There's something really refreshing about traveling.
Whether it's sipping a glass of cold sangria after a long trek up a hill in Barcelona, paragliding off of a cliff in Turkey (this IS refreshing, I promise) or the cold shower after an extensive day of sight seeing, camera snapping or for the more traditional out there, map reading, I bet there's something about going abroad, into the unknown that quenches this thirst.
There's also something very confusing about travel- why do we do it and is it for everyone? Well, I actually think the answer is a lot simpler than we all think. Travel enables you to develop an understanding of the world you reside in far better than any film can portray or book can transport you to....and believe me, as an English graduate I know that's far. (Read: I cannot give you directions to Middle Earth, sorry about that)
Though, why is there still a need to justify whether we relish travel or not?
Show me a date scenario where the cutlery slices through the silence following the exchange "So, do you travel?" ....."No, not really." *Restaurant gasps and surrounding waiters drop the plates they're carrying.* That wouldn't happen, right? Because everybody loves to travel. Wrong.
I came across a piece entitled "Don't Date a Girl who Travels" and quite frankly I let out a sigh of sheer disappointment that someone who likes seeing new places and gaining new experiences is seen as intimidating or "unsettled." You wouldn't call a person "unsettled" if they tried a new dish in a restaurant, or if you would then maybe I need to learn a bit more about people, so why describe someone who wants to try new places as this?
A need for travel stems so much further than just a want to "get away", though I grant you this is as good an excuse or want as any. It stems from, for me, an unstoppable need to explore the places where I don't happen to have been born, or live entirely close to. I'm not just talking about going abroad either- travel is outside your front door, in your own country, or county even. Traveling isn't about how many train tickets you collect or flight check-ins you master (thank god) though they do make an interesting keep sake if you're into that sort of thing (read: you'll end up with massive scrap books like I have propping up my bed)
Travel is something that not only shows you what you are, can be, and want to be, it can also confirm who you are, and what you're not, and this is not detrimental in the slightest.
When I look at my beloved 91 year old Grandparents, who have travelled with us over the last ten years until a few years ago due to declining health, it reminds me that time is of the essence and now is as good a time as any to go and see the world while my body and purse enable me to do so.
I would feel eternally disappointed if I hadn't lived and worked in Palermo, Sicily earlier this year- danced under the stars until the early hours, ate enough pizza to sink a battleship full of hippotomi, and more importantly met people whom I would have never come across if I wasn't working in a shelter in the backstreets of Palermo. Travel isn't always glamorous - particularly if you're clambering up a hill in 30 degree heat yelling at passers by "IT'S THE HUMIDITY" Monica from FRIENDS style as you frantically pat down your untamed mane. But it's beautiful at the same time- travel is the element of surprise, the anxiety of the unknown and all that falls in between. Traveling alone especially is physically and emotionally demanding, but I'm sure you'll feel stronger as a result, and if not, then no fear- you lived a little didn't you?
Travel may not be for everyone but it is there waiting for those who have the time, desire, and urge to go. Travel is what leaves me howling with laughter as my Dad naively asks a tour guide "who lives here?" about an Egyption cemetery, or gets thrown out of a Catalonian museum for sitting on an ancient step....come to think of it he should probably never be let out the house again for the sake of society everywhere, but I got my travel bug from him and my Mum so that may not last long.
Travel leaves me breathless in more ways than one, and inspires me to live a little differently when I touch back on British soil. Perhaps it's my all-or-nothing attitude that leads me to want to see all of the countries, meet all of its people, and drink all of the wine (those who know me well will understand the latter), and I always feel a little saddened that I can't go everywhere, know everyone, and live this crazy life more than once. And that's exactly why I try and live lots of different little lives and experiences all round the world- not in a psychological split personality kind of way, but a sociological, genuinely-interested-about-the-world sort of way. It's not selfish to admit to wanting more, when it comes to exploring the world, in my eyes, and if you disagree with me, then I relish that- after all travel is not a one-size-fits all experience, and opinion on it is not either.
For me, it is the sensual reminder every time I wear a particular perfume that I wore on dusky nights in Peru, or the Hobbit soundtrack I listened to repeatedly in the US, it's not even the thousands of photographs that stay with me, in fact I take so many as the images so often fly out of my head far too easily for my like, it's the feeling that I went somewhere new, liked it, didn't get a feel for it, ate good food, experienced cuisine I didn't enjoy, met people who were like me, encountered people who made me appreciate those I already knew, and saw things that I know I'll never see again. Going exploring isn't just the places you see, but the combination of a range of elements that make the most beautiful concoction better than any piña colada a handsome bartender could ever make you, though my god they can be pretty damn good.
I have never vowed that I won't date a guy who doesn't travel, because like I said, it isn't for everyone..though I'll try to get him on board that plan, or coach, bus, or bike. We are complex people and there isn't as easy a spectrum as "all girls who travel won't want to settle down" because that's as productive as claiming that all girls who enter a club head towards the dance floor pointing and singing along to their favourite tunes....even though working in a bar has taught me that this does happen rather often.
So if you're reading this, and you're considering why it is your other half, friend, sister, daughter or whomever is subject to this need to leave home and go exploring, I pray that you don't see it as a negative reflection on you, because more often than not it's not that she's unhappy with herself, her life, or her relationships, it's that she's unhappy with the possibility of not knowing the current impossibilities. This being said, you could be an ass and she could be fleeing- but that's something to take up with her, not me, a probably biased travel writer who has a penchant for the Mediterranean.
After all, there's 365 days in a year, 52 weekends, and an uncountable opportunity to "get up and go." You may even meet a new friend out there (Catrin, Rebecca, Arianne, Alana, Emily, Isabel, Triin, Alicia, Summer, and Alina this shout out is alllll yours) or maybe even the love of your life (far too many to mention) out there. And until then? You'll more than likely have me to talk to on the plane seat next to you- now if that isn't worth traveling for then I genuinely don't know what is.