TMZ: Wanderer

It’s been a fun first week christening my proverbial flagship, thomasmarkzuniga.com, detailing all these different facets of my life. Thanks so much for journeying with me. It’s certainly been a fruitful, eye-opening process for me during a time of extreme transition, and I hope you’ve found my introspective posts at least more worth your time than the plot of Glee.

Unless my blogging audience happens to be huge Glee fans, in which case, yeah Glee!

To close out this six-part intro to my blog, I’m going to write about the word that perhaps describes me greater than all the others combined; the ambition of writing this intro-ending post has filled me with both great excitement and trepidation.

Wanderer

The English major nerd that I am, I love drawing biblical/literary parallels to my life. I like to view my first twelve years living in Pennsylvania as sort of an “Eden” start to my life. Great family/church/school environment, limited struggles — just a fantastic childhood.

Then my family moved 800 miles away to Georgia. And ever since, I feel like Adam and Eve must have felt, wanderers in a fallen world that pales in comparison to where they started.

First I wandered through high school in northeast Georgia.

Then I wandered to southern Georgia for my freshman year of college.

Then I wandered back to northeast Georgia for three more years of college and another year and a half of off-and-on work.

Then I wandered all the way across the country for a new life in southern California.

Then I embarked on another wandering venture in Milwaukee this past summer.

I recently returned to southern California; who knows where my wandering soul will weave next.

For the past twelve years, I’ve endured perpetual restlessness while yearning for the lighted horizon. A friend with similar feelings once described this personality type to me as melancholic, of being discontent with the fallen ways of this world, of longing for the perfection and glory of the Next.

It’s strange, because I sincerely desire to find an earthly place I can confidently call home for years and decades to come. And yet such a thought also unnerves me, for such lofty aspirations seem asinine and impossible in light of my true Home on the other side of mortality.

That’s not to say the past twelve years of wandering have been filled with utter misery, as I’ve met some fantastic people and experienced many special memories along this mountainous cliff-winding path of life. But my underlying feeling through every conversation, every hug, every church service, every baseball game, every English class, every drive to work, every journal entry, every run through the park, and every blogging session at Panera has remained this:

I’m wandering; I’m not Home yet.

Little did I know at the time that my high school valedictorian speech, based on Steven Curtis Chapman’s sobering song, would serve as a theme for the rest of my life:

With wandering comes a love for traveling. When my soul digests new sights, new sounds, new tastes, and new smells, I influx with this indescribable surge of wonder. I’ve felt this feeling time and time again in my journeys up and down America’s east coast, during a summer studying abroad at Oxford University, along my five-day road trip to California last fall, and with countless other locales outside and in between.

As motivation to see new sights, I have an idea called “Wandering Wednesday” where I travel somewhere new each week and blog from said location. Maybe I’d even fire up the old video camera for such occasions; I’m sure it’d be far more appealing for you, my dear readers, to see the majestic mountain behind me rather than simply take my digital word for it.

Ultimately, my goal for wanderer posts is simply to talk about my 24-year-old life in light of my restless search for purpose and belonging. For that illustrious lighted horizon.

As you’ve seen over the past week, I am many things. I could surely describe myself with many other words than the six I’ve incorporated this past week, but these six cover a large portion of the TMZ pie. Like everyone, I’m simply trying to find my way in this big confusing world.

The good and the bad, the wonderful and the weird; this is me, and this will be my blog.

I’m a wandering wordsmith, lover of words and pilgrim longing for Home.