by Laura Brainard
We all know those crazy people who cough once and decide they have every disease in the book. They soon find themselves buying another medicine cabinet just to hold all the solutions to their profound problems. Personally, I have never been much of one to diagnose myself with every illness that matches a symptom. But on the other hand, I have known about a disease I have carried for quite some time. It did not come with a name or title, yet has been infecting body, soul and mind. Of course I didn’t say anything to anyone because quite honestly, I wasn’t sure what was going on and I certainly didn’t want to be a burden or identified as a complete “quack!”
All I know is that it started as an itch. After experiencing an incredible trip to Africa last year, this itch developed into more of a mental health concern because I soon found myself wanting to attend graduate school to pursue International Agriculture. Suddenly, I’m surrounded by the most influential and knowledgeable international professors in the world. But it didn’t stop. (This disease I mean). The uncontrollable itch to travel had amplified to extremes and I suddenly I have wound up back in Africa. I questioned whether or not maybe I had some sort of boomerang disease.
It wasn’t until I met my new graduate friend Melanie Balinas, where I was properly diagnosed with “Wanderlust.” Words can’t express how utterly relieved I was to be informed of this infectious travel disease. Apparently, you take this “itch” to the grave and there is no absolute cure or medication your local pharmacist or Dr. Phil can provide. The only way to suppress the symptoms is to take your desire to the next level….embrace the love of Africa.
Without a doubt, my interest has grown towards becoming more educated on developing countries and I hope to use my recent abroad trips to harness a foundation for my graduate studies. This experience has given me the opportunity to be surrounded with fellow companions with the same passion and itch. Balinas, only a year older than myself, has indefinably surpassed my air time by several hours. Dr. Wingenbach on the other hand, has undoubtedly logged more travel hours than a Canadian goose and Christopher Columbus combined. Needless to say, it is an honor and absolute privilege to be a part of this incredible experience in Africa where I can learn from some of the all-time greatest world travelers, peers, and wise crack artists. Years of travel experience brings stories, stories soon become memories, and memories evolve in to life-long friendships.
There are certainly no medications you can take for this disease. There is no cure. There is only the option to embrace the love to travel…and my suppressant is taking a journey to Africa.