I tend to surprise people with my travel experience. I am unsure if it has to do with my age or maybe the town I grew up in… whatever it may be people love to talk about it.
Often prompted by the map that is permanently inked on my arm, or more recently my unusual resume, I will get compliments, questions, and opinions by various strangers. It is often a conversation starter at parties or an interesting point for men to try and strike up a conversation at a bar about the lad’s trip they went on once to Ibiza. Either way, once they regale me with whatever inspiration they got from my tattoo it always turns to me. Be it a quiz about geography, some weird competition that they bring to the table to “out travel” someone, or just a Q&A.
Ranging from “that’s a cool tattoo”, to “you should colour in the countries you’ve been to” or “how many countries have you been to?” to even “why would someone like you have that on them?” (I’m not ever quite sure what to make of the last one… so I tend to ignore what I am sure they are insinuating.)
The best question I have ever been asked, however, is “why do you travel?”. Besides the very factual and logical position of doing it mostly out of necessity for employment, it is an interesting question. Why do I travel? Why do you travel?
I think to start in the original days, I just wanted something different. I wanted a change of scenery and to see the wonderful things showcased in movies, photography, television etc. for my own two eyes. I knew there was a big world out there and that there was a sense of belonging for me somewhere in it.
After having some real travel experience-
(when I say real, I mean without any family. This is not to devalue family vacations etc. I just didn’t truly understand my travel style and being able to experience the world for myself in my own way without other people planning everything for or with me)
-I would say that “elsewhere” became home. Being on the move, using different currencies, having languages I don’t understand flooding my ears, and eating foreign flavours feels more natural than being at home. The sense of belonging became true.
I think that is why I am struggling so much being home. Canada was where I was born and raised but the big wide world is where I really grew up, where I changed to be who I am today. When I realized not everywhere is Canada, that there are so many different ways to experience life, to look at situations, the beauty of having real traditions and cultures…
I have been to over 30 countries and I have a piece of every single one of them in me because of how I travel. Very luckily, my partner and I have very similar travelling styles. – I couldn’t be with him if we didn’t so it was put to the test with backpacking, camping, and road-tripping. Travel is such a big part of who I am and what my future decisions will be.
I travel because it has become part of who I am.
To me, travel is more than just something I would do once or twice a year. I make the effort to live deliberately to make travel central in my life.
So many people are saying now that they “need a vacation/holiday” and I understand that. A lot of people travel for the pictures, for Instagram, for bragging rights, and sometimes just to be able to say “Omg I love travelling too” without really knowing what that word can mean to somebody.
Others travel to relax, to get away and “turn off” for a little while.
All of these reasons are valid. Luckily travel is not a competition- at least not to people who understand the real value of it.
If you backpack- great! If you prefer to go to a travel agent and sit at a resort the whole time- also great! But remember to ask yourself why you’re travelling.
That reflection can be the difference between going on a trip and experiencing a trip for everything you are wanting it to be- whatever that reason is.
“It is better to travel well than to arrive” – Buddha