Why I travel
It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot recently. It mostly comes from George, my three-year-old son, who constantly says, ‘Why Mummy? Why?’ (Yes, it’s just as annoying as you’re imagining!)
Me: You need to brush your teeth now George
Me: So your teeth are nice and clean
Me: Because otherwise they’ll get dirty and you’ll get tooth ache
Me: Because the dirt on your teeth will start eroding the enamel
Me: [Slow deep breath] Please just brush your teeth, you’re three years old and you can’t possibly need to know the science behind this.
It’s a funny question because, as an adult, it’s not very often someone stops you and questions what you’re doing and why. We do so many things on autopilot we often forget to even ask ourselves why we’re doing something.
When a French lady asked me recently why I travel, it really made me stop and think. She wasn’t being rude she was just curiously asking me why I travel.
‘Well, it’s my job’, I stuttered back.
‘But why did you make it your job?’
‘I like to travel….’ I began, knowing that was a pathetic answer and wasn’t what she was looking for at all.
For the next few days I continued to think about it and realised there’s always a reason behind everything.
So what’s my reasoning behind wanting to travel so much? Why did I work so hard to make travelling part of my career? Why did I want to go backpacking in the first place (that’s what led to this crazy career)? Why have holidays always been so important to me?
A lot of people who travel are running away from something. They’ll have something that happened at home or something they don’t want to go back to and face. But it’s not like that for me. I’ve got two reasons why I love to travel and the main reason is because I’m scared.
Yes, it’s fear that makes me travel.
I am absolutely terrified of growing old and not doing all the things I could have done and having regrets. There’s nothing sadder than an old person saying, ‘I wish I’d done that when I was younger….’
I can’t imagine anything worse than sitting in my rocking chair and thinking about missed opportunities, places I should have gone to, hobbies I should have pursued and adventures I wish I’d had. It’s not just about travelling, it’s everything. I want to read all the books, try all the foods, meet all the people and watch all the films. And, of course, travel to ALL THE PLACES.
We only get one life. One beautiful but short life and it’s such a cliché to say this but this isn’t the dress rehearsal, this is the real deal and we’ll only be able to do this once. I’ve got one chance to do everything and I want to do it all! And I love blogging about these travels, not only to inspire others to do the same, but so I have this online record of my adventures that I can keep looking back on and reminding myself of all the things I’ve done.
I want to spend my life making memories and this blog is a perfect way to record all those memories.
I worked in London for three years but when I look back on those three years working in office jobs, do you know what I remember? Nothing. Really, not a lot. Because I didn’t do a lot. I’d go to work, go for drinks after work, sometimes go out for dinner and then go home, watch TV and go to bed. Weekends were reserved for hangovers or recovering after a busy week at work. I really didn’t do much and virtually every day was exactly the same. Part of me loved the routine of life but when I look back now I don’t know what I did with my time. I barely did anything worth remembering.
I had this quote by Jack Kerouac going around in my head for months before I left my job. I really don’t remember my time spent working in the office or spending my weekends doing mundane chores. There’s three years of my life I barely remember. But then the following three years I did so much that it felt like the longest three years of my life because I have so many memories. How did I cram so much into three years!?
I’m not saying you need to quit your job and travel loads to have a memorable life but I found that putting so much emphasis on working and spending the majority of my life at the office I didn’t have the time or energy for much else.
The second reason I love to travel is because I love change. I love those big and momentous life events like moving house, getting a new job and having a baby. If I could, I’d move house every couple of years because I love the thrill and excitement of it. But, of course, I can’t move house or get a new job or have a baby every year so travelling and having adventures is the next big thrill.
I travel for the thrill but I mostly travel because of FOMO. Yes, fear of missing out and fear of growing old and not doing all the things I once had the chance to do. It’s a big world out there and I want to see it all.
Why do you travel?