Over the years, I’ve asked myself many, many times why I do this. Why I feel this need. Why, at random times, it galvanizes me into packing a bag, calling up a few friends, and bartering cooking experience for crashspace.

Other people call it “wanderlust.” That’s probably as accurate a term as I’m ever going to find.

It’s best described as a quiet ache—of looking at the same four walls and knowing that you’ve looked at them before. Knowing that you’ve explored them from top to bottom, inside to out, and that there’s not much left to discover.

The need is to walk away. Gain perspective. See new sights, new places, and get together with old (or new) friends.

The need: to get up early in the morning and throw a solidly-packed bag into the back seat of my car. To slide into the same driver’s seat I’ve had for the past seven years. The dance of forward and reverse, the precise cadence of radio station surfing.

The feel of the open road, slipping away under my tires, window open enough to catch a good breeze, and the miles ticking a slow tally on my odometer.

I have a standing invitation. I have to confirm some dates and plans, but I think that I may be driving up to Illinois. From what I hear, there’s a fabulous little indie theatre, a couple of excellent used bookstores, and a few people that I’d really enjoy meeting.

I think that, before the temperatures drop and the snow starts falling, that perhaps it’s time to give in to the wanderlust. Just for a little while. I’ve been to 27 of the 50 states. This trip, depending on the route I take, could add another two or three to that number.

Yes, indeed. I think it’s time.