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. I have always pondered on whether to travel solo haha
    I am from the SEA region and have yet to explore Europe. I think I will probably go on a backpacking trip the next year! where do you think is a good place to start in Europe?
    Also, I am a new blogger. I would appreciate if you give my blog a look and follow me!
    Keep the great posts coming!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, thank you for stopping by…guess you worked out from this post that my advice would be yes, go for it!

      A good place to start would depend on the season in which you travel to Europe, especially as you’re from Singapore – cold may get to you. Putting this aside, I would start at the Baltic States, Poland, then travel across to any of the more frequented European destinations. Also depends on what you would like to see when travelling, such as history, mountains, food, people, etc.

      Just visited and followed your blog.

      Like

  2. My favourite part about traveling is the novelty of it. Each day is something new and exciting. My wife and I are currently on 10th month on the road and loving every minute of it

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We started in Europe, we did the UK, France, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy and Greece
      Then we did Morocco, Tanzania, UAE, Turkey, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan
      We are currently in Brazil. We planned to do 12 months like yourself but we’ll be out of cash so we’re only going to make 11

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Wow, what a fantastic trip! You’ve covered loads of ground.

      I’ve touched on Brazil when I went down the Amazon on a barge for a few days and got as far as the Tri-border (Brazil, Colombia, Peru). That’s an interesting trip I will write about soon…
      At least you’ll be out for another 11 months. 🙂

      Like

    1. Hi Kimi, thanks for sharing with me why you travel and for your kind words – please feel free to share this post with friends or others that may need a little push. Meeting new people is definitely up there… 🙂

      Like

    1. Thank you for your kind feedback.
      Yes, education is a huge part of travelling and inspiring others to travel is very satisfying.

      I’ve just followed your blog but it’s a shame I can’t leave you a comment.

      Like

  3. I am new here and i can say that i really liked this article. However, I’ve just wrote a while ago something with the same title but a bit different. My perspective was more simple and related our daily lives and regular travel plans as vacations. I was making a point that the main reason of traveling is not only to explore new stuff or culture but to escape our sociability and work, the daily routines and live stress-free for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your comment. That is a question I also get constantly and totally agree with you.
      I go without all the material ‘must have’ stuff that I really don’t need so as I can travel, and always have done. For me this is an easy exchange. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Isn’t it amazing that when you make the decision to stop buying stuff you don’t need, your cash starts to accumulate quickly?

      We don’t need all this extra cluttering in our lives and think sometimes, we go through this as we’re not happy in our lives. There’s a reason it’s labelled “Retail Therapy”.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I can’t help but to agree more! money definitely does accumulate quickly when you stop buying the unnecessary items within our lives…
      I used to use that type of therapy all the time, now I use what I like to call travel therapy haha

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi there
    Great writeup…
    Felt like reading my mind …I m an avid traveller….love to travel…not ur way though , but will start now….me n my husband love travelling, yes risk taking .we hav planned our own travel destination n our own routes….
    Thanks ur write up was an inspiration….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey…many thanks for the great feedback. It doesn’t matter the mode in which you travel, it’s important that you are travelling. I’m honoured that we’re kindred spirits. 😉

      Like

  5. Loved your post. Actually, I wanted to do a “Penniless Travel” thing lately. But as usual, there were voices of concern from my family. So I vowed to work for another year, save enough money, then get going. Thank you for this beautiful post. Gave me a warm hope.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Sarath, thank you for your feedback and taking the time to comment – much appreciated.

      I don’t think we’ll ever have enough money to do everything when we travel, so sometimes, you just have draw the line and head out. Always good to have a little put aside for a return ticket home, if things should go wrong.

      Only my first trip, I took a MasterCard, as a backup only.
      I remember returning to Australia with around $850 owing on my card – a lot of money for me back in 1985. Now, this is the weird thing, I’d never played a Lottery before and decided to try my luck. I couldn’t stand having the noose of a debt around my neck and without a job, this was my last resort. Incredulously, I won that week! It was just enough to pay off my credit card bill – how stoked was I? Couldn’t believe my luck and I have to confess, I’ve had a couple of goes since and won nothing, so I stopped.

