Why I Like To Travel

flattiresandslowboats.comI am not really sure of the exact moment when my thoughts turned to exploring the world. What I do know is that I always loved geography and therefore travel seems like a natural progression of that. My first trip was at the age of two and I am guessing that must have set the tone. Not that this is a vivid memory or anything!

I distinctly remember telling a friend when I was in my teens that my life was going to be an adventure and that the adventure had not yet started. I figured at 22 I would open the door to the world and step through.

Travel has never been a scary option; kind of the opposite really. Normal things like buying a house or ideas like “working toward retirement”, or statements like “trip of a lifetime” have always sent a chill of fear up my spine like no other.  Rejected by me and left in the ether for others better able to deal with these situations.

Aided by the fact that I come from a relatively isolated group of islands my desire to travel was simply part of the collective culture of New Zealand. The OE, or Overseas Experience, was an expected way of life; more or less taken for granted.

I remember seeking employment at a stock brokerage firm in Auckland and during the interview I was asked, “Have you been overseas yet?”

I answered, but clarified it since I knew what he was getting at; yes but not solo.

Needless to say my clarification was met with a request that upon my return I should once again enquire about the possibility of employment. He made it clear that without this experience under my belt I was not yet up to muster.

Warnings came in thick and fast of the dangers that lay out in the big wide world. Some warned these dangers were lurking; waiting specifically for me! Others were convinced I would be back in a couple of months.

My family and friends however were not surprised. Like my brother and sister and most others our age, this was simply a rite of passage; a part of our cultural doctrine.

My big fear was that I would do nothing out of the ordinary; ever!

That I would succumb to the 9-5 grind and get cast in a role of the mediocre and narrow-minded; the world was right there for all, ready to be experienced, you just had to grab it.

At some point my life ideal was to travel on a budget and explore every part of the world. Then, when older, do it all again but in style and with no concerns about money.

Let me tell you, budget is the way to go no matter what stage in life you’re at.

I do mix it up a bit now that I have someone to share it with but budget…it’s how you meet more people, experience more things, and happen upon the amazing unplanned nuggets that make the difference between unforgettable and barely memorable.

I’ve tried both and even though I have upgraded from dorm rooms to private it’s the atmosphere of budget accommodation and those who make it their dwelling that can secure a trips success.

I have been fortunate that most of my trips can be measured in months and sometimes even years. I realize this is not how most people travel and that in fact the vast majority of folks would get sick of it after a much shorter period.

That has never been the case for me.

I used to get the blues about returning home; not being away.  Up until a few years ago that had always been the case. In fact the attack of the blues would directly correlate to the time spent away. I once took a six month trip and two months before returning, the blues started; shorter trips, shorter period of blues.

I love the escapism of being in a new place surrounded by new sights, sounds, and smells!

I remember an epiphany I had once in Indonesia as I was heading down a mountain. It was the last night before returning home and I was bummed. It hit me that in order to feel the exhilaration of the first day you have to have a last.

Kind of obvious now, but it was a revelation for me at the time!

It picked me out of my slump and it was then that I always vowed to have a “next trip” in the works; an antidote to post-vacation blues.

I have a passion for travel and that has never waned over the years. Travel to me means many things and is the axis upon which my life rests. Shaking life up with unfamiliarity and unforeseen circumstances creates zest and meaning.

Travel is a way to broaden horizons, learn cultures, experience situations, create alter-egos, and hopefully return home with a view of the world that is better not only because you cast an eye over it but because you immersed yourself in it.

I travel because I love it and have found little else that brings me the same sense of euphoria except…sharing it with someone who possesses my same sense of adventure. My life has changed over the years and with it I have found new and more fulfilling ways to experience it.

Travel, like life, is an evolution.

I saw a smoke billowing bus pass a camel that was passing an elephant on a major road in Delhi. The elephant was pink!

I saw a parade in a Muslim state where Jesus was laid out on a straw stretcher with bloodied wrists and forehead; his cross beside him. His cell phone rang and he answered it!

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49 thoughts on “Why I Like To Travel

  1. I am always amazed by travellers like you Tim. I guess it is actually a trait that one needs to have. I love to travel but not as frequent as you haha. I agree with you all the way that if you need to travel and really connect with an environment and its culture and people, you must always make it a budget trip. I have noticed that adventure comes more from unplanned trips where not everything was sorted out in advance, or rather where planned does not work out and make shift has to come into effect. And that is an experience you remember more than a 5 star hotel and shuttle services.

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    1. I have occasionally stayed in the 5 star hotels and utilized shuttle services and upon doing so the magic of the adventure is sucked out of the experience.

