07 July 2009

Why I Travel

The answer to that question is “because I can”. I don’t have a mission to visit every country in the world or 100 countries before I’m 30. Last year I counted up the number of countries I’d visited and was pleased to find that I’d visited more countries than I was years old (which is more than 30). It was never a goal, just something I checked after the fact.

Having said that I have always been interested in travel. It probably is because it is one of the ways in which I can keep my insatiable appetite for information (the more useless it is the better) fed. When you travel you look at life differently. I used to "escape" from Cape Town to a backpackers in Swellendam, about 2 hours away where I would meet a bunch of people who I would never bump into otherwise. Being "a local" I was inevitably asked on how safe it was - a question that I did not feel qualified to answer as although we occupy the same space, it is as if "normal life" and "travel" are parallel universes.
I travel to experience something new and just to find out what is there. I try to learn something about the culture of the people that I am going to meet and experience what it is they have to offer. I try to go in without any pre-conceived notions of what to expect and usually I'm pleasantly suprised, although there are a couple of places that I don't see any reason to return to.
Most of my travels are not planned and happen just because I am open to the opportunity of going. My trips to Mozambique, rafting down the Orange River (on the South African, Namibian border) and diving in the Philippines (Part I here and Part II here) happened because of friends or family who said they were going and I asked to join. I also travel for work and try to make the most out of the opportunity that this gives me. My visits to Zanzibar and Oman happened because I was working in Dar Es Salam and Dubai respectively.

What I want from my travel is a story that I can tell and others will find interesting. (Blogging has opened up a whole new world for this). I used to collect key rings, but at some point I stopped (I assume it was when I considered how much dust they were collecting). I use my iPod to show my pictures, which adds a whole new dimension to the story telling. I also send postcards to a friend and my Grandmother. One of whom has a map in his study with the postcards on the wall and my Grandmother is keeping them for me (so that I can tell more stories to the future grandchildren and nephews and nieces).

About a month ago I was wondering what I was going to do next. How could anything I do match up to the experiences that I've already had and a short while later another opportunity, and another came up. Both of which promise to be amazing (although I'm not creating any expectations).

I'll take what life gives to me and make the best that I can of it. That is why I travel.
Top Picture: Kayaking down the Orange River, Namibia
Other Picture: Walking near Seoul, South Korea
Do not re-use without permission.


Laura Cococcia said...

Wonderful and thought provoking post. I do have a list but life often gets in the way of doing it exactly as I planned...I travel for the same reasons you do but I think I'm putting a bit too much structure around it. Thank you for this!

Kim said...

@ Laura: There is no right way to live life - we've just got to go with what feels right. Sometimes I wish I had more "goals", rather than be buffeted by the elements.

AMP said...

Kim, Thanks for commenting on my blog. I love to travel, also, and to seek out new experiences and new life lessons. Your blog is very interesting. Keep it up!

Kim said...

@ AMP: Thank you for your feedback. It is very much appreciated.