Why do you travel?

June, 2018

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

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

How long are you going for this time? When are you back? Won’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’s just intriguing 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 editions of the News’ every evening, must expand your mind and influence you in some way, right?

The exposure must show you that there’s much more out there to explore, than the town in which you grew up in and feel secure. 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 in. 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 while growing up was being absorbed in the lyrics of Pink Floyd’s brilliant The 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 while 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.

Pink Floyd

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

In the old days

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

Actually, back then, social media didn’t exist. Surprisingly, we still survived. I’m starting to sound like a dinosaur…but don’t write me off just yet!

Artist’s rest – Cornwall, England (Fujichrome 35mm slide film)

I didn’t feel as though I was missing out, but just hungry to see everything I could, during my lifetime. As let’s face it, none of us knows 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 the 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 though 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 need to pay 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 hometown to let my parents know of my good news and that Africa is the first country, is greeted with disbelief. A barrage of concerning questions follow.

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
Trinket vendor – stopping momentarily along train journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town (Fujichrome 35mm slide film)

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

Adamant I had to travel. So, argued that I didn’t want to be on my death bed regretting never seeing a country, sharing an experience, or to just feel alive. They still thought I was mad!

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

Another person I had to say goodbye to was my partner of 18 months. Not once did he stop me from going – 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. Typically, while 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
Eric and Dylan, Mevagissey, Cornwall – we wrote for many years until one day, I received a letter from his sister that 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 inside a double-decker bus.

Since then?

Well, I’m still travelling after 30-plus years, whether on short or extended trips. The lust never left.

The only time I stop travelling is to return to work to earn money, to 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 way of life.

Dong Hoi Station – Vietnam (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. Teaches gut instinct
  6. Adrenaline rush
  7. Not to conform to what society dictates
  8. Absorb disparate cultures
  9. Connect with people, bond with strangers and become long-life friends
  10. Makes me stronger
  11. Push my own mental and physical boundaries
  12. Emotional gratification
  13. Awe-inspiring experiences
  14. To respect the world in which we all live and to not take anything for granted
  15. Hold a head full of exquisite memories with no regrets
  16. Exotic and amazing cuisines

Why do you travel?

Now, this is your turn to share with me why 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 – cruising saying
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Africa
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (Fujichrome 35mm slide film)

438 thoughts on “Why do you travel?

Add yours

    1. Hi there, thanks for sharing your travel passions with me and agree, nature, mountains, deserts are wonderful! Though, so is meeting locals, history, and food. 😉

      If you like deserts, you may want to check out Into the Sahara, Morocco. I have several posts published on mountains, this is one you may be interested in Stunning Zakopane! Southern Poland’s Tatras Mountains. If you’re into volcano treks, then The ascent of Vulcán Villarrica, Chile may be of interest. 🙂


  1. This post of yours just spoke to me.. Seriously..!!
    Cannot agree more to each and every point you have mentioned in this post..
    Thank you for sharing..!! Feel ecstatic to have found your blog, and this particular post.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I beg to differ, a little, if you permit.
      This post of yours and the one on Parenti seems to have poured out of your heart.. ☺️
      A perfect and captivating representation of not just the scenes and culture of Italy, but also the strong emotions they invoke.. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have traveled throughout the U.S.A. and went to Canada once which wasn’t much different. I’ve lived in 8 or 9 different states from California to Pennsylvania ~ I eventually fell in love with women > traveling but if I could have both, I’d take both. To do that I’d have to find a traveling career as I have children and the constant need for funds is a must. I just had my last baby, I hope (lol), who is over a year old and I’m thinking I’m traveling around the world when he gets out of the house at 18 or so. All the cultures are exciting. All the food is amazing. All the different scenery and the such.. I can easily see why you fell in love with traveling. I also love that rush feeling of being in a new place and not knowing what to expect. Everything you see is something new and personal. How amazing it is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing all of your wonderful thoughts on why you travel and can see how you became addicted also…

      It’s difficult to travel with young children and I’ve seen many parents drag babe in arms to different parts of the world – think it’s a little selfish but each to their own as they say. There’s so much to see of our globe that we definitely can’t do it all in a lifetime.

      Hope you can start with short trips when your children are old enough to appreciate what they’re experiencing but yes, they are expensive.


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