Wandering or Traveling

"I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." ~ Hilaire Belloc

I stumbled upon this quotation quite accidentally this morning. It intrigued me. Gave me pause. Provoked my disagreement...

I too have wandered all my life. And I too have travelled. I just returned from a couple of weeks in Turkey exploring Istanbul, Cappadocia and the Agean coast, wandering abord a 42' catamaran. This Friday I depart on another journey, this one shorter and closer to home. I'll be in Richmond, Virginia for three days. Then back to Champlain Valley. To the Adirondacks. Where I will wander. On foot. On a windsurfer. On a skiff. In a kayak. On a bicycle. In a car. Then, less than two weeks later, I'll head off again, this time to Reynold's Plantation in Georgia. And so it goes. A wandering life. A traveling life.

I wander and I travel for fulfillment. And, sometimes, I do both for distraction too. But rarely. Mostly I wander and travel because I'm curious, hungry, fascinated. I'm drawn to the exotic near at hand and far away. I am pulled, like the river that wanders by necessity. Pulled by gravity. Meandering around obstacles. But only after brushing close enough to smell and taste and hear and feel them. The river flows and flows and flows bcause it must. Because it does. Even when it is restrained, it finds a way to wander on.

Wandering and traveling are different, but I believe the biggest difference has to do with intention. I wander without rigid timelines and destinations. I am flexible. Receptive. Open. Travel, at its best, isn't too much different. But when I travel I am more bound to timelines and destinations. I have a train or a plane to catch, a visa which expires, a budget which is being depleted. But -- when possible -- I try to fill the interstices with wandering... And it can be the most fulfilling of all!