Why do you travel?

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.

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

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

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 follows.

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 the 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 deathbed regretting never seeing a country, sharing an experience, or just feeling 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 were 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 Eric 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 62+ 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 to give 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 but there are 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)

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440 responses to “Why do you travel?”

  1. Dubrovnikboatyachtrentals Avatar

    Hey Nilla, fantastic post! I sometimes think about how cool it would’ve been to start traveling earlier in life, but I feel fortunate to have explored the world with my family later on. Like you, I hustle, save up, and plan our next adventures. There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as teaching your kids (and yourself) about this amazing world through travel! 🌍✈️

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar


      Thank you for leaving me such great feedback!
      We’re never too old or late in life to start travelling, which teaches us about our globe. Just checked out your site but couldn’t find your name so apologies for not addressing you in this comment.
      I see you have a yacht rental business, Check out my sailing posts when you have time. 😉
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment – much appreciated.


  2. Umrah travel agents Avatar

    i love to explore nature and traveling is my passion. i love Deserts and Mountains

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      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. 🙂

  3. Abirbhav Avatar

    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.. 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Abir!
      This post just poured out of my head one day although I’d been wanting to write it for many years… 🙂

      1. Abirbhav Avatar

        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.. 😊

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I think you’re right and maybe why it was so easy to write.
        Italians are quite passionate and emotional people as you know, and with Italian blood this must come through… 😉

      3. Abirbhav Avatar

        Yayy..!! Cheers to that.. 😉☺️🤗

  4. noithatluongson Avatar

    I love travelling, it makes me feel happy after hard working days.
    We often travel when we are in occasion.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi, great that travelling makes you feel happy! There are many reasons shy we travel. 😉
      Thank you for your comment.

  5. 1 tỷ đầu tư gì Avatar

    Wow, tks for share

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  6. Hợp tác kinh doanh lãi suất 44% Avatar

    ^^ thank you for share <3 <3

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Please feel free to share this post with family, friends, and colleagues. 🙂

  7. onlinebhaipk Avatar

    Hi, thanks for your awesome writing.
    I am also working on a travel niche website. Where I have worked on a lot of topics like Best travel laptops 2019. You can check my work. And give me your valuable feedback.
    Thank you…
    (Image Earth Travellers)

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks for your comment and link. I’ve checked out your site.

  8. Image Earth Travel Avatar

    Hi, many thanks for leaving me your feedback and glad you found this post helpful.
    Tried to leave you a comment on your blog but don’t think you have comments turned on. Cheers, Nilla

  9. M.K.Friction Avatar

    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!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      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.

  10. Varesh Lakhera Avatar

    Thanks for sharing the list, travelling is now easy with the help of these sites….!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Varesh,
      Thank you. I love helping and showing other travellers different destinations!

      1. outlanderly Avatar

        Awesome website!

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thank you Jo as is your site also, but sadly, I can’t leave you a comment as your site doesn’t have comments turned on.

  11. Travel Lover Avatar

    Thank you for this great article!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you and happy that you enjoyed my article.
      I see that you’re in Dubrovnik. I haven’t seen this gorgeous city since 1985 and would love to return.

  12. Tripxps Avatar

    Very informative post. Thanks!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you. I had to remove your link as it displayed an error 404, sorry.

  13. Varesh Lakhera Avatar

    Wonderful blog post, You have so many inspiring from Me and people who understand that wanderlust.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks Varesh for your kind feedback – it would be great if more people were infected with the wanderlust disease. 😉

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