Why Did You Start Traveling?

Tourists statuesTo celebrate my blog turning three, I asked a series of travel related questions to my readers. It was time for them to share their story. I was tired of just listening to me talk and I wanted to know what makes my readers tick and what inspires them to travel. Today starts that series so, without further ado, here is what has inspired other people to hit the road:

“It’s not that I *believe* the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but if you never peak over the top… how do you know? I want to know: Is there grass on the other side, what color is it, what’s the texture like, how does it smell? So I travel.” – Maria

“Primarily, boredom. At 21, I had never left Australia and was desperate to see Europe, so me and a friend set off on a whirlwind tour of the continent for a month. This trip changed my life, and I knew then that I wanted to continue to travel for the rest of my life. Eighteen months later, I moved to London and have been travelling ever since. ” – Nicole

“Every since my first international trip after college, I have loved exploring new places. The food, the landscapes, the people – it is just so interesting and exciting. Through my travels I met “backpackers” who were my age or younger and traveling for several weeks, even months at a time. I realized I could do that if I wanted to. I didn’t want to wait until I was retired and paid off the mortgage to live my dream.” – Stephanie

“I have an insatiable appetite for new experiences – aka, I’m easily bored and have a short attention span. It is not enough for me to see pictures of monuments, natural wonders and new landscapes. I want to touch, breathe, smell, feel everything there is to experience in the world. I love how it opens my mind and how nothing is ever quite as it looked in the picture. I love new people too, and their stories.” – Penny

“I was just a junior in high school when I attended the World Youth Day pilgrimage in Denver, CO in 1995 to see Pope John Paul II. That was the first time I met people from all over the world. It was then that I knew I wanted to travel. It changed my perspective on life and sparked a life-long curiosity, desire, and passion to connect with people from other countries and learn about other languages and cultures.” – Nikki

“My first overseas trip was a big one. My family moved from the United States to England when I was seven years old to live for a year. It’s the best thing my parents ever did for me. They took every opportunity we had to travel around Europe and northern Africa. By the time we moved back to the States, I was obsessed with foreign cultures. It was a long time before I made it overseas again, but my obsession remained, and I’ve been a professional international tour guide and travel writer for more than 15 years now.” – David

“I’m lucky that my parents started taking my siblings and I on trips at a very young age, so I never knew what life was like without travel. I also went on a week-long volunteer trip to the slums of Mexico two summers in a row, which changed my life by seeing poverty first-hand and realizing how fortunate I am. Once I graduated college and was making my own money, I decided it was time to see as much of the world as I could. That’s when I began going to Europe for two weeks every summer. I got hooked.” – Emily

“I grew up pretty sheltered so wanted to see more of the world after I graduated college. After my first backpacking adventure I was hooked! Now I try to go on at least one big trip every year.” – Michael

“To re-evaluate direction in life, make a career break, learn about the world and become better global citizens, bond as a family & “roadschool” the kids, and experience a stripped-down nomadic life to greater appreciate our regular non-traveling lives.” – Sara Lavender Smith

“I spent the fall of my junior year studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark and it changed my life. I grew up in a small town outside of Boston and went to college about a half hour away, so my universe was pretty centrally concentrated. Being in Europe for four months opened my eyes and I was able to travel literally all over the continent while I was there. Now I’m addicted to the concept of traveling and can’t wait to get out there again.” – Allie

“I’ve always wanted to see the world but was married at an early age. My life fell into the typical marriage, house, school, responsibilities, etc and there was never time or money to travel. Almost four years ago, my ex-wife left me for someone else and it gave my life freedom. I finally realized traveling the world wasn’t some dream the “other people” did, I could do it myself. I saved hard core for years after in order to give myself a year of seeing the world.” – Mike

