Friday, January 24, 2014

"What Do You Find So Appealing About Travel?"

In a local's backyard in Terezin, Czech Republic, May 2003.

I know it has been over a decade since we have had a proper conversation, and that many things have changed since those days; but I come to you seeking a bit of advice/enlightenment. 

What I want to know is what is it that you get out of travelling all over the place? 

I, as a sailor with a good bit of time in, have often taken a cynical view of travel such as is the nature of my occupation, but things are changing and I'm starting to become more and more curious about travelling places and seeing things. Thus I have become curious of some of my travelling friends: What do you find so appealing about travel? 



Hi Darrell,

I am so pleased that after a decade of not having a proper conversation that you broke the silence to ask me a question that I actually had to stop and think about.

First of all, I can somewhat understand where you’re coming from—I know how tedious work-related travel can be. I don’t have to do much of it, but when I do, I don’t even enjoy it that much. I don't think that anyone does.

With my brother in Peggy's Cove on a family trip to Nova Scotia, 1994.

For me, my love of travel is partially contextual of how I grew up. I was born in Cold Lake and didn’t live anywhere else until I moved to Edmonton when I was 18. I was jealous of all the military kids who had lived overseas or in other parts of Canada.

It wasn’t just that I hadn’t been anywhere else (although my family did travel through Canada quite a bit)—it was also the fact that up until grade 12, when Grand Centre High School started accepting exchange students, all my interactions with kids my own age had been with other Cold Lakers. (White, middle-class Cold Lakers.) The world, for the majority of my life, was a very small, narrow and limiting place.

With Helka on my first trip overseas in Berlin, April 2003. Helka was one of the first exchange students that I met in Cold Lake. 

For me, travel has never been about the places or the destinations—it’s about the people that I meet and spend time with when I’m overseas. When I think back to the trips that I’ve taken in the last two or three years, that’s what it’s really been focused on. I also always find myself in incredibly peculiar situations.

But to be perfectly honest, it’s also because as an adult, I am a neurotic A-type personality. Apart from being a freelancer, I very much have a by-the-book day-to-day existence and am set in my routines. It results in a lot of stress. For some reason though, when I travel I’m able to shed this anxiety and focus on being present, rather than planning or worrying. (Although my A-type tendencies and planning abilities do make me feel like a bit of a genius when it comes to navigating airports and interacting in foreign languages.)

But above all else, I like to travel because I really like to eat and drink. It’s pretty rad.

I don't have a boyfriend, a "normal" nine-to-five job, a house or kids. So I figure I might as well keep exploring.

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