Have you heard of the medical condition known as”mad travellers’ disease” or more officially as “dromomania”? What a lovely word! This condition describes people who are driven to wander long distances due to irresistible impulses. They have an exaggerated desire to wander or travel.
The word is derived from Ancient Greek dromos–a running/race, and mania-insanity.
Wikipedia offers the following: “Dromomania, also travelling fugue, is an uncontrollable psychological urge to wander. People with this condition spontaneously depart from their routine; they may travel long distances and take up different identities and occupations. Months may pass before they return to their former identities. In the common English vernacular this is often rendered simply as ‘wanderlust’ (directly from the German), although dromomania does imply a psychological compulsion, usually on one’s own and often without one’s conscious knowledge, rather than a more generalised desire to travel. The most famous case was that of Jean-Albert Dadas, a Bordeaux gas-fitter. Dadas would suddenly set out on foot and reach cities as far away as Prague, Vienna or Moscow with no memory of his travels. Jean-Martin Charcot presented a case he called automatisme ambulatoire, French for ‘ambulatory automatism’, or ‘walking around without being in control of one’s own actions.’ More generally, the term is sometimes used to describe people who have a strong emotional or even physical need to be constantly traveling and experiencing new places, often at the expense of their normal family, work, and social lives.”
Rachael Jones constructed her own fiction based on dromomania. How many of us feel driven to travel around our own countries or abroad as often as our finances can manage? Are you a dromomaniac? Am I a dromomaniac because I feel driven to walk the length of the Derwent River, while I hope more dollars will find their way into my bank account so I can travel overseas again?