"Wanderlust" refers to a strong longing or impulse to wander and explore. I get it. It's a disease that afflicts people with adventurous spirits to have an overwhelming urge to travel. Is it nature or nurture? Who can tell, but most photographers and travel writers have it.
I'm not judging, but there's something personally unappealing about the term "wanderlust". I'm sure it's the "lust" part because the "wander" part is awesome. It connotes something illicit or undisciplined and for me, loving travel and photography is something very good and pure. It brings out joy, which is innocent, and wonder, which is humbling.
It's also something very serious. This may sound like a judgment but I'll say it anyway. Wanderlusters choose the adventure to satisfy themselves whereas to me these adventures are about bringing a profound respect to the place being visited and to learn from it like a student from a teacher. In a sense, no matter how good I get at my craft (I understand the term "good" is subjective), I am always subject to my surroundings, to God's creation and to the history of what has brought the place to where it is today. That usually entails some sort of war, death or struggle mixed in with the beauty, so for example a to visit Vietnam couldn't be just a vacation or professional opportunity, it would be a reverent endeavor to find the truth there in that place.
On my trips to New Zealand, I experience the epitome of what I'm talking about. It isn't "wanderlust", it's something completely superior. It's about joy, happiness, giving and taking, learning and teaching, innocence and wisdom all in one. I'm more like a child looking for her long lost parent and finding him day after day, or like a sojourner who finally finds home sweet home. It's a permanent satisfaction, not a temporal one. Which doesn't mean I don't want to do it again and again and again....
It's really about discovering God, even though you believe you already know Him completely. It's about being thoroughly freed and empowered by His creation while feeling an overwhelming sense that you are, for some inexplicable reason, being permitted the privilege of entrance into the inner sanctum of some grand kingdom. It's the juxtaposition of feeling like a totally free slave.
The experience of then bringing the back-story and the photography of these mystical places to the eyes of others is one of sheer joy.
It's more a matter of enlightenment, sojourning or living the exploration than anything associated with lust, and maybe I'm too hung up on words, but I will someday find the phrase I am looking for to replace "wanderlust". I'm at a loss today, but on my next adventure? Maybe not. Maybe I'll find it there.