The other day I was having brunch with my grandparents when my grandma asked me – “Why do you decide to travel?”
I’ll admit I was a bit confused at the question. I mean, travelling is a no brainer right? Why wouldn’t you want to travel? But after a long pause I found myself fumbling for a reason. Why do I travel? I didn’t really know how to answer. We were discussing my upcoming trip to China and were talking about how different it will be compared to Japan. I told her how long we were going for, almost two months Aaron and I will be away, our longest trip together yet. When I was 18 I moved to Australia for six months and stayed in a city called Townsville, a place that had me at my melting point in their February heat. But since then I’ve travelled for a month here and there, and despite all this moving the urge to leave never seems to stop.
So why do I travel so much?
As bad as this answer is it’s all I got – I have no clue. I don’t know why I have this urge pulling me places. I don’t know why this thirst never seems to be quenched. Even though I’m terrified of flying I never really questioned why I want to travel or why I put myself through all these emotions. I just do.
Saying just because I want too doesn’t seem like a good enough answer so I thought more about it when I got home. I guess I think it would be stupid to pass up an opportunity to travel the world since I have nothing stopping me. It’s available, it’s my planet, so why wouldn’t I want to see all the beauty that it has? I know Canada is my home country and Edmonton is my city, but, Earth is my home planet. And while I’ve only been to 20 countries, I have had my breath taken away so many times I guess maybe it’s as they say, I’m addicted.
As a kid I was always in books. I was always reading and playing in the trees and exploring the acres of land behind my house. I lived inside my head. A fantasy world that was vast and amazing. I never fit in with other people, I was always kind of a loner with one best friend and people would try to include me, but I never put in that much effort. I was bored easily, still am, and I don’t care about what other people are doing. I never cared who was dating who, never gave much thought to gossip and I didn’t like being in peoples business. I liked drawing and just being weird old me. Sometimes it was hard being alone, but now I realized that that was because I thought I shouldn’t be okay with it. I always just did what I wanted and not much has changed since then.
But enough backstory, why do I decide to travel when I could have a comfortable life in Canada?
Travelling has showed me so much and has taught me so much. I was one of those kids who just coasted without trying in school, but I tested poorly, and my head was in the clouds at all times so I couldn’t focus on the teacher. Learning from the world though, and it’s inhabitants, I feel more confident in my knowledge and abilities than school ever made me feel. From navigating to communicating, to embracing cultures and learning about them, learning to be humble and grateful no matter how hard life may seem. When I travel, nothing else matters. When I land in a new country and clear the awful custom’s line, I find myself.. living.
Travelling isn’t as glamorous as some people make it out to be. It’s hard to travel. It’s not sitting at an all-inclusive sipping Pina Coladas as the waves roll in. Travelling is dirty. Travelling is being stressed out trying to navigate, trying to find food that doesn’t have meat in it, trying to get some sleep in an uncomfortable bed, trying to stay warm in the rain while trying to appreciate the Eiffel Tower. Travelling is not showing for 3 days and putting your hair in greasy a bun. It’s waking up at 4AM to catch a train with bags under your eyes, trying to find a big cup of coffee so you don’t pass out. Travelling is waking up before the sun to catch the sunrise over Lucerne. Travelling is exhausting, so why do we do it?
Why do we choose to put ourselves through the unknown in order to travel?
As hard as travelling is, I have never felt more real or alive. I have never been more confident or more curious. I have changed from a quiet mouse to someone who will stand up for themselves and others. I have never laughed or smiled more, or appreciated my home more. And I can look back at so many great memories. From sipping sangria on the beach in Barcelona, renting a boat in Positano and taking it to Capri, eating to many pofferjies in Amsterdam, getting lost in Shibuya in Tokyo, taking part in the monks prayer on Mount Koya or having the time of my life in Thailand at the Full Moon Party.
I have packed a lot of living into my twenty something years and I can’t wait to live more. So maybe that’s why I travel. I travel to live. I travel to come alive. To be reborn again and again in new places I used to only dream of. I love this chaotic life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
The count down to China has begun! I’ll see you in two weeks Beijing <3
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