When Wanderlust Gets in the Way

Words + Images by Hannah Wigley

Concocting scenarios in your head of places you’d rather be, people you’d like to be with and things you’d prefer to be doing seems like a harmless act. Recently, however, under strict orders to ‘Stay Home’, I have pondered more upon how wander-lustful thinking can distract us from the only guarantee we have: The Right Now. Though I have never been a fan of mindfulness – purposefully thinking about only the present can be suffocating – constantly dreaming of elsewhere feels increasingly senseless. Here are three mantras I am currently using to reframe my escapist thoughts about the stagnant period we are living through.

Embrace the lessons that the present is teaching you

As I write this, the UK is in lockdown, and has been for 7 weeks. It is very tempting to wish our quarantine lives away, but what a waste that is. So many of us have no idea how to decelerate, how to entertain ourselves, how to relax, how to deal with uncertainty. Crashing through life like a bull in a china shop only works until it can’t anymore – as many us have discovered – and constantly distracting ourselves is not sustainable. We could use this time learning how to slow down (or stop) and smell the roses.

Appreciate the beauty & joy of what you have now, not what you pine for

We are all guilty of thinking certain things will make us happy. “When I lose weight, then I’ll be happy”, “When I have more money, then I’ll be happy”, “When I own that, then I’ll be happy”. The truth is, it probably won’t work out that way. If we begin to find the appeal in what we have now, we can make ourselves feel better now. No, my local forest doesn’t have towering redwoods like the ones on my Pinterest board, but its spruces are beautiful too. The grass isn’t always greener.

Realise the journey can be as enjoyable as the destination

We can be so sure that achieving something will bring us contentment, that we wish away the journey in pursuit of the finish line. ‘Are We There Yet?’syndrome is an unhealthy way of looking at ambitions and, inevitably, leads us to resent ‘the climb’. No one can deny that reaching the peak of a mountain is a great feeling, but to focus on only the peak is to ignore the ascent. The delicate flower growing in the crack of that dry-stone wall, for example, or the sensation of the cold water from your bottle on your lips. Getting out of the car at your destination and stretching your legs is wonderful, but so is holding your hand out of the open window and feeling the breeze pass through your fingers as you drive.

Hannah Wigley is a Master’s student living in Derbyshire with a huge passion for the outdoors. She writes for fun when she can, and most enjoys talking about the mental benefits nature and the natural can have. Browse jumbled images @natureofsolitude

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