A New Wanderlust: longing for the girl I become while travelling


When wearing shoes is optional, that is when I am happiest.

Whatever makes you happiest, whether that be salt and surf, or fresh powder, I have yet to meet a soul who does not share the following vacation secret – myself included.

What’s that secret? Well let’s say it goes along the lines of the classic (and I’ll use an OC reference because Marissa Cooper is still my ultimate girl crush) “what happens in TJ stays in TJ.” Substitute Tijuana with whatever exotic destination you jet off to. So, what exactly happens in TJ? Read on…

My sis and I recently ventured to Nicaragua, spending most of our time in Maderas, a chilled out surf spot with equally chill humans. Being somewhere completely new facilitates an openness and the emergence of a more raw version of oneself. This has been my experience. Hanging with open-minded adventurers, tipsy off the sun and likely a few other things, there is never a lack of deep conversation, real connection, and the unexpected lessons that sneak into our consciousness.

Lessons may not be the right word, but words are funny like that. Sometimes there is no perfect way to describe real, vulnerable, flowing emotion.

But I’ll try! These ‘lessons’ are more-so reminders of what we already know. What has always made sense on some deep, indescribable level. Things like; trusting your intuition, even when it scares you; or feeling deeply happy, for no notable reason; or my favourite, loving with your whole heart, every time.

Why does travel help us remember these truths? The constant chatter of ‘daily life’ can momentarily fog who we are and what we are capable of. When we’re on ‘vacation’ this metaphorical chatter transforms from polite small talk to smouldering eye contact-the universe is magical-kind of talk. Hopefully with someone dreamy!

The ability to open up and contemplate love, fear, life, in a real way. That is special.

I find it funny, because these are the most basic concepts to the human experience, yet they are reserved as topics for hippies, philosophers, or drunken heart to hearts.

Why is this? I don’t know, but I believe this is what draws myself, and so many others to travel. It allows us to be real, to be raw, to be ourselves. All while around others who are doing the same.

What if we took this version of ourselves back home? If we lived all of life with this freeness, infusing the intensity and vulnerability of simply being alive into the daily things. Like asking the lady at the grocery checkout why she loves fudgesicles, as it proudly states on her “I love _______”  nametag. Who knows, you may end up chatting about what else she loves. Maybe that’s a silly example, but we gotta start somewhere!

Instead of staring at our phones on the subway, let’s smile at one another. Instead of booking it to work, let’s look around and notice how pretty the clouds are today. Days I am open to the world, those who are open to the world enter my experience, as I enter theirs. Days I’m addicted to my IG feed, I meet no one.

So, back to the question what happens in TJ? Interactions with others that help us remember what life is all about. That help us remember who we are.

The more of these we have, and the more we remember, the stronger our sense of self becomes. Soon, you don’t need to be barefoot or tanned or tipsy on margaritas to give yourself permission to just be you.

Julia Marcuzzi