cisario

Nowadays, most of us can afford travelling, so we use it as the perfect escape. However the baggage that we carry with us while away is more emotional than physical. Philosopher Ralph Emerson writes “Traveling is a fool’s paradise… My giant goes with me wherever I go” [2]; the problems of our daily life never leave us, no matter how far we go, and that’s okay.

Rilke wrote “The only journey is the one within” [3]. When looking for a purpose, the best place to find it is within yourselves. Travelling won’t solve our personal issues and hiding behind a word won’t make the dissatisfaction for our lives go away.

However, let me clarify that I don’t have a problem with the concept of wanderlust, but with the distortion of it. If you feel good about yourself and you want to travel, do it!

trip 2 the adventure found me

Is having Wanderlust bad?

I strongly believe that having a true desire to travel is positive. It’s an expression of curiosity and exploring is both enriching and fulfilling. If it were for me, I would travel endlessly, but more than a strong desire to travel, I have a strong desire to learn. If I were to stay in the same place for the rest of my life I would miss out on so much knowledge that otherwise I couldn’t gather. Every journey I’ve ever been on has thought me something precious and important, that has shaped me into the person that I am today. Quoting J.R.R. Tolkien “Not all those who wander are lost” [4] and I couldn’t agree more.                         

[1] Matsuo Basho, Oku no Hosomichi

[2] Ralph Waldo Emerson

[3] Rainer Maria Rilke. Letters to a Young poet, 1903

[4] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954

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12 Comments on "Is Having Wanderlust Bad?"

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So interesting! 🙂


Indeed. Knowing the difference between wanderlust, and running away, can be tricky.

Any Place But Home

I completely agree. I love the quote “not all those who wander are lost”.


You’re so right. Traveling, at its core, is about being happy and present wherever you are, which definitely means not running away from our problems!


You’re right! Having wanderlust is not a bad thing. Travel is fantastic, it brings so much fun in your life 🙂


I totally agree! I use my travels to learn and experience other cultures and have always had positive experiences. But on the other hand, people shouldn’t use traveling to run away from problems or anything like that. It’s all about WHY you want to travel 🙂


I think wanderlust is a good thing. I’m not ashamed to say that I have an intense curiosity to discover the natural beauty of the earth. It’s what I love to do – it’s what makes me me. That’s not bad, it’s honest. Society tells us what they want us to be – but that doesn’t mean it’s what we should be.

Julie Tran

I love that quote, not all those wander are lost. I agree with your points, I definitely think of wanderlust as a positive thing!

CJ | Thirty30Courtney.com

I think that having a desire to see the world is a major plus and I give all of us nomads props. If you are running away from your problems or the law, take a break (lol), but otherwise, keep going.

The Family Voyage

The right kind of travel can teach you so much about both the world and yourself. Nothing wrong with that!

Anna Hammerschmidt

I couldn’t agree more! Wanderlust isn’t a bad thing but it can be construed that way. However, if you’re using travel to escape life, you will never really escape because as you said the baggage is with you. Rather I use travel to learn and experience other places which in turn makes me appreciate my roots more.


I definitely understand both sides of it. Like that guy said, your troubles never leave you but in my eyes, traveling makes those troubles seem less harsh when you get to experience other parts of the world. I absolutely love traveling, I am the happiest when I have somewhere to look forward to, and I think now days people are realizing more that they are in control of their own happiness and that travel is an awesome outlook for that!