Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 3, 2012

When I Am Home

India OmarIt’s no secret that I am consumed by wanderlust — that strong urge to wander and to explore and to connect with those who live beyond my familiar borders. I have never been completely satisfied staying still or staying close. My heart is tuned to the frequency of exploring and experiencing other places and, no matter how hard I try, I struggle to keep my dial tuned to sitting still. That’s not a bad thing — it’s just the way God wired me. My wife Cheryl understands. She can sense when I am getting restless. It happens often when we watch programs about other places and interesting peoples. I find myself asking questions and jotting down information that I want to investigate. And, I often look at maps in order to understand how a particular place that I see featured in a television program fits into its larger geographical context.

In his poem entitled “The Men Who Don’t Fit In,” Robert W. Service described the restlessness that characterizes those consumed by wanderlust. Although his poem in its entirety is not flattering, he did capture the essence of what he called “the curse of gypsy blood.” In the first strophe of his poem, Service wrote:

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t sit still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.

So, what happens to one cursed by gypsy blood when he cannot wander but must instead remain closer to home? There is a solution — an ointment to soothe the itch and food to satisfy the hunger. Here are a few of the practical things that help me when I am at home.

Stay curious about the world. | I believe in the importance of curiosity. I try to not consume empty mental calories when I am at home but to instead nourish my mind by reading and learning more about what is happening in the world. There are some really great programs about the nations on TV, all manner of books about fascinating peoples and places, and endless online resources to stay dialed in to the world at large. I enjoy reading travel blogs, especially those that feature good photos of interesting things in the world. And, although I really enjoy my monthly copy of National Geographic, my new favorite travel magazine is AFAR. I read every issue cover to cover.

Engage with the nations wherever you are. | When I can’t go to the nations, I look for the nations at home — people from other places who have come to live among us. I really enjoy meeting and conversing with people from other nations who live and work in my own community and make it a point to cross paths with them as often as possible. With every visit I learn a little more about them, their families, and other interesting things. And, they also learn more about me. It’s this exchange that is essential to building bridges of understanding.

Discover new places close to home. | I have learned that when I can’t go far from home I can always wander closer to home. There are so many interesting places close to home that are just waiting to be discovered. We can learn new things about where we live if we will look at the things around us through the eyes of a traveler who has come from afar to visit where we live. My wife and I recently wandered the backroads close to our home and had a splendid adventure. We discovered some beautiful places and met some very friendly folks along the way.

Continue to keep your eyes on the horizon. | I think its important to always have a dream or dreams that beckon us to stretch toward the next horizon. Those dreams may be of a future trip to some place near or far or of developing a friendship with someone from another nation. Regardless of whether you will travel sooner or later, keep your dream alive and patiently wait for the opportunity to turn it into a reality. Read about a place you would like to visit. Take notes and make plans. And when the opportunity presents itself, take your first steps toward your next horizon.


  1. 🙂

  2. Pastor Omar, would you share with me some of your favorite TV shows?

    • My favorite are the Lonely Planet travel programs. They are very well done. The Travel Channel used to feature them before they started featuring shows about food and gambling and other stuff like that. You can usually find the Lonely Planet programs on PBS. I also enjoy Nat Geo, History, and Discovery channels. I watch some of Rick Steves programs, but they are more focused on Europe. My local favorite is Texas Country Reporter. They have lots of their episodes available on YouTube.

      • Thanks so much.

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