A Year of Wonder

 Tales from a recovering dromomaniac who fell off the wagon

Dromomania (the compulsive urge to travel) is an incurable disease.  It’s always there in the background, gnawing away at my resolve and encouraging me to visit dubious websites.  Websites that titillate me with promises of adventure and freedom.  My throat becomes dry, I sweat, my heart races.  Trembling fingers click between exotic images.  I try to pull away, to avert my eyes, but it’s so hard to resist my cravings for white water rafting, jungle treks, safaris, new cultures – even high altitude hiking.  Before I can stop myself, I’ve whipped out my credit card and the downward spiral begins again.

But as I get older, it becomes harder and harder to juggle this passion with my responsibilities to my family and my scientific career.  Just one more adventure, I begged, and then I’ll stop.  Does anyone believe this?

Still, one more adventure is what I got – and this time I took Christi, my future wife, with me: six months in South America and six months in Africa.  Unplugging ourselves from the suffocating clutches of society mid-career was actually an enormous challenge; almost a deal-breaker, in fact, but my dromomania burned oh so bright and the open road remains an irresistible temptation.

What follows is a retrospective look at that journey, one day at a time.  All 365 of them.  The inspiration for looking back is the little chap I hold in my arms.  He stares at me transfixed as I regale him with stories of my adventures.  Is it my imagination or does he genuinely look forward to this night-time ritual.  Is dromomania hereditary?


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