For a little kid who once got paddled in school for not being able to point out all the states on the map, (still mentally scarred because of it) you wouldn’t think traveling the world would be high on my list of priorities. At one point, traveling wasn’t important to me at all. Then one day, by a number of random choices, I found myself on a plane going to Ireland. That day my world got flipped upside down. As soon as I saw Ireland, I felt something inside me change. (I swear it wasn’t the airline’s three course dinner of something that vaguely resembled chicken) I felt a powerful curiosity inside me wake up, and I knew I was a traveler. At that point, I didn’t know where life was leading me; (I still don’t) I didn’t know where I would be in five years; (hopefully still traveling), but I did know that traveling jumped right to the top of my bucket list. That day a new world opened up, and the backpacker in me was born.
I often get asked what drives me to travel so much. The best description I have is a radio interview I heard with a famous British theater actor. (I forget his name) In the interview, he told how one night after he got off stage, a man came up to him and went on and on about how much he wanted to act. The famous play actor thought for a minute then said, “If you want to act don’t.” Then meeting the man’s gaze, he said, “Only become an actor if you need to act”. I’m not saying only travel if you need to, but for me, that story sums up why I travel. I need to. And here are a few reason why.
I have always had more than my fair share of curiosity and overwhelmingly so when it comes to traveling. Just the thought of all the adventures, or misadventures, that await me around the world throws me into a frenzy of excitement. I can’t bear the thought of not knowing what is over the next horizon, what lies through the next door of an ancient building, or what it’s like camel treeking in Morocco.
Curiosity and restlessness make an awesome combination if you love to travel. Where curiosity leaves you wondering what’s over the next horizon, restlessness gives you the drive to find out. Even as a kid, I wasn’t able to sit still. I always had to move. Perhaps I was afraid that if I’d stop, I would miss out on something amazing. Now, as an adult, my restlessness kicks in after four or five months. So this challenge of sitting in the same place, saving for twenty-two months straight, to start this new life has taught me patience, perseverance, and endurance. All good qualities to have right? But I’m still ready to travel.
Travel is Freedom
I am ready to move, explore, and have random adventures on the road. When you travel, there are no meetings you are late for, no set schedules you have to keep, or deadlines you rush to meet. Traveling allows you to step back, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy each moment for what it is. You live on your own terms and at your own pace. Life feels fuller when those everyday distractions are gone, that’s what traveling has done for me. Traveling has shown me who I am, and the person I aspire to be. On my first solo trip, my journal began with this simple line. “I am a puzzle, and as I experience more countries, sights, and cultures, I am finding more pieces of the puzzle.” I travel, because if I didn’t, I would not only be denying the part of me I love the most, but denying the person I want to become. From the first time I traveled, the backpacker in me woke up, and it changed my life forever. I don’t know where the road will lead tomorrow, but I am ready to shoulder my backpack and find out.
What do you think? Why do you travel, or what is stopping you?