Do you have “anywhere but here” syndrome?

Do you find yourself day dreaming you were somewhere else instead of where you are now? Well, this one is for you! | via The Spirited Violet

Despite my essay on home a few months ago, I have been struggling with an insatiable wanderlust.  According to Pinterest, it seems like traveling is the only way to “find yourself” and it should be done at all costs.  However, I think it can be unhealthy too.  I have antsy feet.  I have “I saw this cute house in this random town and we should sell our house and move”-itis, and I will obsess for hours late into the night researching real estate markets several states over.  

I could tell you about the 28 states we have been to since we’ve been married or the international plane tickets we are buying this summer, but instead I want to talk about how I think I have developed “anywhere but here” syndrome because of my unhealthy obsession with all of the above.

Do you have “anywhere but here” syndrome too?  Of course, I made this up, but as soon as I began joking about it with my husband I began noticing it in other people too.  For me, I would say “anywhere but here” syndrome is a close cousin of “comparison-itis” because it is searching for something else in hopes of replacing what you find you have lacking.  It extends further than just traveling though; these thoughts can crawl into any life situation you have.

Are you struggling with contentment in your day to day life? Maybe you have "anywhere but here" syndrome? | via The Spirited Violet

Are Dorothy of Kansas and Walter Mitty your spirit animals? 

When I watch these movies, I find myself nodding profusely in agreement with what I see on the screen.  The whole “completely losing myself in day dreams” and then bawling my eyes out when Dorothy and Walter realize there is beauty in where they are currently in life.  For me, I think “anywhere but here” syndrome is all about losing sight of the current and being disconnected from perspective.

Do you think there is actually a perfect place that you will find or live? 

I have made this place in my head where we will have neighbors that we all love (we’re pretty close), an adorable house (check on that one too), family nearby (this can never actually happen with parents alone in three states), and mosquitoes will be completely eradicated.  I should also note that in this location I will be able to easily drive to the country, mountains and lake within 15 minutes like I did in Utah, but I would be able to wear a cardigan year round while doing it.  Well, the truth bomb is this place is not real.  

Every place has clear advantages and disadvantages, but it is really a matter of needs for the person and a lot to do with trying hard and having perspective.  Do I think that some places naturally have a better fit for people?  Sure, but it doesn’t give us a free pass to focus only on the negatives of where we currently are.

Do you associate your happiness with change? 

Are you always hunting for the next job, the next home, the next trip?  I think traveling is a wonderful way to find yourself, but it can be easy to completely lose yourself in comparison or day dreaming as well.  I’ve seen so many beautiful things and met so many people it can be hard for me to want to root anywhere.  Even more so, I often forget that my home is now with my husband wherever that may be.

While I will probably always identify as a small town girl and appreciate big fields over cityscapes, I do really enjoy the architecture that can come from historical buildings.  Even though Atlanta driving seriously makes me want to gouge my eyes out sometimes, I really appreciate how motivated the people are around me because it makes me want to push myself more.  Even though our home will probably never allow zoning for chickens, I can appreciate that when our neighbor’s dog constantly barked she was awesome when I approached her and she fixed the problem.

Are you struggling with contentment in your day to day life? Maybe you have "anywhere but here" syndrome? | via The Spirited Violet

I think that compelling drive to keep seeing, learning, and improving can be a super powerful force in life.  My drive to keep looking for more in life inspired me to go to grad school and find something I am very happy doing and that feeling is what gave me the guts to get married to Devin even though marriage is a big risk!  However, “anywhere but here” syndrome makes us look at the current situation we are in without realism or optimism about the potential of our now.  

In essence, “anywhere but here” syndrome robs us of our ability to see blessings and good things happening and the thing is: we have many.  One of my goals to help myself press forward this year and in life is to begin appreciating now more and more.

Do you have “anywhere but here” syndrome?  Do you have the same symptoms or some different ones?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

  • HA! Walter Mitty is my spirit animal! We were so excited to travel a lot this year until our cruise started falling through, and then we were supposed to go to California for a family trip in December, and that looks like it’s falling through too! Maybe someday right?

    • I have “anywhere but here” syndrome, but with my apartment! I can’t wait to get out of here. It’s dark and depressing, which doesn’t help me since I struggle with depression and I’m a realist. It sucks. Haha. I am always dreaming about getting to the West Coast, but inside of me, I know my husband and I probably won’t ever move there. I’m totally fine with it. I think it’s okay to dream and to give into wanderlust, but there has to be balance with real life.

