Why do you travel?

June, 2018

Are you ever asked: why do you travel? To Travel is to Live – Hans Christian Andersen

Have you noticed that when you let anyone in on your secret that you’re taking off again for a while, a barrage of endless questions flow through effortlessly?

How long are you gone for this time? When are you back? Don’t you miss home? How can you stay away for so long? And so, it goes on…

I haven’t quite understood if this Spanish inquisition is a guilt trip for leaving behind loved ones, or whether it is just intrigue around why ‘on earth you would want to leave home?’

And yes, earth is the reason…

It is not down in any map; true places never are. – Herman Melville

Lahu Village, Luang Namtha, Laos, trekking

Children of the Lahu Village, Laos

The seed

Sometimes growing up in a small semi-rural town can feel as if you’re lost to a world that’s far larger and greater than your own.

But continual exposure to the BBC, ABC, 4Corners, et al, and sitting through several News’ editions each evening, has to expand your mind and influence you in some way, right?

And this exposure has to show you that there is so much more out there to explore than the town in which you feel secure and grew up in. This made me think how insignificant we are to what’s really out there…

This global exposure opened a larger world than the one in which I knew and lived. Not happy just to watch this world on TV or read about life experiences in books, I had to see it for myself.

I made my mind up at an early age.

Maybe another influence whilst growing up was being absorbed in the lyrics of Pink Floyd’s brilliant Dark Side of the Moon. Especially with the song Time, which planted another level of anxiousness that turned into wanderlust. This nagging feeling could not be shifted – even today.

Leave Time running in the background whilst you read my blog.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. 
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

David Gilmour and Richard Wright’s most pertinent lines in Time still resonate…

Artist, Cornwall, England

Artist’s rest – Cornwall, England


In the old days

Back then, there was no FOMO (fear of missing out) label that graces our lives today.

Actually back then, there was no social media. Surprisingly, we still survived. I’m starting to sound like a dinosaur…but don’t write me off just yet!

I didn’t feel as if I was missing out, but just hungry to see everything I could during my lifetime. As let’s face it, none of us know our path in life, or how long we have.

A lingering urge to experience life to the full? Maybe. Coupled with a silently creeping desire to explore.

The number of times I listened to elderly (and not-so-elderly) lamenting on what they wished they would have seen during their life: but now it is too late.

To sit and do nothing is just like stagnating, rotting, wasting valuable time – almost as if you’re waiting for death to arrive.

A tad melodramatic? Perhaps.

But it sure is an impetus to get off the couch, leave your safe surrounds, plunge into travel, the unfamiliar, and then some.

If you think adventures are dangerous, try routine: It’s Lethal – Paul Coelho

Work to travel

With a magnetic pull to see the world, I decided that I would work hard to travel hard, so I saved hard. A couple of years’ later and finally, I saved enough money to leave Australia and travel for 12 months. It takes a while when you live away from home and have to pay for all of your own bills.

Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul – Jamie Lyn Beatty

Not sure why I gave myself 12 months, but this sounded like a good start, unless the money ran out sooner, or I just didn’t like travelling – it happens.

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving – Lao Tzu

With my 12-month around-the-world ticket booked, I now had to break the news to my parents.

Family woes

Returning to my sleepy semi-rural town to let my parents know of my good news and that Africa would be the first country of landing, was greeted with disbelief, and a barrage of concerning questions.

Their 22-year old daughter would be solo-travelling the world. Not assisted. Without friends or relatives to help. Dangerous times in Africa at the height of AIDS, especially for a lone white female.

No internet. No social media. No mobile phones. Only landline phones with prohibitively expensive reverse charges, when desperate. Only snail mail. Think about that for a bit…

Not as easy as solo-travelling these days, where every scrap of information is at your fingertips within seconds.

Vendor, Johannesburg to Cape Town train, Africa

Vendor – train from Johannesburg to Cape Town stopped momentarily (Fujichrome 35mm slide film)

I could understand the concern and of course, my parents tried to talk me out of going.

But adamant I had to travel, I argued that I did not want to be on my death bed regretting that I’d never been to a country, shared an experience, or to just feel alive. They still thought I was mad!

