Since I was a small child I have been endlessly curious about the world around me. I was always that kid with my nose in books, excited to find out more about all the things and places I knew nothing about. I had a big book full of the Kings and Queens of England and Scotland and I devoured it several times, page after page, memorising each story and desperately wanting to visit all the castles and places mentioned inside.
I grew up on a diet of caravan holidays on the South Coast, along the Dorset seaside clambering around cliff tops and creating castles of my own in the sand, but I wanted more. My Uncle was a traveller, and every time he sent me a doll in national dress from his current location (my favourite was the flamenco dancer from Spain), I wanted to know more about these places that seemed so far away to me. If the internet had existed then, I know I would have been furiously googling, my eyes taking in every last drop of information I could find.
I was lucky enough to take a trip to Australia when I was 11 (to visit that Uncle who had since settled there), and I remember being overwhelmed and overawed every last second of that trip.
But from then on, travel became very much took a backseat. There were holidays, and my first city break to Barcelona, but life took on a different shape as I progressed from child to teenager to young adult.
I never did that pre or post university gap year, and at age 22 I fell hopelessly in love with Mr Sparrow and my wunderlust was pushed aside for wedding planning and house buying and settling down (and all the pennies and pounds that that requires).
That curiousity never died, and that fire in my belly never wavered and when the time was right, I knew that travel would find me again.
That time is now.
So what does travel mean to me?
Travel is my window into the world. It feeds my soul and my brain. Travel is finding both difference and similarities in new cultures and customs. Talking to locals and spending time finding out every little thing I can about the place I am in at that time.
Travel is understanding – understanding my place in the world and how I got here. Understanding my own history and that of others and how it all meshes into this rich tapestry of living and fighting and living again alongside each other. Understanding how decisions have shaped our history, and how they might continue to shape our history in the future.
Travel is food and drink and trying new things. It’s tasting delicacies and national dishes and adding these new things into my diet when I return. It’s finding that perfect meal, that local red wine and understanding how these foods have impacted how people live and thrive.
Travel is friendship – meeting new people on the road and staying in touch for years and years and following how that travel experience shaped our lives in different ways. It’s reaching our beyond language barriers and getting to know others in their context and appreciating their lives and the lives of those on the journey with you.
Travel is relaxation…sometimes. It’s resting and recharging in new surroundings, in sun and in snow. But it’s also busy, and full and chaotic and sometimes not a holiday at all. It’s both planning everything and nothing at all. It’s knowing what will happen and waiting for something to happen. It’s stillness and it’s noise.
Travel is not a holiday, or a weekend. It’s not a moment in time, but it is every moment in time. It’s seeing what is on your doorstep and what is far away. Even though I work full time and cannot always travel physically all the time, I am a traveller in my heart.
This is what travel means to me. What does travel mean to you?
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