For us travelers there are a whole bunch of reasons why we love to trot around the globe. I often get asked, “why do you keep going to other countries?” but the thing is, “to see the world” is a very generic and uninspired answer. Sure, I it is true, I do travel to see the world, but it is also SO much more than that, as I’m sure other travelers will agree. I’ll underline a few of them for you:
I travel for the experience.
This sounds like a pretty cliche answer, but it is so true. I’ve been to enough places to know that some people are simply missing out. I’ve met people that are my age and have never seen snow before. I’ve met others that have never been to the beach or even seen the sea in person. Although the world is metaphorically getting smaller, there are a whole bunch of things that are not that uncommon, but if you don’t make any attempt to see them, you never will.
I travel for the cultures.
People in different parts of the world live completely differently. They expect different things from society. Some countries are so crowded it leaves you wondering where exactly they all live, and how they don’t overflow the borders. Others are so scarcely populated that in some parts it truly feels like you’re the only person in the world. You learn a lot about a place by simply experiencing the culture. From hard-working, technologically advanced countries, to chilled, more rural places. You might even find a place you’d fit in better than home. Which brings me to the next point:
I travel for food.
Yeah, I’m not a big fatty. I eat far too much junk. I hate seafood. Particularly those devious squid rings that I usually mistake for onion rings. Sushi is just not for me. Hot curries are great. Insects taste fine, but I hate the texture. There is so much great food in the world that you’re missing out on. Granted, I like to complain about all the stuff I don’t like. Sorry Aussies, Vegemite is absolutely disgusting. Other parts are great, like German beer. Traditional borsch (борщ) is one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Swedish flatbread or whatever the hell its called is also gorgeous. I wouldn’t even know this stuff existed if I hadn’t left the UK.
I travel to learn.
History is a brilliant thing. Unique to the places you visit, and always different. The thing about the world is that stories are told from different perspectives. You stay put, you know one perspective, what about the thousands of others? You can’t fully understand the cultural significance of different events if you don’t travel. The fall of the Berlin wall, for example. I have no recollection of it because of my age, but what it meant to an Englishman is far different to what it meant to a German.
I travel for the people.
One of my favourite things about travelling is the accents you encounter. I’m a horrible person; I unwillingly mimic accents. If English is someone’s second or third language, I can often come across as taking the piss. I’ll be honest, there’s something about Irish and Russian accents that I find fascinating. American, sadly, doesn’t interest me all that much (probably overexposure). I rarely struggle to understand people, and it’s actually really enjoyable learning new languages, even if it is the odd word just to get by while you’re travelling. I mean, think about it, to this date (aside from English) I know bits of Swedish/Norwegian/Danish/Finnish/German/French/Spanish/Russian/Greek/Polish/Japanese/Swiss-German, and while I can understand quite a lot of some languages, others I only know a couple of words. That doesn’t make them any less fascinating though.
I travel because its on my bucket list.
Not quite as prominent, but it’s a reason that many people eventually get off their asses and actually experience the world. You’ll find a lot of common themes on these bucket lists; the Aurora Borealis, the Pyramids, Uluru, the Grand Canyon etc. The list is nigh on endless, but it gives people a reason, and motivation to take that first step. Shame they don’t expect that the travel bug will infect them when they do it. Suckers! 🙂
I travel for the bragging rights.
This kind of covers me to an extent. There’s a running joke with my friends that I adopt the nationality of whatever country I visit. I’m not a huge fan of England, see, because I dislike the permanent wet weather and I have to actually work when I’m here. That makes pretty much anywhere else in the world more desirable to me. It also doesn’t help that I’ve already seen much of England, and I’ve seen far less of the world in comparison. If you’re like me, you want to have the stories from the places you’ve been. You want to be able to say yeah, I’ve been there, I’ve done that, but I didn’t get a T-Shirt because I was on a budget or it would’ve made my luggage too heavy to board the plane back. I would also add that passport stamp collectors go somewhere here too. Guess what, I’ve got an English passport stamp, and I’m English. That makes me special!
Travel enhances you as a person.
If you take all of these things into account, and bring them together in the individual traveller, I’m sure you can see just how much it can change you. From experience I find that travellers are much more appreciative of their surroundings, of other people and other cultures. People that can’t speak your language, different races and religions. All of these things are much more equal in the eyes of a traveller (generally). I’m not saying that if you don’t travel you’re a horrid, biased individual, I’m saying that when you’ve been around the world a few times, you certainly view it all in a completely different manner. And that, is why I travel.
These are some of the main points for me, but we’re all different (see 5th point) so if I’ve missed anything then let me know why YOU travel.