Elisabeth Eaves QuotesElisabeth Eaves is an author and journalist born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is married to food writer Joe Ray.
Wanderlust is not a passion for travel exactly, it’s something more animal and more fickle- more like lust. We don’t lust after very many things in life. We don’t need words like ‘worklust’ or ‘homemakinglust.’ But travel? The essayist Anatole Broyard put it perfectly: ‘Travel is like adultery: one is always tempted to be unfaithful to one’s own country. To have imagination is inevitably to be dissatisfied with where you live… in our wanderlust, we are lovers looking for consummation.’
I know it’s not strictly sex that accounts for my straying the motive usually attributed to men. I think it’s just too tempting to have two lives rather than one. Some people think that too much travel begets infidelity: Separation and opportunity test the bonds of love. I think it’s more likely that people who hate to make choices to settle on one thing or another are attracted to travel. Travel doesn’t beget a double life. The appeal of the double life begets travel.
The paradox of love is that to have it is to want to preserve it because it’s perfect in the moment but that preservation is impossible because the perfection is only ever an instant passed through. Love like travel is a series of moments that we immediately leave behind. Still we try to hold on and embalm against all evidence and common sense proclaiming our promises and plans. The more I loved him the more I felt hope. But hope acknowledges uncertainty and so I also felt my first premonitions of loss.
Floating in the void free of gravity I made my way along the side of the ship. I listened to my own breaths. It was so dark and I was so weightless that I had to look for my bubbles to be sure which way was up. I swam backward a little away from the boat and into outer space and waved my arm through the water. Sure enough the phosphorescents appeared trailing my movement like the tail of a shooting star. I let myself tip upside down and floated there watching the gentle snowstorm marveling that a world of such strangeness existed here all the time just under the surface.
The best kind of travel – the kind I wanted to experience – involves a particular state of mind, in which one is not merely open to the occurrence of the unexpected, but to deep involvement in the unexpected, indeed, open to the possibility of having one’s life changed forever by a chance encounter.