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. Absolutely loved it!
    I travel because it liberates me and I am able to experience this beautiful world by myself not through someone else’s experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Many thanks for taking the time to comment and share the reasons for which you travel.

      Yes, travel is very liberating and you can read about everything, but it’s never the same experience from one person to another, regardless of the country.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely loved reading this blog! I work and travel because it is exciting! You get to learn so much about the world – through your own eyes!! .and learn about yourself! I come from a family that don’t travel at all (my parents don’t even have a passport) so I can totally relate to the part were they tried to talk you out of it. My best trip so far was to China. I trekked I’m the Great Wall and it was just indescribable (check out my blog). Where are you off to next?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lyndsey, thank you for the great feedback and reasons why you travel! I guess my parents never travelled as both came out from Europe on ships in the early fifties although at different times, so maybe that voyage in those days was enough for them – I know it took my father 40 days on a ship from Europe to Australia – almost Biblical!

      Just read your China blog – sounds like a wonderful trek.

      I’m currently in Calabria (Italy) but leaving for Pisa tomorrow for 12 days and hope to take in Siena, Florence, and surrounding area, before returning to Calabria. 😉
      Your next travel plan?


  3. I love this post! I currently live in a nice suburban area with cookie cutter houses & great schools. We landed here by complete fluke because of our daughter’s medical issues. She is healthy now and we intend to sell our house to head out into the world in a year. Our friends and coworkers think we are crazy to give up this “perfect” life but we have never felt truly at home here. I can’t wait to get back to the hustle and bustle, to the madness that is travel. Thanks for this post! It’s a good reminder that there are more itchy footed people out there doing things that make others scratch their heads in disbelief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi and welcome to my blog!

      Thank you for commenting and sharing insights of your family with me…

      Yes, there will always be people that try and stop you from doing what you love – maybe it’s genuine concern, or maybe it’s just the fact that they can’t/won’t venture out, so prefer to stop other people instead. It’s a strange one that I haven’t worked out yet…

      I’ve never been a ‘cookie cutter’ kind of girl. I guess also living on a boat for 21 years isn’t your ‘norm’, but I really don’t care and continue to enjoy life the way in which I want, and never listen to what other’s say. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi again, I’m humbled at your request – many thanks, but I’ve never mentored anyone.

      To be honest the best advice I have as a blogger is write from the heart.

      I only write about countries I’ve travelled to and my honest experiences, whether good or bad. I don’t make things up, don’t gloss anything over (as you’ll read in a future post when I was robbed in Peru), and tell it as it is really. For me this has worked, but it also depends on writing good content and what your blog is about. It’s a long process and this is my 4th year blogging – be patient.

      Hope this helps. 🙂


  4. Traveling is like being a child again, in your most innocent and wide-eyed years. I truly believe that monotony is poison to the human spirit. Traveling fills the heart because it truly doesn’t matter WHERE the traveling is taking place. It’s the newness and the exploration. It speaks to a deep, hidden part of ancient human experience where we were all wanderers. On a different angle, traveling teaches you about the diversity of the human experience whether you go 3 states over or 3 continents. The more you know, the easier it is for you to understand and accept differences in your life. The more you see, the easier it is for you to understand your own privilege. All of these things make you a better, more whole human being and citizen, friend/neighbor/community member and advocate (if need be). Whether we think so or not, we all grew up in bubbles. The world is just that big. You have to go.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sara, eloquently said and appreciate your valuable views and vision on the reasons for which you travel.

