A lone traveler on a bike, examining his wrinkled, printed maps, unsure about the route to Fort Collins, traveling with time on his hands. A German-speaking Italian from the Dolomites, Heinz started in Mexico City, met a companion then biked until reaching Colorado. Other than visiting a Hutterite community in North Dakota and Chicago, his days were composed of biking and engaging with the surroundings, himself and whomever he met, including my husband and me.  
 
No Agenda
Heinz was purposefully living untethered. Traveling by bike his daily objective was to arrive somewhere at day’s end for rest and dinner. If for some reason timing went astray, he had a tent in the bike’s paniers. All would be well. Appearing well-rested, Heinz wasn’t anxious to be on his way. He seemed to savor the interaction and not particularly interested in drinking his coffee.  His ease was noteworthy.
 
How rare to stay open to the possibility of the day. Is unplanned living inherent in a Wanderlust lifestyle?  “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affairs is to move,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in Travels with a Donkey. In addition to “moving” with his bicycle towards a destination, Heinz epitomized a modern day Wanderlust, a desire (lust) to wander. Heinz had been “sidelined” for twelve years with a severe ankle injury. Multiple surgeries, crutches for seven years and five years more, he was finally able to physically exert himself  again. He didn’t take the opportunity to travel nor his health for granted. 
 
Quitting our day job and or leaving responsibilities behind is not always accessible.  Yet, is it possible to garner snippets of Wanderlust in our everyday life?  Heinz offers us a glimpse.
 
Schedule to Unschedule
How often do you wake up on a weekend and say, “let’s see what the day brings”?  Not very often perhaps. It’s difficult not to feel pressured by life’s many demands. First, of course, is to determine when you might actually strive for a totally unplanned day. Even once a month brings benefits. We all need to rest. Our busy minds need a break. Schedule to Unschedule.
 
Being Where You Are
Even if we can’t seem to find a “free” day, it’s always possible to fully notice your surroundings, feelings and thoughts wherever you are…and then let the information help determine how priorities will be accomplished. Let’s say your day started off-track (car wouldn’t start, sick child, unplanned Client Call demanding your attention) and after tending the the urgent tasks, you have a moment to begin your day again. Take a moment for your self. Inhale a few deep breaths.  Ask yourself, what really matters to me right now?  Or, what’s most important right now?  Instead of diving into the huge task list, “wander” to yourself first and trust the answers of your inquiry. Then, begin where you are.
 
Healthy Compass
Perhaps when Heinz found himself on a long trail heading into the mountains, he let his mind wander. Wanderlust doesn’t necessarily mean however  that we let our thoughts run wild. Actually my guess is that Heinz was paying big attention to what he was seeing and constantly noticing his well being. Wanderlust is more of an internal journey than external. It’s about observing ourselves and accompanying emotions without letting them take us away on a negative sojourn. Better knowing ourselves, enjoying and celebrating the good and not so good creates a healthy compass for any journey.  
 
Although Heinz had a slightly antiquated phone, he was not beholden to technology. He preferred asking for advice and directions with those nearby. He trusted people’s intentions to help. That’s bravery for most of us. He knew his internal compass and was able to relate to those around him, taking perspective, learning and staying open. 
 
Living as a Traveler gives us the freedom to wander everyday, with or without a bicycle. Wonder where Heinz is now?