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  2. I think the best part of the way you live your life is that you live it on your terms. Travelling can be an amazing way to open your mind to the possibilities and I often wish I did more of it, but I wouldn’t give up the family and home I have to do it. It’s all a question of choice.

    I do enjoy reading your posts and love the photos, so a little vicarious enjoyment seems to go a long way for me. 🙂

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  3. Even though I haven’t traveled as much as you I feel similar about travel. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. After I drove across country last year I realized that I need to focus and find ways to travel even more. Hopefully I’m on the right track.

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  4. What a life! traveling is such a wonderful way to meet interesting people and GROW! I love what you say about traveling on a budget and how it can turn an memorable trip into an unforgettable one! My 16 year old dreams of taking a gap year after high school before starting college and traveling the world. I support her 100% ! I would have loved to discover the world before buckling down to more studies. She can only gain maturity and compassion through this experience. She has already done a bit of traveling and I love the perspective and mindset that all 3 of my girls have because they are exposed to a world that is far bigger than their home town 🙂

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    1. I have been very fortunate and I do not take it for granted. I might be a little concerned if I had a daughter and she wanted to head out for a year at age 18. If it were me I would rather the gap year be taken after college. But your point is well taken, it is most certainly a learning experience that cannot be found any other way.

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  5. Traveling can be addictive for some and very stressful for others. Some would much rather stay home and enjoy there surroundings. I’m a bit of both. I love my home, but I do love to see other cultures and explore their history, that’s fun.

    It’s funny you should mentioned coming down with the blues after returning home from your travels. My brother has lived abroad or many years in a multiple of countries. He is now repatriating back to the US and it has been a huge adjustment. It hasn’t been easy and I understand why. It will be interesting to see what he does next. 🙂

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    1. I can relate but the good thing about the world is that it is big and you can always find somewhere else to go; provided and time and money play their part.

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  6. A friend of mine on completing his 2500 kms journey on a bicycle explained to me what traveling really is! I could read the excitement in his eyes when he said “I feel like taking a new birth today…” Though I never had the opportunity to travel much, still I can feel the excitement and adventure of traveling from stories and posts of travelers. And you are one of my favorite travel writer.

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  7. Travel is addicting 🙂 I hated the small town I grew up in and just always felt I needed to see more and do more. That feeling just never goes away. Working my first summer in Yellowstone solidified my desire to travel and I haven’t stopped since. It’s awesome that you just keep on going and going.

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    1. That’s exactly how I feel. The world is so big and I would regret not trying to see and experience as much of it as possible. One life to live and all that…

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  8. From my world it seems so brave to embark on such an adventure alone at such a young age. I know that travel is deemed so essential in some cultures. I have a friend in Finland and she has traveled since she was young. I’ve only been out of the country two weeks in my entire life and my husband has done little more traveling than me. I believe that cultures that emphasize travel tend to have a much deeper understanding of different ways of life. This has made me want to start saving up for a trip!

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    1. I love it when people decide to go traveling; especially when I have something to do with that decision. You’re right, it is very much a cultural thing in many countries and New Zealand is most definitely one of them, as is Australia.

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  9. “It hit me that in order to feel the exhilaration of the first day you have to have a last.” So true and such a great epiphany! I’m about to end my travels in Mexico after nearly a year here and the end is making me sad, but that is such a positive way to look at my upcoming travels and adventures!

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  10. I’ve always loved discovering new places, I have the need to escape from the everyday life although I’m not a long-term-traveller for different reasons.
    Sometimes for me it’s enough to spend just 3 days away to recharge my batteries!

    There’s a sentence I love so much that has been told by Steve McCurry about Umbria, the region where I live: “Just think, in twenty minutes you can be out of time. In Umbria, you are able to change the scenery like this: in just a few minutes you can walk from one epoch to another. It ‘a very precious thing.” That’s exactly why I love it 🙂

    You are so fortunate to say that most of your trips can be measured in months and sometimes years! Interesting to know that the Overseas Experience is an expected way of life over NZ. Maybe because of its isolated geo location?
    Take care! Ilaria

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    1. Hi Ilaria. Sometimes a 3 day trip is enough to recharge the batteries for me to but there is nothing like a long term trip to get me excited. I feel very fortunate to have been able to do this. You to are also fortunate to live in such a beautiful place as Umbria.

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  11. “It hit me that in order to feel the exhilaration of the first day you have to have a last.”

    That and this really hit me in the heart:

    “Travel is a way to broaden horizons, learn cultures, experience situations, create alter-egos, and hopefully return home with a view of the world that is better not only because you cast an eye over it but because you immersed yourself in it.”

