The Wanderer’s Curse


Are you superstitious? Do you believe in magic and witchcraft and whatnot? Well, whatever you believe, let me tell you, curses do exist. And there’s nothing magical or supernatural about them. Let me take you inside the cursed world of the wanderer.

It starts innocently enough, with the simple desire to see the world. Expand your horizons. Have bragging rights with your less urbane friends and ammunition for impressing the opposite sex (“This pastry reminds me of that one cafe in Geneva…”). Then the unexpected happens. The places you see and people you meet affect your heart. At first it’s only joy. Then, when you return home, the curse begins.

The emptiness sets in. Part of your heart is attached to the places you have been, and now that you’ve left them you feel their loss. The void in your soul drags down your existence, and life will never be “back to normal.” You have to go back to the places you’ve been. However, once you return there, the connection has changed. You are still linked to what you’ve experienced, but aren’t a part of it anymore. It’s like visiting a museum of your life’s greatest moments, with everything you ever loved right in front of you, on the other side of the glass.

So you wander again. Every new experience strikes a chord in your heart that you didn’t know existed, and leaves a void you never knew you could feel. And while each time you wander you open more voids, it makes you feel alive. Cease to wander, and you feel yourself slowly dying. So you are left to wander the Earth the rest of your days, always connected and yet distant, always very alive and yet very empty.

And yet, if you had it all to do over again, you wouldn’t change a thing. Even knowing the curse that will dog you for the rest of your years, you would do it all the same. That’s because, way deep down, you know that the curse hasn’t made you less of a person, it has made you more. It has simply expanded your life, your world, yourself, and in the process made you aware of how much bigger the world is than anything you could ever be.

And so you wander, embracing the melancholic euphoria of your empty, expansive existence, knowing in your heart that you need the curse.

Because there is no curse. You are the curse. You became a wanderer when you took your first breath, and the endless void of the unknown will dominate your destiny until you take your last.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.
  • xxx

    I understand somehow, even if i do not fully agree. But I do not understand why you thought I would understand! The feeling you describe is familiar to me, but in that mess, God remains the same, and the links you have with other people determines you and protects you from loneliness and also from wandering too much…And it is a joy to realize that your vision of the world always can be extended. According to your mood, you can take it badly and be afraid of your pettiness, or you can trust The One who creates the world, like a child trust his parents, and abandon yourself in confidence. I try to grasp the second option as much as I can!

    • I think it is a dangerous tendency among the faithful to treat God like fairytale magic that protects us from all pain. Whatever you do in life, the negative side is always there, and no amount of praying can get rid of it. One must either accept this reality, or live in denial.

      What faith does is not lessen our pain, but make us stronger so we can deal with it better. Faith doesn’t change the world or what we feel, but rather us and how we react. A faithful wanderer and one without faith will both feel the same things, but become different things as a result.

  • xxx

    Mmm agree for God is far from fairytale and doesn’t protect us from pain, but leads to martyre.
    Because I can fall in nostalgy fast, I try to be careful about the pains I can get; I accept to get pains in order to share the passion of JC, and I want to get apart from unuseful pains, caused by my unability to be in the world and my unjustified will to stay in the world of thoughts and feelings but not acts (romantism?). If I can be defined as a wanderer, I wonder if I feel the same as others, because my sight on people is modelled by the sight of God on His creation. So I normally have a different kind of relationships than others, and also I have the hope to see them in Heaven, that changes a lot the nature of my wandering eventually.
    Finally, what I think is, with my trust in God, my pains and joys should be deeper, because put under the hope in eternity. But who can judge and count but God Himself?

  • I get restless if I stay in one place too long, if I get too familiar with where I am. I’m constantly curious as to what is over the next hill, down the next crag, in the next forest, etc. I guess my way of not being driven too mad by wanderlust is to explore slowly, and make sure I have gleaned as much from one place as possible before wandering on to the next. There’s enough detail in the world to satiate my craving to for new experiences just long enough to stay in each place a year or two before I have to find a new place to be based from.