The Wanderlusters of Prince William

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By Lisa Collins-Haynes

Who among us likes to travel? You’d be hard pressed to find many who don’t. Whether they travel locally or afar, the vast majority of people like to wander a little to find new places to explore. Then there are the chosen few that take travel to a whole new level. They’ve redefined the meaning and created a movement called Wanderlust, and its groupies are called Wanderlusters. What is this wanderlust, you may ask. Well, it’s a noun defined as a very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.

This definition is a tad bit mild in describing the sensation that overtakes you when the impulse to travel hits. There are several variations of quotes about finding your tribe: find your tribe and love them hard, or your vibe attracts your tribe. But it was actress Kathryn Hahn who said, “You find your tribe, and you stick with them.” Following her directive, let’s meet a few people right here in Prince William and learn about their wanderlust experiences.

“I would say that I have always been a Wanderluster,” said Dr. Alisan Kula of  Gainesville. “My father wrote for Time magazine and lived all over the world, so at a young age, I was exposed to many foreign places. I have never grown out of it. As I’ve grown older, I can afford to travel to more places more often. I have even given my children what I call the travel bug.”

In a way, you can say that Dr. Kula was destined to be a Wanderluster. She was born abroad in Madrid, Spain, and then shortly after moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with her parents before relocating to the U.S. That’s what started her great love affair with traveling around the world. And around she has been. Her wanderlust has taken her to Africa, Europe, and South America as well as throughout the Caribbean.

Ticking Off the Bucket List Places to Visit
And like many others, when she scratches one place off her bucket list, there’s always another far-off destination to replace it. Dr. Kula said, “I have not been anywhere in the Middle East or India. I would like to go to Australia and New Zealand; Antarctica and Argentina as well as the Galapagos. I would also like to visit Iceland, go to Norway and see the midnight sun, visit the northern and southern parts of Africa and visit many of the other parts of Southeast Asia. I would also like to explore Eastern Europe and Russia.”

Wanderlust on the Road
Sometimes, wanderlust isn’t about going far; sometimes it’s just about going. And with a little more than 2,500 miles coast-to-coast in the U.S., the Warrens, who live in the City of Manassas, enjoy seeing all of it from their Tiffin Phaeton 40QBH motorhome. When I spoke with Dan and Patti Warren, they described a different type of wanderlust. Their love and irresistible impulse to travel comes by way of jumping on the open road. Dan said, and Patti agreed, that “RVing gives you the freedom to go where you want, when you want in comfort. You don’t have to make reservations, [you can]sleep as late as you want, [you do]not have to pack and unpack every day, and [you] meet great people almost every day and just relax.”

Dan Warren said that as a teenager, he always enjoyed driving, just getting out onto the open road. It wasn’t unusual for him to drive from NOVA to Virginia Beach to meet a friend for lunch and then drive home. Even today, as a retiree, he still makes the
Virginia Beach run as well as driving to other places a couple of hundred miles away. From as far back as he can recall, he’s just always enjoyed traveling. When I asked them how they got turned on to RVing, Patti Warren said, “We have always liked
going on vacations, usually a week at the beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Then we started taking cruises every year, including three Disney cruises, and we don’t have kids! Then we acquired two little bichons in 2008, and our lives changed forever. We had them for two months before we went on a cruise and called home at every port asking how they were doing. Dan had always wanted a RV, but me not so much! When we got home from the cruise, we went to look at RVs and bought one.”

Sometimes Travel Means Bumpy Roads
For some, this Wanderlust lifestyle seems like paradise, but it’s not always fun and games. Dan Warren recalls a few bad experiences while on the road. He explained, “Well…it’s always something, and you learn to take it in stride. We have been
disabled on the side of the highway twice for seven hours each; those were really just inconveniences. Patti worked on her crafts; I took a nap and watched TV until help came. We also got rear ended during a rain storm in Atlanta, our tow car and trailer
were totaled, and we incurred $20,000 in damages to the back of the coach. But no one was hurt, and we drove it home.”

Despite all that, the wanderlust is still firmly in place for both of them. Dolly Parton once said, “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” And this resonates about traveling because not all trips will go smoothly. As Dan Warren said, there’s always something—a glitch, a hiccup, a missed flight, bus or boat. But it’s all a part of the experience and makes the travel more adventurous, thus creating more wanderlust inside you.

Are You a Wanderluster?
Some Wanderlusters ironically don’t even know they are one. Eric Williams said, “Before this article, I honestly didn’t even know what it meant. I wasn’t familiar with the term, so like everything else I’m unfamiliar with, I googled it. Pretty simple. Strong desire to travel fits me perfectly.” When asked to think outside the box and pick one place that he has never been to, but would love to be teleported to right now and only have 48 hours to visit, his response was, “I’d love to travel to Africa and feel the spirit of the Motherland. I could go with close family members, friends or alone. Just to experience the history and the rich culture of my ancestors would give me a feeling of connection to the past.”

For many travelers, that’s really what it’s all about—a connection. Traveling with purpose to connect the dots, tell a story, rediscover the past, and set a path for the future. One of the best parts about being a Wanderluster is the chance to tell people where you’ve been, about your personal experience and how a particular destination impacted you. Williams gave our PWL readers his top five picks of places to visit: France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Greece. Of course, get out there and explore your own backyard in Prince William County. The Warrens chimed in and wanted to encourage travel to their favorite spots, too: the Grand Canyon and Sedona in Arizona,
Key West in Florida, Pigeon Forge in Tennessee, Beaufort in South Carolina, and almost any of the larger cities in the Southeast.

The common thread that binds wanderlusters altogether is that they all wished they had started traveling sooner in life. If they knew then what they know now, they would have valued the opportunity more, captured more meaningful memories and savored the experiences longer.

Lisa Collins-Haynes (lhaynes@princewilliamliving.comis a wife, mother and international travel writer whose bags are always packed. Follow her on Instagram at wanderlust@living_a_charmed_life. 


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