Migrating Miss’ thoughtful and interesting blog post on why people travel got me ruminating on my own reasons for enjoying travelling and for deciding to become a travel writer and blogger. I am interested in my local area and I appreciate the many different reasons why many people would prefer to stay at home. Maura Kelly is right, just looking through Migrating Miss’ reasons for enjoying travel, many of them are existential:
- To Learn
- To Challenge Myself
- Be anonymous
- Because life is too short
- To know myself
- To feel
- Experience Cultures
- Have adventures
- Meet People
- To Not Look Back & Wonder
Some of these reasons resonate strongly with me. I am very aware that ‘life is too short’ and I don’t want to ‘look back and wonder’ but then travel isn’t for everyone, some people feel their place in life is where they are and have no need to wander the globe and yet for me travel is an urge, even a necessity and it is a big part of who I am.
I enjoy learning and I certainly learn best when the learning is reflected in the place, geography and culture I am in. On our trips we like to stop to explore historical sites and learn about why places are culturally important and for me this learning has more relevance when I am standing on the spot. Looking over Culloden Moor I can feel some of the pain of the soldiers as the Jacobite uprising fell apart; I got a sense of the long span of human history when I walked in the steps of the pilgrims at Delphi and finding the layers of history in the city of Berlin is a thrilling experience.
But thinking about why I love to travel also got me mulling over how I see and experience and in this I am concerned with my observations moving on to interpretations, while appreciating that my own way of seeing a place as a white British woman will be individual. I try to be mindful of my surrounding and I am delighted when I manage to see the familiar as if it were new and walk down a nearby street with new eyes. But in truth it is arriving in new places when all my senses are really heightened. Everything happening around me can feel strange and inexplicable and I am bombarded by new smells, colours and sounds and my brain will be trying to interpret the meaning in the landscape and the way people use the space. In my own culture, in the north-west of England, I take so much for granted; I know how to use the bus, can identify the crops in the fields and understand the language people are using and my brain will take short-cuts as it doesn’t need to make sense of even the smallest detail. I can be creative about what I see anywhere but insight can sometimes get lost in the humdrum day-to-day. Travel opens up my imagination, offers new perspectives and encourages my brain to make new connections.
What has become clear is that for me the buzz that I get from this sensual surge and unfurling of my imagination in these new places has become addictive and after a short time at home I am ready for another fix.