Was this to be my path in life for a while? Or forever? Who knows, but I was pretty excited.

Another person I had to say goodbye to was my partner of 18 months. Not once was I stopped from going and he understood that I had to do this – as selfish as this sounds, saying goodbye, was hard.

Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret – Oscar Wilde

The 12-month drug

I had no idea that I would thrive on travelling as much as I did and that it would become my drug of choice, for life.

You just never know.

Not knowing whether I would last one week, one month, let alone 12 months, I could have stayed out much longer, but that story is best saved for another chapter…

Apart from a return flight (in case I ran out of money), a one-month Eurail, a one-month BritRail, and a 21-day TopDeck tour to see the main sights through Europe, I had no other plans for the year.

Live your life by a compass not a clock – Stephen Covey

I went where I wanted, when I wanted, and the 12 months was nothing short of incredible!

Abu Simbel, Nubia, Egypt, Africa

Abu Simbel, Nubia, Egypt (Fujichrome 35mm slide film)

Of course there were times when I wondered what the hell I was doing on my own whilst hitching in north Scotland’s isolation, or getting lost with a storm brewing on the sparse hills of the desolate Orkney Islands. And then there was hitching around South Africa for a few weeks – just two Australian females and a few dubious rides.

Mevagissey, Cornwall, England

Derek and friend, Mevagissey, Cornwall – we wrote for many years, until one day I received a letter from his sister – he’d passed away

The things we do when we travel are things and situations that we would never dream of doing at home. Risks we would never take.

With the seed firmly planted, the drug now was an addiction.

TopDeck, Europe

I succumbed – things you do when you live in a double-decker bus

Since then?

Well, still travelling after 30+ years whether on short or extended trips. The lust has never dissolved.

The only time I stop travelling is to return to work to earn more money, to then take off again.

Let’s face it, with only 60+ countries over 6 continents visited, I still have many more countries to explore…and only a lifetime to do it all in.

Not all those who wander are lost – J.R.R. Tolkien

You may be thinking travel is not for you and that I’m crazy giving up stability and a well-paying career for uncertainty, potential danger, and the unknown. And that’s perfectly fine. It’s your life, live it as you feel best.

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign – Robert Louis Stevenson

All I say is that if you’re not happy with your life, then why not try a little travel?

You can always return home. But you never know, it may become your choice of life.

dong hoi, vietnam, backpacking

Dong Hoi Station – Vietnam (2014/2015) Photo credit: Neil Lintern

So, why do I travel?

Just a few reasons, in no particular order…

  1. Be free
  2. Experience life
  3. Be inspired
  4. Cathartic
  5. Not to conform to what society dictates
  6. Absorb disparate cultures
  7. Connect with people, bond with strangers and become long-life friends
  8. Makes me stronger
  9. Push my own mental and physical boundaries
  10. Emotional gratification
  11. Awe-inspiring experiences
  12. To respect the world in which we all live and to not take anything for granted
  13. Hold a head full of exquisite memories with no regrets
  14. Exotic and amazing cuisines


Why do you travel?

Now this is your turn to tell me why do you travel? What made you take that first step? Do you travel short-term or long-term?

I’m eager to hear your thoughts and start a travel discussion…

Your mind is your only barrier – Nilla Palmer

Visit Nilla’s Photography for global images – still many more countries to upload. Weekly updates of new travel and photography destinations at Image Earth Travel.

Go now my friend, it’s later than you think! – unknown

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Africa

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (Fujichrome 35mm slide film)


119 thoughts on “Why do you travel?

  1. What a wonderful read! I felt like you were saying all my thoughts out load and I love it. I just started a blog about my own travel adventures and the Why of it all. I can really relate to how much you love it. It’s definitely my Happy Place. I hope that I’ll get over the pond and around the globe before long. For now I am enjoying the hidden joys of this continent. Keep writing and NEVER GIVE UP!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thank you so much for the great feedback and sharing your thoughts with me.