      Would love to hear when you set out on your trip! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The saying is true then: if there is a will, there is a way. Thank you for sharing this incident. Will keep on reading your blog.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Really enjoyed reading what you wrote. As to why I travel, I guess I need stimulation and a strong desire to learn about everything around me. While I’ve moved a lot for work, I’ve never felt like I truly belonged anywhere, except on the road.

    Right now I’ve settled in my hometown for a bit and using the opportunity to explore whatever my backyard has to offer. It’s incredibly gratifying to constantly find something new. Until such a time as I feel everything is done, I suppose I’ll leave again.

    Cheers!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, many thanks for your feedback and I enjoyed reading about why you travel.

      Stimulation and learning are definitely good reasons. Some people are just born to be on the road and have many homes globally. I always feel at home wherever I am.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful pictures and beautiful words. It doesn’t surprise us that what you shared is very similair to what we discovered and wrote in our guide-book Stress Free Currency.
    Looking forward to more of your adventures.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Nice article! We have our own reasons to travel. I’m also an aspiring traveler and I want to explore the world as much as I can while I still can. Seeing little portions of this vast world one at a time always makes me realize how small I am and how there’s much to explore out there.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for the feedback.
      You’re right, seeing even a small portion of our globe and its remarkable nature makes us realise how insignificant we are, but what a huge and destructive impact we’re having on our planet.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I do as well, especially the animal exploitation for tourists in SE Asia – it breaks my heart.
      Regardless of how small, we can all do something to start the change movement. It’s up to us to change something if we don’t like what we see. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think I travel to find a piece of my soul that was lost piece by piece because of all the pain of the world. I travel to refresh my horizons and regenerate my creativity that’s been dull because of my daily routine activities. I travel to find light, to learn that in my darkest hours, there’s another part in this world where the sun shines bright.

    Please check out my blog for more travel inspiration: https://alyzzaspeaks.wordpress.com/

    If ever you decide to visit the Philippines, I’d willingly tour you around!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Aly for sharing the fundamental reasons of why you travel. I hope that travel can bring you peace.
      Wow, what a very kind and wonderful offer…you never know, I might take you up on that in the future. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for a great post. Check out our blog on traveling at sea on a budget 🙂 looking forward to read more from you!

    Harryfloats.wordpress.com

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for commenting.
      I find when I travelled for work (only a couple of times) in the past, I never really saw anything apart from the inside of a hotel and workplace walls – still, it gets you away.
      I’ll check out your site. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Travel is most important to our life reason being, If I travel some where else I feel very free and energetic. and I have seen many other things just like nature beauty, fresh air, and environment. many time i have book a flight tickets with Airline Flight Support (www.airlinechangeflights.com). This Flight booking site is very helpful and many things are give it there customer. So Just book a flight and get ready to fly.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Your blog always inspire me. As you said that absolutely true, we travel for gaining new experiences, making new friends, discovering new things and taking rest from the job & all our other responsibilities.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Tania, thank you for your great feedback and it always makes me very happy to hear that I’m able to inspire another traveller.

      Just visited singaporeguidebook.com – love the clean design and easy usability of your website. I also noticed that you cater for Indonesian travellers. I’m hoping to one day take my travel journal from the 4 months spent in Indonesia back in 1998 and upload it with photos to this site. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a good read! I began travelling as an escape from my own world – my world of depression, despair and anxiety (what my blog is all about). I desperately wanted to be the girl who could just get on a plane and fly alone to another country – and so I did. It didn’t take much for me to get addicted, and be looking at flights and planning trips every free moment I get!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your feedback and for leaving the reason why you travel.

      How fantastic that travel has made you look forward to life and helped you deal with depression. It takes a lot of courage to take your first travel step, especially alone. Hope that travel continues to help you through hard phases. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. An absolutely incredible post! I like breaking through same boundaries when I travel. It’s scary initially but then I remember all those times I didn’t and how I kicked myself for it and then I throw myself into it. It’s also lovely meeting other open minded travellers 🙂 looking forward to reading more about your travels!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment and sharing your thoughts.

      I think that only other travellers really understand why we travel so much and throw ourselves into crazy situations – great to feel alive. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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