During our recent trip through Central Java, we car-pooled with an energetic German couple who shared their intrepid tales of travelling around the World with us. Towards the end of our day together on the harrowing mountain roads of the Dieng Plateau, Daniel made an insightful comment, which I thought, hit the spot for all of us travel addicts.
“Today we learned alot. Now we know more about the Javanese culture, we learned many words in their language like ‘makan’ (eat), and we experienced the ridiculous way they drive!”
It’s the fundamental reason why we just can’t stop travelling. On the road, you’re constantly taking in new knowledge, always learning about something you’d never known. There is always something new, refreshing and beyond your imagination. It’s that element of surprise, sprinkling on you as you uncover a new monument, a new culture, a new dish…
If you’re considering quitting your job, slinging on that long-forsaken backpack of yours, it’s time to do it! I’m sharing with you some good reasons why we travel:
Learning something new everyday keeps us going to various corners of the World I’d never thought I would ever be. You might be discovering bits and pieces of new knowledge at a time, like the love story of the King who built Taj Mahal, or how ‘tapas’ were invented, or even tips on how to ride a camel. Life is an endless learning journey.
Finding myself changing psychologically after every single trip gets me yearning for more. Be it a short jaunt or a long trip, I always leave feeling slightly different from who I was. My eyes opened up to a new city and people. A recent short trip to Cambodia opened my eyes to the poverty and consequences of war, and I feeling for the less fortunate more than ever.
Meeting all sorts of people – from fellow travellers to native war victims, there is a life story behind all these faces. I remember meeting an old Chinese lady on a bus ride to Fishermen’s Wharf in SF, and ending up touring Chinatown with her. She bought me the best dumplings I’ve ever had, and told me priceless stories of how she escaped from China to the US, bringing up her son with her bare hands and learning English. Tales like this stay with me forever.
Injecting excitement to an otherwise monotonous life, travelling is our channel of escapism from ordinary life. Friends with a good career slog 9-to-5, and return home to a whole stack of credit card bills and a fat mortgage. We don’t own any valuable assets, but in return, we chalk up on our mileage, travel tales to pass on to our children, and good friends from different corners of the world.
Pushing ourselves to the limit gives us the satisfaction we can’t get elsewhere. I’m not an athlete and far from being a sports enthusiast, but somehow, bungee-jumping in the midst of a jungle in Thailand and hiking up to the peak of the Aboriginal mountains of Kakadu make me feel proud of who I am.
Feeling unbeatable after conquering countless challenges is an undescribable sensation. There are always ups and downs while on the road – being stuck in a riot, having no clue of the local language and communicating with hand signs, or even getting hypnotized into buying Arabic carpets. Travelling poses one mind-boggling obstacle after another, but once we overcome them, nothing else can stand in our way.
Going through highs and lows with my travel soulmate brings us even closer together. Since we met, we’ve been on the road together. I’d never met a better travel mate than him, we’re opposites but yet have similar interest when travelling. Nothing has made our lives together happier and more colorful than seeing the World together.
Travelling is really addictive. Once you start, you can’t stop. When you’ve seen the Grand Canyon, you wanna see the Andes, and once you’ve experienced that, you wanna go on to Mount Everest.
What about you? Why do you travel?