    You really were spot-on with this piece. I really couldn’t ask for anything better than the way you summed up your desire to keep on traveling.

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  12. Someone once told me that when you’re away from home for a long period, traveling or in a new land, it’s around the four month mark that homesickness really sinks in. Many people who’ve planned a year of travel change their mind at that point. It’s interesting that at the four month mark, you experienced blues, but not because of homesickness, but at the thought of the trip ending. Happy travels.

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  13. I remember when I was in high school, I had the chance to go to Paris on a school trip and was going to turn it down. My parents basically made me go, and I’ve loved to travel ever since. There is no way to replicate those experiences from your couch at home. In college, I spent several months in Italy and traveling Europe and was surprised at how many Australians and New Zealanders I met, but now it makes sense the way you’ve explained it.

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    1. Thanks Meredith. I get a lot of people tell me that the Stockbroker incident took them a little by surprise as this would never be the case in the US.

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  14. I love the title of your blog, and this particular post tells me why. Taking things as the y come one day at a time is the way to go. I have great admiration for the Slow movement in general and it seems you are in tune with that. Love your photos too. Thanks Tim

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  15. Tim, as you now know I’m not a traveler, but I don’t have to be. I can sit in my comfortable armchair, read your posts and visit with you at the places you’ve seen, I so much enjoy that.
    Lenie

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  16. I think the thing that stuck me most about this post Tim was how bummed you get when returning home. I’ve been reading and loving your blogs for a little while now…I love that you have taken me with you on these exciting and really interesting trips.So I wanted you to know that when I think of you, I think that you are a true citizen of the world and that home is wherever you happen to be!

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  17. Travelling the world is wonderful, Tim, and it enriches our lives. But you will get to a point where you don’t want to travel non-stop anymore and want to settle down in one place. Suddenly doing routines seem like a wonderful idea. Took me about two and a half years and I then settled down in London. Have since then travelled a lot but not non-stop.

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  18. Hi Tim,

    What you do is amazing. To me, traveling itself is a challenge. I like to be at one place (given a chance), get some great food and a bed to sleep. Then, if time permits, I would like to do some work and then perhaps write a blog or two 🙂

    But, here you are, traveling the world and never missing a beat. I am amazed how can you blog regularly, engage in commenting and at the same time, also travel and enjoy the beauty around.

    Congratulations on this awesome achievement!
    Regards,
    Kumar

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  19. As I have been reading your blogs every week, I always wondered what motivated you to love to travel so much. You’ve given us a very nice history that is interesting and intriguing. When my husband and I went to Kazakhstan and China to adopt my children, we went in for the budget arrangements and really got a feeling for how the “people” lived. Amazing, sad, humbling in Kazakhstan and fascinating in China. We were greeted on the streets by everyone because back in 1995 Americans were welcomed on the Mainland to adopt the abandoned girls. That was before Hong Kong was part of China. Two trips I will never forget because of the way we inserted ourselves into the culture of the country, not in a 5-star hotel.

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    1. Thanks Laurie. I must admit I do on rare occasions, on long trips, indulge in nicer place to stay but still try and keep it to a locally run establishment.

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  20. Hey Tim, Why I Like To Travel really resonates with me. In my teens I travelled 3 continents with a backpack and a shoestring budget then made a clear decision that I would never work at anything that didn’t involve travelling the world. That allowed me to see the rest of the world on someone else’s dime and at every company that I ran I put myself in direct charge of exports. Even later in life when I started a Real Estate Brokerage ( buying properties for offshore contacts ) I still maintained enough consulting contracts to travel extensively when the mood struck. Its not for everyone but if its in you there is just no fighting it.

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  21. Interesting perspective about the priorities of New Zealand’s recruiters. Sadly, the opposite is true in Mexico and the U.S. since companies are less likely to hire someone who has seen the world. Mainly because they know they cannot mold him/her into a corporate drone.

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    1. Unfortunately its just me. Alison could not make it due to a nasty reaction to the tetanus vaccination. I am paving the way so we can return and do it together.

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    1. Haha Michelle! We were travelling for our honeymoon when we met Tim, had a really good laugh with him and the rest of the “Laos family” for a few days and would love to go back, v envious of Tim returning to the area!

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  22. Love this, Tim. Looking forward to reading all about Cambodia. You remain the most interesting person I ever randomly met on a bus – Chiang Mai / Mekong / Luang Prabang, exactly 7 years ago!

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    1. Pretty easy. Most places to stay have wifi and so do some cafes. It has never really proved to be a problem. Mostly its just a speed issue but then again your traveling so everything is supposed to be laid back anyway.

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