      • Our first apartment was a small basement apartment that leaked and had super inconsistent (hint: almost non-existent) heating in Utah. There were some mornings I would wake up and I could see my breath…it was so bad!! I was so happy when we moved to a new apartment.

        Aesthetics makes a big different to my mood as well. Right now we have a lovely house though and so I need to just appreciate what we have here.

    • Walter Mitty was one of my favorite movies I have seen in forever…! I’m sorry all of your trips are falling through. We’ve always been really lucky that we haven’t had anything like that happen. I hope you get to make up for them sooner than you are expecting!

  • I also have a traveling bug

    • Georgia is the longest place we’ve lived somewhere permanently since we were always moving around in college. I imagine after I’ve lived here for 5 years, just like I did in Utah, I will love it here just as much!!

  • This was a really interesting read for me although I feel like I tend to be very much the opposite. Particularly since our recent move in June–I don’t want to have any more changes in life, especially location, for a good long time. 😛 I don’t even want to get on an airplane for a while. I think I’m more on the opposite end of the spectrum, craving stability even when I know there’s no guarantee on how long we’ll get to stay in our apartment and keep the same jobs. I love it here. But I have been more restless when living in a place that I didn’t love.

    • I’ve been in that phase too. We spent a month traveling after we graduated. We were tired of moving our stuff and I just wanted my bed, my things, and a routine by the end of it. I felt very tired!! Devin’s job can be very mobile so I think I have a hard time super commuting to an area that seems very transient. I know that eventually I will find things here that are really a good fit, but I’m super definitely working on it!

  • Autumn I love this post!! I definitely struggle with this syndrome. We both got so lost in our desire to adventure and move that we didn’t think of how it would affect us. Even though we’re feeling more rooted again, I keep thinking “what’s next? Mexico is a cheap flight from here! I wish I knew my neighbors. I wish my parents lived close.” and on and on and on. You completely summed up my thoughts. Sharing tomorrow 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing the post and I’m also glad to hear that you can totally relate! When we moved to Atlanta, I was still in denial we weren’t living near family so it has been easy for me to think “we could get a job HERE or HERE.” When in reality, there are some things I really do love about this place like our home, the weather, and oddly enough I am getting used to the traffic haha!

  • This became so real for me as I was reading because I definitely struggle with finding that healthy balance between leaving and staying. Which is funny since Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie of all time and I have “There’s no place like home” signs around my entire house. Moderation truly is the key to everything I love how you brought that to light in this post. Great stuff!

    • Thanks for your sweet comment! My sister’s favorite movie was the Wizard of Oz and so I watched it a lot growing up. It is definitely one of my favorites too! I definitely need to have some of those signs around my house too to help remind me! Moderation is key, but is totally hard sometimes 😉

  • Mercedes

    I am always trying to book plane tickets to anywhere. Just last week I bought tickets to Pittsburgh, but had to cancel because I remembered that I’m not working this fall.

    • I feel the same way!! We are always looking at plane tickets. If I can balance my love of travel with really committing and loving the place where I live, it’ll be golden! 🙂

  • I LOVE this post! I think so many people struggle with this. I personally have never been some where and thought about moving, BUT I constantly want to travel and visit new places instead of being where I currently am, doing what i’m currently doing. This would be an awesome post to try to boost because I’m sure it would get a lot of attention!

    • I think it is personally a-ok if you have never thought about moving. I’m getting more and more used to Georgia, but I think this post helped me start getting there. I loved where I grew up in Kentucky too, but there just aren’t any jobs!! It is always easy for me to move on from the good things I’m doing right now and want more.

  • Bel

    Hello Autumn, I find your web by a comment you wrote in thehappyflammily.com
    I feel the same way when you say: “According to Pinterest, it seems like traveling is the only way to “find yourself” and it should be done at all costs”.
    Last year I´ve read a lot of webs by woman who are traveling the world and I have a friend who is traveling through latinamerica.

    I think that the routine of going to the same work at the same hour every day, it is a challenge and away to learn about myself and change. I have to say that I live in the same city where I was born. Here in Buenos Aires, Argentina we don´t have to go away when we enter to University. Here we can study for free and the University of Buenos Aires has a good quality.
    I have a blog but I write in spanish.

    Have a nice day!

    • I think you can learn a lot about yourself through living out a routine as much as you do about traveling. I think the big thing is that people are happy with what they have and they are making the steps to be the person they want to be (sometimes that happens with the influence of our jobs and sometimes it doesn’t). Thanks for your sweet comment- Argentina sounds like such a beautiful place!