A Conversation Considering Wanderlust

Picture of Tessa, author, with her oldest sibling Courtney

My oldest sister Courtney is 27 years old. When researching the definition of Wanderlust, Merriam Webster outlines a “strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.” In the context of my family, Wanderlust defines Courtney Jessica Van Bussum. There are very few words that can completely encapsulate exploring the world with six unique personalities, but to summarize in one simple phrase-travel is hard.

Making the attempt to Tetris 7 bodies into physical spaces the size of shipping containers is hard. Having no plan or itinerary for a month in a foreign country, relying only on TripAdvisor and booking.com to carry us to our next adventure is hard. Consistently working through interactions-both positive and negative-between strong willed siblings and parents with different views of the world is hard. Yet in spite of all of the ‘hard,’ Courtney Van Bussum will be the first to see all of these difficulties as a reward. I had the opportunity to have a ‘sista chat’ with my sib this week, yet instead of asking her for the sugarcoated version of the family backpacking saga, I asked Courtney about the moments that weren’t so awesome.

On these trips, the Van Bussum are not the most put together group of individuals. We wouldn’t win any awards in being polite or mild mannered on our excursions, and a combination of heavy hitting egos and hardcore exhaustion creates a setting where we aren’t the nicest to each other. There are tears, there are instances where it seems it would be easier to book a flight home that day than try to continue the journey. Courtney, for as long as I can remember, has been the strength of this Van Bussum powerhouse. She is the definition of the silver lining sibling, has the incredible ability to see the best in any situation. She believes that beyond the travel itself, the importance of these trips are the crazy bond that comes from sharing memories and stories that will inevitably get brought up at family dinners years after they have occurred.

Yes, there are wifi-less, navigation issue, sleep in the car, stranded at a bus days that in essence are just bad. And yes, there are also top of the world, best pizza eating, 80 feet deep in crystal clear waters, laughing until we cry days that are in essence, amazing. Naturally, you would think that these moments would be the ones shoved into the back of the brain, swept under the rug or squished into the back drawer of conversation topics. Yet Courtney would be the first to tell you, it is these experiences, both good and bad, that allow the VBs to further understand each other, and carve out way through the rest of the world.

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