There are many motivators that make people want to travel, and much of it is expressed through photography. There is something special about travel photography and its ability to move and inspire. We’ve all seen the National Geographic-style, amazing “I can’t believe it’s real” photos, but much more often it’s the candid shots of real, daily life around the world that are the most inspirational. Once again I’m participating in a post project to highlight a certain area of travel, this time it’s inspiration. The great minds over at easyJet Holidays (who named LandLopers one of their 12 Travel Blogs To Watch in 2012) want me to share the Who, What, Where and When of my travel inspiration. I was tagged in this round robin of travel inspiration by Iain Mallory, owner of the travel blog Mallory on Travel who submitted his own beautiful post on travel motivators. So, without further ado, here are the stories behind the photos and the real reasons why I travel.
Who – I was a late bloomer when it comes to social interaction on the road. Due in large part to the fact that I am not a full time traveler, but instead someone with a job who travels as time and budget allows, I used to travel in a bubble. This pristine world of travel insulation was abruptly burst when I took an amazing opportunity to travel solo around Israel for a couple weeks. The trip changed my views on a lot of things, but most importantly it changed how I approach people when I travel. One evening I was at a restaurant in Jerusalem, eating alone yet again when a nice Israeli woman and her friend invited me to join them for dinner. They saw that I was alone, overheard me talking with the waitress and wanted to meet me. What came next was the best evening I spent in Israel. We shared our life experiences, talked about the world, drank some wine and just had a really nice night. It was one of those rare travel moments that can never be created or replicated, but which simply happen organically and are true magic to experience. That evening and those kind people inspired me to be more open when I travel and to try to talk to as many new people as I can. It has forever changed the way in which I travel and life has been much richer for it.
What – Travel is usually divided into niches. Budget, luxury, adventure, sustainable, eco, family, senior, baby boomer, glamping, backpacking, flashpacking, pre-luxury, post-luxury – these are all terms and niches with which many people try to self-identify. For me, it’s not so easy. Yeah, I like luxury, but it’s not always how I travel. And adventure travel can be a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s better to just take things slow. For the ultimate in cop-out answers, I guess I am an experiential traveler. I know, I hear your eyes rolling, that’s basically everyone, but for me it’s the driving mantra of how I travel. Life is short and we don’t get many opportunities to explore the world around us. That’s why when I travel; I do everything in my power to make sure I participate in as many amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventures as I possibly can. They inspire me to keep moving, to find that next amazing thing which will remain with me for the rest of my life. It’s very much like an addict seeking their next hit, except in this case it’s trying to expand my repertoire of travel experiences so that I can better understand the world around me.
Where – Most of my childhood was spent in the mountains, first in Pennsylvania then in the Blue Ridge of Virginia. Maybe that’s the reason I’m so drawn to the ocean, inspired really by an almost primal instinct to be close to the lapping waves. I love being on the water and try to incorporate it on every trip I take. There’s nothing as fun or as soothing as listening to the waves crash or taking a boat out to explore destinations in a new and exciting way. While I love the ocean, all water inspires me for reasons unknown. I’m an Aquarius, so the horoscope watchers might blame the stars for my affliction, but personally I think it’s the easy escapism waterborne activities create. In just a few minutes you can leave behind the crazy, hectic world and enter a world that is serene and egalitarian.
When – I like to tell people that I came out of the womb with a map and a copy of National Geographic. While it’s a pithy thing to say, it’s also kind of true. Since I can remember, I have always been enamored with foreign cultures and international destinations. They captivated me as baseball or WWF wrestling captivated other kids my age. This never went away and was only heightened by the lack of wanderlust found throughout my family. I didn’t fly in a plane until I was in high school and my first non-North American travel destination was France when I was 17 years old. Even though I lacked the opportunities, I didn’t lack the desire and everything in my life has been designed to enable me to get out there and see more of this great world. Even after visiting six continents and forty countries, I am very pleased to report that my rabid desire to learn as much about the world as possible is not only still there, it’s never been more robust.
So there you go, the Who What, When and Where (why no Why?) of my travel inspiration. I’m curious to hear what has or does inspire you to travel, to explore new places. I’m also interested to read what these fellow travel bloggers have to say on the subject.