When a Type-A Woman Feels Wanderlust

When a Type-A woman feels wanderlust, she often ignores it.

Type A; as in goal-oriented, success-driven, hyper-organized, status-conscious, most likely to get stressed out and/or emotional. Type-A; as in schedule planners, to-do lists, Post-It notes, all-nighters, and "The 10-Year Plan."

When a Type-A woman feels the beck and call of a world not yet traveled-- of cities not yet explored-- it's often shoved right back down into the hidden place of her heart where it originated. Back to that deep part of her soul where it can be forgotten, even if for the moment, so she can continue earning those grades, cooking that recipe, filling out that paperwork, writing for that publication, etc., etc., etc.

She’ll flip through photographs of immaculate churches in Eastern Europe and cobblestone streets lining the inlets of Ireland and never go. Never get up and leave for fear of ruining "The Plan." Though she feels the full weight of her desire to be there-- to touch those walls, to dance along those alleyways with no care in the world except to take it all in-- she’ll close the computer and turn off the light so she can wake up at 5:00 a.m. the next morning for her morning commute to work. 

When a Type-A woman feels wanderlust, it conflicts with her agenda. To explore-- to live on impulse instead of obligation-- feels like a direct contradiction of her pathway to success. Though she feels weary, desperate to strip her brain of its tendencies, she does not often follow the call of her soul to rest. When choosing between busyness or breathing, she’ll most always choose to be busy. Do more. Accomplish more. Prove more people wrong.

And yet when a Type-A woman feels wanderlust, it is often a cry for peace. For tranquility. For life without a schedule, for a day without constraints: highway traffic, performance reviews and deadlines. To go about her day in limbo, literally, with her life in a suitcase and a map in her hands to guide her.

And so on the rare occasion when she allows herself to scroll through flight options on a glowing screen-- a steaming cup of tea in her hands, eyes scanning the dates and times, and making quick calculations between costs and locations-- the world holds its breath. Will she allow herself to get lost in its landscapes? Escape to its riviera highways and stone temples hidden beneath willowy trees? Throw away her regard for planning every move and, instead, simply say yes?

Not all who wander are lost… 

It might take a walk around the room, or perhaps a few seconds hovering over the purchase button. Maybe she closes her eyes while she clicks. But when she can’t come up with a better excuse-- when she looks back at her life and sees a whole lot of nine-to-fives-- she taps the mouse and it is done. Or perhaps, just beginning. And suddenly, she can hear herself breathe, unexpected freedom in the aftermath of straying from "The Plan." She’ll look at that screen, at the word “CONFIRMATION,” and she’ll feel just that. Affirmed as she maps out her journey, a starting point and an ending point with an abundance of wiggle room in between. 

When a Type-A woman feels wanderlust, she falls head first. She's always done everything meticulously over the top anyway, right? Perhaps she'll fly to Lisbon in December, spend New Year's Eve in Western Europe's oldest city before trekking on to Barcelona, Rome and Florence. She'll take a train from Venice to Munich to Prague to Berlin, before stopping over in the Netherlands for day trips to Amsterdam and Brussels. On the underground railway ride to London, she'll rent a car and explore the roads of England and Ireland, with simply the coastline on her to-do list. Finally, she'll end with a rendezvous in Paris, the city where she can "forget herself, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of her past," as so eloquently described by Michael Simkins in Detour de France.

She'll see cities she's never seen before-- monuments that were once only pictures-- and realize different kinds of dreams; the kind that have nothing to do with degrees and promotions and punch cards. Despite the voices raging in her head that European excursions jeopardize careers, she'll remain confident there is no better time than the present to stop obsessing over her future. It will still be there when she returns, waiting for her. The Type-A woman who felt wanderlust. The one who finally had the audacity to do something about it. 


Mike and I have decided to spend the first two months of 2015 trekking across Europe, putting the "professional" world on hold while we explore the one overseas. I'll be blogging about our adventures right here throughout January and February. I invite you to pour that hot cup of tea and join us on our journey.