      Yes, we were all wanderers and social once but somehow over time, we’ve managed to lock ourselves behind brick walls and only peer out to feel the breeze on our faces when we feel is safe or necessary. But not all is lost, as some of us still wander the globe in awe to learn and seek more than the walls in which we exist.
      Everyone has to go…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! Incredible article. You just summarized my thoughts about traveling into an incredibly well written piece. I’m also of the belief that you need to see the world for yourself instead of having other people tell you all about. The world is big, grand, and worthy of exploring. Recently I got bitten by the same traveling bug, and this past summer I had the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa on a volunteer trip. When I tell you that I found myself in many ways, I mean that I was completely out of my confort zone when I climbed up Lionshead mountain, when I worked with those children at that elementary school, and when I found myself sharing a room with six complete strangers. Yet, I must say, I realized I was capable of functioning, learning immensely, and enjoying myself in the unknown. I came back home feeling strengthened, revitalized, and empowered. I travel because it makes me feel like I have bigger things to conquer, things that I can’t find in my routine and comfortable enviornment. I travel to make connections with wonderful people because we can learn from anyone that crosses our path. I loved you words. I kind of feel like booking my next trip! Now, after reading this, I feel compelled to make the best out of my twenties and many years to come and spend them traveling every corner of the world. I thank you for your work! Truly spectacular. Looking forward to reading more of your posts 😊🙏🏼☺️🌟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Maria, what wonderful feedback – thank you! 🙂

      This travel post resonates with many travellers. Perhaps it’s because we share similar drives and philosophies in life. Travel makes us more accepting of others and situations, whilst still being empathetic to our world, not to mention the immense sense of achievement.

      South Africa is an incredible country and would love to return one day. I love the reasons why you travel and glad that you’re ready to book your next trip!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It truly was an amazing post and I commed you for your beautiful work! It’s a great treat for me to feel understood by someone who has never held back on traveling seeing as travel has a very special way of refurbishing our mind, our bodies, and spirits. Thank you for everything and thank you for swinging by my blog! I really appreciate it 😊🙏🏼🌟

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a beautiful write up. I loved how you expressed your love for travel. I also love travel. Have been fortunate to see some places in my country, still lots more to see. I have started blogging just a couple of days ago. So, new to this. I will look forward to read your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I guess it also depends on where in the world you are when posting as to the best time/day but also your blog’s content and readers.

      I’ve started doing the same at the beginning of the month. This allows me to concentrate on finishing building my Nilla’s Photography replacement site for the rest of the month. I built my current site 7 years ago whilst travelling through South America using internet cafes and wifi in cafes, restaurants, and wherever…
      It’s now quite outdated so stay tuned for my next site’s launch…hope in the next couple of weeks – all feedback welcomed. 🙂


    1. Many thanks for your kind feedback Rachael and Oli, and glad you enjoyed this post.
      Please feel free to share this with someone that may need the impetus to start travelling and I sincerely hope that it has the desired effect… 😉


  7. Just read this post,my first one from you, but it certainly won’t be the last. I love how personal and self-revealing it is. Blogging about our lives can be cathartic and often enlightening to others. I am an avid traveler too, though I missed the starting gun 😉. I am in to make up for lost time, though. I look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Sandra, great to meet you and hear your feedback – many thanks. How did you come across this post?

      Travelling can also be self-revealing and I don’t think you ever miss the starting gun, just that life has a habit of throwing hurdles in front of you when you try to accomplish different objectives. Great that you’re catching up for lost time.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ha! I love it! I complitely agree with the quote “Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul” by Jamie Lyn Beatty. We don’t need packed pockets when we have beautiful souls, right? Ican’t wait to read more about your adventures, take care!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I absolutely love this post and it encapsulates how I feel about travel too! I also love the quotes that you have included, especially ‘Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul’ – Jamie Lyn Beatty. I always seem to have itchy feet and am always thinking of the next trip. I travel mostly short term at the moment, which satiates my wanderlust somewhat, but my ultimate goal is to do some more long term travel at some point. Just need to earn the money to make it happen!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, it was kind of a brain dump in such a short time…perhaps this is the way I should write all my posts. 🙂
      Finding and selecting the quotes is what took a little time, although I’d heard many of them before.

