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An Ode To The Drunken Wanderer

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Of all the things that unite basic white girls across the nation, from oversized cable-knit sweaters to haunted hay rides through perfectly-filtered pumpkin patches, perhaps the most flagrant is the love and abuse of clichéd quotes from supposedly famous and respectable role models. Peruse any Instagram account from one of these girls and you’ll eventually see all the same nauseating quotes for every occasion. Indeed, it seems these clichés have been tailor-fitted for insertion into any social media context. One of their favorites for any travel scenario is the by-now infamous “Not all those who wander are lost.” Usually thrown up as a caption to the first photo from their European semester abroad, this quote seems to have literally circumnavigated the globe several times over. You cannot avoid it. You cannot escape it. But are they right?

Sure, there may be many reasons for having an innate sense of wanderlust. Perhaps you feel the need to appreciate other cultures through firsthand experience. Perhaps you want a more intimate knowledge of your own home area. Or, perhaps, you are just really, really drunk.

When the booze really starts flowing and total inebriation hits, there are those among us who simply feel the need to go. They can’t be contained by any single party. Hitting one bar leads to hitting seven. A trip across town for that perfect drunk food sounds like the adventure of a lifetime. As with the Lewis and Clarks, the Ferdinand Magellans, and the Neil Armstrongs of the world, these modern day explorers of the wild and untamed collegiate landscape will forge their own winding, swerving path as they drunkenly take to the great unknown.

What motivates these wasted wanderers to take to the streets? Is it an unquenchable thirst for something better? A fear of missing out? The need for a quest? Or could it simply be the ramblings of a blacked-out brother who threw good judgment out the window along with his sense of direction?

Whatever the cause, every chapter seems to have that one guy who everyone has to subconsciously keep an eye on for fear of losing him. This is the guy who typically winds up sleeping somewhere other than a bed, out in front of some family’s well-manicured lawn. Usually considered a liability to the fraternity, this guy is like a ghost at parties. You see him once at the punch tub as people start filtering in, and then that’s it for the rest of the night. The next morning you learn that he got blackout, stumbled out of the backdoor, and made his way to the local Taco Bell for that Cheesy Gordita Crunch that just couldn’t wait. While usually not too much of a problem within the confines of your familiar college town, take this brother out to a weekend formal away from the castle and things get bumped up a notch. Suddenly, a drunkenly wandering brother out in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains seems less like a shenanigan and more like an episode of ‘Man vs. Wild’.

During my time as an undergraduate, I frequently played the role of the missing brother. Past a certain level of inebriation, and I simply could not be tied down. Brothers found me ambling aimlessly across town, mumbling about the beauty of the stars or the quest for the perfect submarine sandwich. On my twenty-first birthday, my friends lost track of me at the bar and had to perform a search and rescue mission for my possibly lifeless corpse along the streets of the city. An hour later, I was finally located jogging laps around the parking lot of the local hospital nearby. No excuses, no reasons, no rationale. Trying to keep pace with me was like trying to corral a greased hog. Finally the people around me learned just to give up, and that eventually I would show up back at the house like a lost dog that got left at a roadside rest stop. Dragging myself back in the next morning, I was always peppered with questions about where I had been and what I had done. Sometimes I had stories, many times I had no memory at all. Given my behavior, it’s amazing that I had any friends left at all.

So remember, there are those of us who feel the inebriated urge to get up, go out, and have an adventure. Let us go. After all, not all those who wander are lost. Sometimes we’re just wasted.

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