Why am I going?
What is your definition of travel?
What is your definition of a traveller?
Someone asked me the other night.
As a veteran traveller, I always thought the answers to these questions were easy. But upon deeper reflection, I’m not so sure. Or maybe it’s because this time, it’s different. This is not so much about the travelling. This is about making the life I want happen.
Do I want to do the travel cliches? Do I want to traipse round ruins and sites, just because they are ‘must dos’; because everyone else does? And then wonder why I am frustrated and exhausted.
The other week when I was back at my mum’s, I looked at my old photo albums of my travels in Asia. I’ve looked at them many a time before with nostalgic pleasure; this time all I could see behind every picture-postcard photo was the negative elements of travelling alone in a foreign country – the strain of the backpack straps; the sweating from parts of the body I never knew possible (backs of knees anyone?); the never feeling properly clean; the arguments over fares with taxi drivers; the inability to communicate with people properly; the sitting alone in cafes for dinner; the different bed each night. Did I actually enjoy travelling, or is it just something I have to do?
And that’s what I answered to my friend who asked the poignant questions – I think I’m going because I can.