      This post was a bit of a half-hour brain dump one day. I just felt that I had to write it all down as it was swimming around in my head, but hopefully, it answers the continual questions…that’s of course if people read it! 😉

      I’m so glad you’ve decided to overcome your injury and start to travel – it will feed your soul.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for following my blog, you’re my first! II think you are correct, it will feed my poor emaciated soul. As for the brain dump, I’m in complete support and to plan to do the same when possible. I imagine it’s unwise to do it all the time though. Do you find there is a “magic” length for this type of writing? A reading sweet spot for readers? I look forward to sharing my experiences but don’t want to be to become a SMDITL -Social Media Day In The Life.
      What is your next adventure? I look forward to reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I’ve never been someone’s first! 😉

      I’m not sure about ‘magic’ length as it depends on your audience, the post’s content, and how interesting the post is to readers. I vary the length of my posts as it just depends how much information I have to share.

      I’m currently living in southern Italy, so that’s keeping me quite busy for now…and yours?


  2. This was an amazing post! I never would have listened to Pink Floyd until I read this post. It definitely made it more interactive. Honestly, my first trip alone was to Canada for University, I spent 2 1/2 years there. My desire is to be a world traveler, and hopefully I do travel the world one day. For now I just write blogs on the few experiences I have had.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent! I’m so glad I’ve introduced you to Pink Floyd – brilliant band and you’ll have to check out more of their songs.

      That’s a good introduction to travelling. Don’t expect to see the whole world in your lifetime, unless you zip through that quickly that you’re only checking countries off your bucket list – not my style.

      Writing blogs is a great way to keep your dream alive and focus on future travel. I’ll pop over to your site now and thank you for your great feedback. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, awesome post! When I first saw this post I thought it’s a simple question about traveling. But it’s more informative post for all folks. This post gave a message like traveling is one of the best parts of everyone’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely love this post! It describes in better words than I could use my love for travel. I’m always looking to hitch a ride with friends (or sometimes people I just met) to travel wherever they’re going–the destination doesn’t even matter to me; there’s just something about going somewhere new and learning the history behind it. Marveling at the culture and climate changes and imagining how it could have looked hundreds of years ago or before it was settled. To quote Anne Shirley, “There’s so much scope for the imagination.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! The destination isn’t crucial to me either as I’ll pretty much go anywhere – it’s the amazing things that happen along the way.

      You can can always return to a destination but you can never replicate your previous experience. Thanks for your great feedback! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fantastic and thank you for your thoughts. Australia was a very different place back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I don’t like the way it’s going with our current Plutocracy.


  5. Awesome post. I love your 14 reasons for traveling, and feel that you echoed my thoughts. I’d add one more: to give myself and my existence better context. Somehow, travel brings me inner peace. Thanks for the wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I read the beginning I scrolled past the rest because it’s obvious. You have survived into the cyber and the world is your oyster the most important thing you can do for all of us is too keep inspiring others like you and I to keep traveling be break mental boundaries. Fear is for the dead! Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I travel to find out what I’m capable of. I’m scared to be vulnerable. Being a planner, things don’t always go according to plan when traveling. So at least now, I know that when things doesn’t go my way, I’ll still be fine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Really inspiring post Nilla, it was a lovely read! Travel really does bring me genuine happiness and I really liked that I could read that joy in your words too! Thanks and loving the blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Couldn’t have said it any better myself! You hit the nail on the head with this one. The day I stop travelling is the day I can no longer physically move and then I’ll probably just watch travel shows on the Tele!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We like to travel for around five weeks at a time, staying for a week or so in a few different places so we really see everything and enjoy it. We find people say to us how lucky we are, but we remind them we work hard and budget carefully to pay for our wonderful holidays. I hope we get to enjoy many more wonderful journeys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the insight. Sounds like you guys have it all sussed out. 🙂

      Agree, it’s not luck, unless you’re born rich. It’s hard work and compromising on going without of today’s ‘must haves’ in order to travel. We can’t have everything, so must choose – we make our own path in life. I’m sure with your philosophy, you will explore much more and look forward to reading more of your adventures.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I live to travel!! The world is everyone’s oyster, there is so much to see and do, so many things to learn from other cultures! I love everything about travelling! My ambition is to see the world… (and taste gins from these various places :P) keep travelling!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fantastic reasons and great philosophy in life – but I’m a tad bias!

