I’m often asked why I feel the need to travel so often, so extensively, and to places that don’t really feature on the radar for many people as they plan their holidays (Hello Mam!). Often I can’t explain exactly why somewhere appeals to me, just that it does, and I can get there. So this is an attempt to draw together my thoughts, and give some justification for developing this blog.
Travelling is the very soul of These Vagabond Shoes (pun totally intended!), and it’s my belief that the opportunities travel provides for new experiences, exposure to new ideas, and feeling that flux state of being on the move is a good thing for everyone.
Meeting other people, particularly people from a different culture or background to yourself, talking with them, listening to their stories, and sharing their food goes a long way to extending our understanding of each other, and diminishing that deep fear of the different and unknown. It also challenges our tightly-held perceptions, provokes questions, and tests our own resilience. It’s the first tentative steps towards changing the world for the better.
My hope, idealistic as it may be, is that the readers of this blog might start to think of opportunities available to them, to travel widely and openly, and embrace chances to step outside their comfort zone now and again. And for those that perhaps face greater barriers than most, the chance to join me vicariously on my way to some places they may be unlikely to ever visit.
So to that end, I’ve compiled an epic list of reasons I think that travel is a winner, inspired by my own experiences and those of other writers, bloggers, and people that I’ve met along the way. I might dip into it now and again, to take a deeper look at an idea, and it’s not a definitive list by any means, so expect it to grow over time too.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or get in touch on social media.
Why should you travel?
Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.
- To break out of your comfort zone
- To find the time to think
- To escape from the everyday routine
- To learn how to really relax
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
- To break down boundaries
- To meet people from a different culture
- To improve foreign language skills
- To smash the stereotypes in your thinking
Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.
- To heal, and rebuild what’s broken
- To grow, exponentially, in confidence
- To become a more flexible and adaptable person
- To do something you’d never normally do, and be proud of that
Travel brings power and love back into your life.
- To light a fire of creativity
- To inspire new passions
- To make the wine taste better (or whatever your poison is)
- To sample new food tastes
If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody.
Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.
- To speak to new people and make new friends
- To find the kindness of strangers
- To meet face-to-face the things you’ve read about or seen on screen
- To collect mementos and images to colour your everyday life
There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colours and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.
- To learn to appreciate the small things in life
- To hear birdsong
- To feel sheer, unrestrained joy
- To embrace the feeling of being lost
- To find yourself again
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
- To get up close and personal with the natural world
- To watch the sun rise, and set, on a different horizon
- To be totally and completely awestruck
- To follow in someone’s footsteps
- To blaze your own trails
The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.
- To fill the blank spaces in your geography knowledge
- To give global politics a relatable backdrop
- To make history live
- To share stories about your home and your experience
Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
- To get more comfortable in your own company
- To become more mature
- To create stories to tell your children, and grandchildren
- To remain young at heart, whatever your age
And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again – to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.
- To trace your roots, and shake your branches
- To be thankful for what you currently have
- To remember just how lucky you are
- To appreciate what waits for you at home
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
- To change the path of your career, or your whole life
- To overcome the fear
- To be yourself
- To live your best life, no regrets
… because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars…
Jack Kerouac, On the Road