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What do you call a home-bird with a chronic case of wanderlust?

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For many people, deciding where to go in life is pretty straightforward: there are two simple categories and you know which one you fit into. 

There’s the explorers, travellers, those consumed by wanderlust; people in this category are, at this moment, most likely on a soul-searching journey in another country, and if not, they are probably on their laptops searching for flights or gazing at beautiful photographs of their next dream destination.  

And then there’s the home-birds, stay-at-homes, homebodies; often found hibernating in their cosy nests most weekends, who would rather reside deep within their comfort zone, surrounded by a handful of their favourite family and friends, than do something ridiculous like leave for a new, unknown, and potentially uncomfortable place.

Though, if you’re anything like me, you find yourself in a strange grey area somewhere between both of these two categories.

There are various articles or quizzes online with titles like “X signs you’re a homebody/wanderluster.” But according to these omniscient sources, my symptoms send mixed signals. I constantly check air fares or daydream about adventures, and I am frequently comparing the time or the weather in different places across the globe. And needless to say my obsession with maps is getting a little out of hand; my room is littered with map-print posters/bedding/notebooks/teacups, not to mention my lovely little globe pencil sharpener. These warning signs would indicate that I suffer from an incurable case of itchy feet.

However, sometimes I, too, prefer to stay and order food with friends than to go out somewhere, and I absolutely love curling up on the sofa in my favourite pyjamas and watching crappy Saturday night TV with my family while the fire is crackling and it’s raining outside. These indicators offer the conclusion that I am most definitely a home-bird, and of course this just contradicts what was determined previously!

Then again, I guess everybody knows it’s useless to check your symptoms online… perhaps it’s time for some self-diagnosis…

Well, I definitely have the travel-bug in the sense that I appreciate the wealth of things to discover on our planet, especially my favourites: languages, and life. Languages are my passion, I already study three and have ambitions to be able to communicate in at least seven; travelling helps me develop my languages and inspires me to learn new ones. By life I mean creatures big and small, I want to get to know as many as I can, including humans, humans are so unfathomably interesting and by travelling I can know more of them, as well as more about them and their fascinating cultures. Not forgetting life as in nature; earth may be insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe, but this tiny little planet burst into life with the perfect balance of things needed to sustain such miraculous natural beauty and it is taken for granted every day, but travelling allows me to experience as much of that beauty as is possible during the short glimpse of time that I have in existence.

Then I’m a home-bird in the sense that I am a very sentimental person. I am sentimental because I am so lucky as to have such lovely people in my life; I have a close-knit family, my soulmate, and my best friends, and because these people are so important to me everything associated with them becomes treasured. Every little thing that reminds me of being in their company or a memory we have shared together becomes comforting to me. This gives me the appearance that I am a homebody because even though I appreciate the people rather than the place, those people give certain places the sense of home. 

So it seems my diagnosis is that I am a very grateful person, and what causes confusion is my desire to be grateful for my family and surroundings clashing with my desire to be grateful for all the other people and places on this awesome planet. I suppose I would prescribe myself to have many adventures, but also recommend that I never forget to come home and share those adventures with the people that matter most. 

And maybe instead of dividing people between home-birds and explorers, a third category should be added to the mix…the migratory birds; those who find both the joy in spreading their wings to explore someplace new, and the joy in returning back home again.


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