      Partial to a little Gin, I like your idea of tasting Gins from around the world…food for thought. 😉


  12. Fabulous post Nilla, I love the quotes you found too..and love this tune by Pink Floyd. I first took off to Oz in 2005 because me and hubby were having issues, so I went away to think about things… and my travels gave me the strength to go home and end things and that was the best decision I have ever made..my life is here in Thailand, soon to be Spain (I have decided) . That travel bug never goes away! I get comments from friends and family, you’re so brave, lucky etc etc…not really, I am just living my life, as you are! Have a fab week 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I travel for multiple reasons, to see other worlds around me. Second life is so precious and short, my daughter almost died when she was born. God saved her life and brought her through. Ever since then my husband I take her places even if it’s expensive because we want to spend precious time with her. You never know how much time there is left- your life or a family or friends.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re right, life it so precious – enjoy every moment with your daughter and each other. We should appreciate every day that we wake up – not moan. Especially as these days, it’s a privilege growing old.

      Thank you for letting me in on why you travel. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Fantastic post! As hard as it is to believe, there are neighbors who are completely content to just stay at home. I think I am a ‘mix’. Love to be at home, love to travel every now and then. XxX
    Ps….that Pink Floyd song, one of my favorites too 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Patty! Hope you can understand my views on travel – sometimes it’s hard to put in words or get the message across.
      Sounds as though you have the best of both worlds. 😉 x

      Pink Floyd’s music is timeless and apt for this post!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh absolutely dear Nilla! And absolutely an inspiring post for those who want to travel and have a fixed mindset 😉
      How is Italy these days? As unusually hot as it is over here?

      Liked by 1 person

    • We’re not at that stage yet, I don’t think…

      It’s tragic for all victims not just humans. We have a lot of bush fires in Australia, as you may know. Although a lot of our native flora needs these to germinate, the fauna suffers terrible.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, never thought I would say it, being a woman of the sun, but ‘Let it rain! ‘ 😉
      Oh and totally forgot to mention this too: a fantastic photograph of the lady at the beginning of this post!
      Wishing you a cool and lovely rest of the day, XxX

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, must be hot then!

      Thank you. I printed my lady in Laos very large when I had the exhibition in January this year – she looks great printed and really brings her to life.

      Have fun and stay cool. 🙂 x

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Great blog post, Nilla! You have so many inspiring quotes from people who understand that wanderlust.

    I travel because Ia so curious about the world. The cultures, the food, the amazing landscapes and interesting cities… I don’t hear people asking me why I travel but I often wonder why they don’t have the same curiosity.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks Aixa!
      Exactly, curiosity is up there, where would we be without this? I’m always amazed when people I’ve met or friends and relatives, say they have no desire to see anywhere apart from their own town – this blows me away and just can’t understand it at all. But then again, if they’re happy with this path, what does it matter and who are we to cast judgement?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this post! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you and hearing about your many travel adventures. I’ve always had a strong desire to travel and I wish I had done more long haul travel when I was younger – but I did a lot of road trips while living in Toronto. I can hear you saying, “you know it’s never too late to travel, just get up and go!” and you are so right. This year I’ve traveled a bit more and I’m hoping to continue that trend and do more in these coming months and years. Why do I travel? I guess by nature I love discovering new places, it makes me feel alive and it wonders me how a whole life exists outside of my own. It is both humbling and empowering!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Ciao Lulu!

      I love road trips and there’s nothing wrong with exploring your own country. Actually, I need to see more of Australia. Glad you can relate to my post and yes, you are hearing correctly. 😉

      Great reasons for why you travel and thanks for sharing them with me – travel certainly is both humbling and empowering.


  17. I love this post! Getting to know you better and your life is just great. I loved travelling when I was younger, then came a husband, kids, etc. etc. etc. All I can say is good for you. You are rich and blessed beyond words!

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Excellent post Nilla, and one I can so relate too. Though I haven’t reached as many countries, it was a common question for relatives to ask my parents or to ask people I knew, “Where the heck is Suzanne now?” LOL. Then I met the Squire and gave him the bug 🙂 Anyway, love this post for many reasons. Good on ya, Nilla. 🙂 X

    Liked by 6 people

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