      At least you’re able to do short stints whilst you save money. I never travel with loads of money and never stay in plush places either. Independent travel is more affordable, but I’m sure you already know all that…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Sometimes posts just come out of nowhere don’t they! Yes, independent travel is my preferred method where possible, it’s much lighter on the wallet and I like the flexibility of it. I am always eternally grateful that I am able to travel, even for short periods.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Cool Josie and I’m glad you can relate to my thoughts on travelling.
      Both solo and partnered travelling have it’s ups and downs. I don’t really have a preference and for me, it’s really dictated by circumstance and phase of life I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds excellent and sure you will see many more wonderful countries.
      Apart from what I’ve written here…travel is in my DNA and is my blood, although think I must of been adopted as the rest of my family doesn’t travel as much or at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Never has a reason to travel crossed my mind…. it is an urge, a need and when I feed it – the cravings get bigger…. my drug indeed.
    I have been confined to local travel for over two years . Can’t seem to break out of the cycle of not getting a head of costs incurred and refuse to live in debt but I will be back to wandering soon again. Great post thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What a great post Nilla. I totally agree with every word. Sometimes I wish I had taken off earlier at a younger age to see the world, but I am blessed to have traveled regardless later on in life with my husband and children. I too work, save and plan our next holiday. Nothing is more rewarding than educating your children (and yourself) and introducing them to this wonderful world we live in through travel 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your feedback and cool you travel for all those reasons…more people should travel instead of cluttering their lives with unwanted ‘stuff’. But then again, each to their own as the saying goes… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Great read Nilla! Travel, for me, has provided a unique lens with which to see my world. Travel was the catalyst to make me realize that working till 65 at a desk, retiring and dying – ain’t it. 37 countries and counting, I was lucky enough to find a soulmate who also is addicted to travel. We are planning a 49 state road trip over 18 months on our Airstream @ladylolamae . We are closing up life as we know it for this adventure (we are both 37 and in “prime earning years” – insert eye roll). Hopefully you’ll follow our journey, as we continue to follow yours.
    See you on the road!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Strange? The WordPress site or the Instagram link to the Airstream? Thanks for the heads up! It doesn’t look like either is marked private on my end. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thank you for leaving me your thoughts on why you travel.
      Yes, it’s healthy to be curious and question everything. I can’t imagine what it’s like not to be curious about the other side of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This is so inspiring and personally so relatable. I’ve been an expat for five years in Turkey and I try to travel around here as much as I can. I can’t say the desire to see more of the world has ever gone away. It’s a beautiful life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Kelsey, thank you for your feedback and glad you can relate to this post.

      I don’t think the desire ever goes away and I find if I’ve been stationary in one place for a while, I get itchy feet.
      Wow, 5 years in Turkey, I should come and visit you as I’m in southern Italy, so not far. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. So do I.

      My first visa took 5 months from start to when I got the visa in my hand. This was after I flew back to Australia to apply for my 12-month visa. Then had to re-apply within 8 days of landing in Italy for my Permesso. I hear it’s taking 9 to 10 months now to renew. This is crazy as some people can only get 12 months and you have to re-apply 2 months in advance of expiry – it’s like a mouse on a wheel!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. That’s crazy, visa paperwork can be such a nightmare. I kind of have it easy since my husband is Turkish and we were able to get me a family visa. But my old tourist visa days were rough! It changed all the time

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Yeah and Italy loves its bureaucracy, as we know, but it’s also trying to stop migrants to the country, which is a blanket rule.

      Because I’m Australian, I pay for absolutely everything in Italy and don’t get anything free, not even healthcare – although I don’t expect a free ride either. So each day I live here, I’m adding the the economy.
      Funny thing is that my father and his family were all born here but as he gained Australian citizenship before I was born and before 1992 when Italy allowed dual-citizenship – I need to go through a long-winded process to gain Italian Citizenship.
      My mother was born in Fiume in northern Italy, which after WWII, Italy ‘gave’ to Yugoslavia, so that side is a can of worms.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Indeed it is and never appreciated how rich my background was when growing up in Australia and trying not to be different. Especially with my Salami and sun-dried tomato sandwiches that other children wanted to swap, for their boring Vegemite sandwiches.

      I’m slowing uncovering more family history, it’s extremely interesting but extremely hard on my mother’s side as her family went to Australia as DP’s in the early ’50s. My father paid to go to Australia (also in the ’50s), which took 40 days – almost Biblical – as there was no food or work in this part of Italy after the war. My parents met and married in Australia.

      Actually, you may be interested in my trip to the State Archives here in Cosenza. The restoration work done here is an incredible labour of love.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sonna…thank you for commenting.

      You can always start by travelling within your own country, which can be much cheaper than travelling to another country. Or, when you’ve saved up some money, travel to a cheap country so your money goes much further. 🙂


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