Fernweh. The other day A friend had posted that she felt an ache at the thought of traveling, I’ve always called it wanderlust, but a friend of hers announced with exuberance “Fernweh!” it sounded much more explanatory then Wanderlust.
I’ve never been your traditional traveler. As a kid we wandered around the USA mostly the west, my mother was never one for fancy hotel rooms or even cheap ones for that matter, we would drive to remote locations and set up camp sometimes for days sometimes for weeks, depending on the season. But along those unbeaten paths were towns,some dried up and long forgotten, reminiscent of some fictional ghost town in a Steven King novel. Others more modern but usually sleepy, pictures of days gone by, old men with cards on a sidewalk table smoking and talking, voices echoing down the main street in the hot afternoon sun. Other places had been rich with culture parts of the very state we finally landed in filled a childs mind with proud bronzed faces and colorful feathers. I remember going to a pow wow, we had driven for an entire day across rolling green and gold plains, staring out the window at an almost striped landscape of winter and spring wheat.
We followed an old dirt road in my moms poo colored Datsun, that car had absolutely no excuse for running as well and as long as it did. We came over a hill and almost before I could see the sea of teepees and tents before me, I could here the drumming and the sounds of many voices ringing clearly into a sweet cool air, I didn’t feel like I belonged there at first, like I was an intruder, an observer of something sacred and old, I might have been but 9 years old but I could still sense the importance of that moment. There was a girl, big hazel brown eyes and perfect pouty lips that upturned into a sweet smile. She had traditional clothing on and bells around her ankles and feathers in her hair. She said hello, took my hand and said, this is how we dance, this is how we say thank you and this is how we remember. I danced with her, I don’t think I did anything right, but she humored me and the whole day we spent giggling and dancing and even singing. I think that was the first moment that I realized there was more then just the things we see in these 4 walls of our traditional homes. When that ache in my heart grows, it’s not just the forests that rush through my mind, or snow covered peaks, not just the curiosity of what is there, it’s who is there, who are they and like that small, strange girl that exists, now only somewhere between memory and sleep, I want to show others kindness and compassion without bias and with few words needed. I want to know that in someway I helped someone else or I brought something to someone to make a difference. There is no time like the present to start.