British History Philosopher Arnold J.Toynbee provides a fascinating perspective:
“In my experience the solvent of traditional prejudice has been personal acquaintance. When one becomes personally acquainted with a fellow human being, of whatever religion, nationality, or race, one cannot fail to recognize that he is human like oneself.”
In a nutshell, this is why I travel.
To realise that every single person on this planet is, at the most basic level, just like me.
As a 20 year old in 2010, a stint of unfulfilling jobs, ranging from retail to high-street banking, pushed me to venture into the world of backpacking. Like many travel-enthused millennial Brits starting out I figured Australia was the best (and easiest) place to start, so with the help of some kind staff at my local STA Travel branch, I planned my first 6-month solo trip and set off.
7 years and 26 countries later, the backpacker life has become the only life I truly feel at ease with. (Although now I don’t consider myself to be a backpacker – more of that later).
Why I Travel
I often find myself burdened with the question, ‘so, why do you travel?’ I say burdened because travelling, for me, involves me living my regular life, just in many different places. I still do the same things; eat, sleep, shit, workout, read, make friends.
So why not just stay in the same place then?
Right. Now that’s a better question, and one I’d much rather answer.
I travel to exchange interactions, engage with, and (ideally) make wonderful friendships with people from all over the world. This I cannot do if I just stay in the same place.
I really despise the ‘us and them’ (translation = good and evil) narrative that exists in the world today. I want to erase it, at least from within my own life to begin with. Until I figure out a way to achieve this on a larger scale, I’ll keep travelling and making friends with people that I meet along the way, because that what makes my life feel purposeful.
Whichever country I find myself in, I try to live in it as an insider, as opposed to considering myself as an outsider trying to blend in. In this sense, I guess you could call me a experiential traveler; I seek to experience wherever I go through a connection with its people.
Where I’ve Been
2014 was a turning point for me a as person on the move. As a graduation present to myself, I planned a 6-week trip to visit 2 countries that I had dreamt of visiting since I was a child; Nepal and Japan.
Nepal, because I love mountains (and where better to see mountains then a country slap-bang in the middle of the Himalayas) and Japan, because growing up I was obsessed with Hello Kitty (and still am a little bit now).
So, towards the end of 2014 I fulfilled both of these dreams by trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal and visiting every Hello Kitty store and coffee shop available in Tokyo, Japan.
I’ve visited many European countries, the USA, the Middle East, a fair bit of Asia and Oceania. I’ve barely set foot in Africa and I’m yet to touch South America. I do hope I get to one day.
Right now, India has me in it’s grips and I’ve been here since January 2016. (I have no plans in moving on as yet).