Last week another airplane crashed, this time from France to Egypt. A few weeks earlier there was a story about tourists attacked and robbed in South Africa, and earlier in the year an Australian tourist ‘disappeared’ in Mexico. All of these events and stories lead to the question of why to I risk travelling? It’s a fair question and at a surface level the simple answer is bad things happen everywhere including at home so why give into fear.
But the deeper level is that travelling this diverse world and getting small glimpses into the hopes and desires of different people, the creative architecture over the centuries, and the stunning sights that nature throws up, is why it is worth the risk. There is a saying You Only Live Once (YOLO). While I know I could and should take that motto into my ‘normal’ life I definitely strive for global experiences, to know this world a little better.
Think about it, I’ve gotten to experience the amazing Iguazu Falls with my nephew Andrew, sleep under the stars/sun in Antarctica, I’ve swam in around the Great Barrier Reef, I’ve hiked the Great Wall of China and watched monks chanting in China, Japan, and Thailand. I’ve seen happy children playing in India, Belize, Costa Rica, well basically everywhere. I’ve marvelled at the great city of St Petersburg and the bright and colour Moscow (despite what my childhood TV memories told me to expect). I visited the Cape Town jail that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in and the horror of the Nazi Final Solution Camps. I’ve seen the biggest sporting event with happy Germans during the 2006 Football World Cup. I’ve experienced Christmas in Mexico and the crazy dancing of Latins, in particular the Cubans, be warned!!!! 🙂
I’ve meet amazing travellers from all kinds of backgrounds, rich and poor, who while different all have that desire to connect with the wilder world in their own way. I will always remember the kindness of Inge who took me around her beautiful Belgium and introduced me the the sweetest waffles in the world. I’ve seen amazing live Shakespeare performances along side modern musical and local productions that expanded my thinking. I recall the snorers in the dorm rooms when I was backpacking though Europe in 2006. I’ve seen artwork thousands of years old on rocks, and magnificent modern art (1800 onwards) in the finest museums. I’ve touched dinosaur bones and seen the great pyramids in Egypt and Central America.
I’ve visited every continent and seen both amazing and crazy wildlife, lions, tigers, elephants, fish I couldn’t name with colours I didn’t know existed, I’ve ducked llamas who tried to spit on me at Machu Picchu.
I also recall the cancelled flights, the endless airports (but in recent years the lovely lounges), the tiny airplane seats, the snoring passengers, the irritating traveller, the scammers during to take my money and the bad weather. Traveller the world leads to both great and bad experiences but it’s worth it. The snorer in the New York City dorm motivated me to visit late night comedy clubs, and experience that almost had me wetting myself with laughter. The scammers gave me great travel stories to tell over a few beers. The bad weather in Ireland made me fall in love with the Irish Pub and the open fireplaces.
I wouldn’t trade these experiences and I willingly accept that something might go terribly wrong while overseas but I’m ahead of the game by a long way. I don’t know what happens after life is over so I might as well experience as much as both in the here and now. My goal is to travel and experience as much as this world as my finances and health allow me.
South East Asia in 2016, Africa camping overland trip 2017-18 and who knows what is next? Exciting isn’t it!!