The Urban Wanderer or Not

Wanderer: a person who travels aimlessly. Most of my adult life I have fantasized to be a wanderer. If I were to deconstruct what my fantasy truly seeks, it nearly culminates at a day dream of being not only purposeless but also rootless. It’s a lust to be free, free from all accountabilities. What a blissful place that would be. If it exists that is! Google knows this all too well hence tied up with Levis to produce a smart jacket, to make the wandering proposition more inviting. People from my generation deliberated with friends on this mirage over coffee, salivated for a haven like that over beer but it’s not the same for the very special millennials. They seemingly make every small or big decision to achieve that one ultimate goal. The goal to be an ‘Urban Wanderer

When you befriend a Gen Z on a social platform, including your own children, you may begin to get a glimpse of their ecosystem. You get to appreciate what they consume, engage with, and feel passionately about. If you are in luck you can even have the privilege of a real conversation. But in all situations, you would in all probability grudgingly gather that they are doing what you always fancied. You may even find yourself cursing and telling yourself – hell this generation is far smarter, they truly know how to live. Really, do they? Do they really practice wandering? Lets ponder.

Do they wander their minds as much into what to do after school? Mostly they have achieved salvation in the knowledge that the world out of India is waiting for them with open arms. They over-hear their parents talk over single malts about how they are set to send their child oversees after he finishes school and how it’s alright to pick the more relaxed IB because anyway the kids have to leave the country for their higher studies. These urban wanderers today are sheltered, entitled and even sated in some ways.


Do they fret over financial independence as much? Go back to the times when your mother said, don’t you ask your father for more freebies, you better buy your own bike with your first salary. Today's generation loves and protects their independence but the testing terrain of financial independence is not where they are seen wandering about too much. Every time a father raises his voice, the mother intervenes educating him that he is hurting the child's self-esteem. And every time the mother tells the boy to earn his motorbike, the father surprises the boy with the key to the new one, only because he is trying hard to be a buddy. Parents' decisions seem to be influenced by a fear of losing their children to this new-age.

Life for that matter is nothing but a place where one is sent to make beautiful memories. This probably comes from the complaint they made as a child – oh mom I am bored, and the mom promptly looked out for some classes, activates, play dates and what not. If the mom stayed staid and said – go find something and better be useful, chances are they may have not known boredom. These wanderers wander only into known topographies where they anticipate enjoyable moments else they get bored.

Pleasure happens to be their biggest objective. They expend a lot of their time and energy in making their days fun. To each their own but sorrow is something they don’t accept. Having fun is a serious objective. A lot of fads that we see around us are coming from this burning desire of being happy and showing the world that they are. Unlike our generation that wrote pathos, the cure for even a heart break for this generation is an over-dose of fun. They don’t believe in weeping in acceptance. They believe they must have everything under control. And why not for they were always told they are too good to lose and they deserve the world and nothing less.


They love wandering into adventure camping, biking, virtual gaming. However, when it comes to a real game of life they may choose to wander away. Don’t blame them when they choose themselves over a relationship because it didn’t evolve into what they would like. They were always told – love yourself first. When things at work don’t develop into what is desired, there is always recourse - entrepreneurship! If someone ran a study, we may discover that most startup ideas emerge from a merciless appraisal, a harsh argument, a demanding boss, an ungracious organization but hardly from a reflective oneself.

I long hedonistically to wander about exploring the world, meet new people and then disengage to move to another unknown place. I believe I earned it after so much of wandering. I have been wandering as much as most of the people my generation - for grades, admissions, promotions, a deserving place at work, in relationships, in society et al to mark my next level in the world of wandering. Wouldn’t you agree? Closing this note with my most used lines - Overwatering can destroy the plant; one must know when to stop giving!

(Image Credits: Flickr)

(About the Author: This article has been contributed
by Priyanka Sharma Kaintura who is a marketing communications professional and author of the book ‘My Jiffies’)