2017 has been a year that has reignited my passion for travel. Interspersed between the drudgery of work, I’ve explored four new countries: Jordan, Lebanon, The Philippines and Mexico.
Why do I enjoy travelling so much?
When people find out I have the travel bug in me, they usually assume that the physical landscape is the main draw. Although the scenery of course holds a lot of appeal, it actually isn’t the main reason I love to travel.
To clarify what I mean by ‘travelling’, or if you use American English ‘traveling’, what I’m talking about here is exploring. Sitting on a sun lounger in a resort isn’t the same thing.
So what are the reasons I love travel so much?
Well, there are many, but here are some that jumped to mind:
1. The variety.
In a mere week of I gain more new experiences, taste more food, visit more places, learn more about history, use more modes of transport and meet more people than I do over the course of a year in my regular life. I’ve had the most crazy moments of my life so far during my travel. The only negative is returning to normal life seems so dull in comparison.
2. The people.
Whether backpackers, tourists or locals, I never fail to meet an eclectic mix of people. This ranges from the truly eccentric, to the downright annoying, to those wonderful friends you instantly bond with. I’ve felt deeper connections with people I’ve known over days, than I have people I’ve known months or even years. When travelling, particularly solo and independently, I’ve often had to rely on other people to help me in situations, occasionally I’ve had to take risks with my personal safety for this, but I’ve only ever had help even when in a vulnerable position. It has truly made me realise that the vast majority of people are kind hearted and decent beings, and that taking small risks has generated huge rewards.
3. The excitement.
That feeling of the unknown is unparalleled. In a world where, for me at least, little changes from day to day, it is easy for boredom to kick in, and as a result a feeling of watching life pass me by. Travelling, particularly independently gives me that lease of life, that sense of total freedom, void of banal concerns.
4. New perspective.
Getting out of my comfort zone makes me realise that there isn’t just one way to do things. There are people all around the world living so differently, and often they are happier and more content for it. Some may be hippies living a life of solitude, some may be living a simple life away from all modern communications, some may be partying, some may be living traditional lives in jungle villages. Travelling gives me a pleasant realisation that despite globalization, we are not homogenous, and variety really is the spice of life.
5. The highs.
The best moments, the peaks, leave me feeling so high. My emotions and senses are somehow intensified. Quite simply the feeling it gives me is one of extreme elation. It has its bad moments of course, like that time I had my entire rucksack stolen on a bus in Ecuador, or that time I watched my hostel burn down in the Cook Islands. Not to mention getting to grips with other countries way of operating, such as painfully slow service in a shop or restaurant, or buses that pull up hours later than schedule if at all. But when standing looking over the views of Machu Picchu after conquering the Inca trail, or when diving surrounded by the magical beauty of the coral reefs, or when being helped unexpectedly by a local, these highs certainly surpass the lows.
Of course the grass is always greener, and when travelling for extended periods there are inevitably aspects from home that I miss. Through travel I certainly gain an appreciation for what I do have in my normal life. From family who I may be thinking about, to comfort food I miss, to efficient public transport and good service. Not to mention the ability to drink water straight from the tap back home in the UK. That is one true luxury I do miss when away, that I’d never had to think twice about before.
I will finish off with some of my 2017 travel highlights in photographs…
Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.