“This may sound like an odd one, but debt. Most people use debt as a reason not to travel, but for me, it was my get-up-and-go. My career working for GE Finance in the UK was going well. But every month, all my money was going towards bills, rent and credit cards. I wasn’t saving anything. So, I looked into working abroad and came across teaching in South Korea. Three months later, I was here – and whilst clearing my debt (halfway there!) I’ve managed to travel to Turkey, Taiwan, and all over Korea in the meantime. Later this year, I’m going to Germany and Morocco. Working in South Korea has meant that my debt is no longer controlling my ability to travel – although I have to use my limited holiday days wisely!” – Tom

I asked my readers a series of 6 questions about travel. Read their answers to the other 5 intriguing questions:
What is your greatest travel memory?”
What’s the one item you can’t travel without?
What’s the worst thing that has happened to you?
What advice would you give to new travelers?
What is your greatest regret?

  1. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s motivation to see the world, and to see there are so many people out there with the same yearning to explore all four corners of the earth as much I do!

  2. @ Emily – I think the one thing that travel definitely teaches you, is to be grateful for the life you have been born into. Many people across the globe are much worse off than you and it is when you see it first hand, that it really hits home. I simple love travel for the constant “change” in everything from language, culture and food. I will travel forever!

  3. I started travelling to get over a bad break up. Nothing like putting kilometers between you and an ex, even if Elizabeth Gilbert has now glamourized it.

  4. I think that travel is also influenced by things that interest us in other culture. I know that if there’s a major event or other exciting happening in another country I’d like to check it out.

  5. I just love how varied these answers are, and that no two are alike. It’s a reminder about how unique we all are as individuals, not only when it comes to the motivations for why we wander.

    It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20’s that I became more interested in travel. I became a lot more adventurous when I moved away from my hometown in Florida to the mountains of Boone, NC. If you can believe it, I had never actually taken my first plane ride until 2007 when I was 27! It was all over once I took that flight 😀


  6. I like the one Mike wrote about his ex-wife. That’s awesome actually. We all go when we have the freedom which is why I’m finally going to go! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. … I went to the UK in 1988 as a 21 year old straight from uni graduation wanting to be a sound engineer for my love of alternative music – gothic, punk, indie, and the beginning techno scene – but ended up solo traveling around the Islamic world for 5 months: in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine/Israel; and it changed my life, forever … Addicted to travel, ever since.

    the candy trail … a nomad across the planet, since 1988

  8. I started when I was 3 years old, my family moved to South Korea and while we lived there my father took many business trips in Asia and often took me to see the world from a child’s perspective. Each summer I would fly back to Michigan or to Puerto Rico to visit family and come back in time for school in Seoul. Now that I go to college in the states I’ve been researching and traveling the world to study, learn new talents, and meet new people for my art work while recording my adventures in my sketch diary. The next step is when I graduate next year I plan on doing Peace Corp anywhere they need me.

    Never ever going stop traveling. :)

  9. I love this topic. One other reason, not mentioned, is just overwhelming curiosity and not wanting to live with the nagging feeling of “what if”.

  10. I started traveling to spend quality time with my family. Staying at home always keeps stress in the back of my mind, so its nice to get away. I wish my risk tolerance was a little greater so I could give up the full time job and move from place to place.

  11. I started traveling because I knew there was more to life than graduating college and jumping into the rat race. I wanted to explore, learn about other cultures, see things I had read about, meet like-minded people and simply expand my horizons. It didn’t hurt that I became addicted to collecting stamps in my passport!
    — Simply Three Cents

  12. As a little kid I was not afraid to wander. Scared the crap out of my parents because they thought I was lost a few times and got the police involved, but I was great, just wandering.

    By the time I reached high school, I was fed up. I didn’t give up, I was just fed up with peer pressure, people telling me what to do, etc. I believed the world had to be bigger, there had to be more to life than what I was experiencing.

    First I went to London, then traveled all over Europe, then studied abroad in Ghana, then traveled to Asia, then South America and Antarctica… I was right, the world is bigger and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined!

    Thanks for a great post!

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