People sometimes ask me "why do you travel?" I am always taken aback by a question like that as for me it is a lifestyle. And my wife and daughter enthusiastically join me in that lifestyle. But for people who do not travel it is a legitimate question. So here then are my top seven reasons why I travel.
1) I enjoy discovering new places and cultures
Whether it is a walking trail in South America, an ancient ruin in the Middle East, or a museum in Europe, discovering new places is exciting. I get a kick out of travelling to new places, not always knowing what to expect, and be surprised by the unexpected. When I went to Iran a few years back it was Persepolis I came to see. But it was the beauty of Isfahan, the hospitality of the people and staying in an old caravanserai in the desert that were equally highlights for me.
2) Travelling fosters understanding
I have told the story of my travels in Iran to anyone who wants to hear it (the short version is that I got the Royal treatment, the long version is here) - had I stayed at home I might still believe that Iranians are scary people. Check out the photo above and see me share a joyful moment with my Iranian hosts.
Equally, did you know that "Going Dutch" is about as far from the truth as it can be? But you would never know unless you travelled to Holland (or took me (who is of Dutch extraction) out for a beer).
Truth is, travelling fosters understanding and brings people closer together. It allows people to get to know each other in person rather than reading about stereotypes in the media.
3) I enjoy the freedom
Travelling is freedom. If you do it right you leave work behind, you will be away from every day troubles, from your cell phone and email and you have the freedom to choose where you want to go. But the freedom goes deeper than that - it relates back to my previous two points where surprises lie around every bend in the road and the people you meet allow you the freedom to interact in ways you would otherwise not experience.
4) I enjoy meeting other travellers
I often travel overseas on small-group tours simply because I enjoy meeting new people and finding out about what goes on in their lives. The debate about Brexit was raging in the UK when I ran in to Clive who stood squarely on the other side of the divide. Making time to hear his point of view was refreshing and enlightening to say the least. And in the photo above my two fellow travellers are from Papua New Guinea and Australia - each person has such interesting stories to tell!
5) I love trying new food
Exploring and enjoying good food is almost a spiritual experience for me. The freshest of sushi in Japan was a revelation to someone who grew up on Captain Iglo fish sticks. A spectacular biryani dish had me come back to the same restaurant in Kerala, India, over and over again.
And as my friend Richard (who imports wine and is true connoisseur) knows so well, pair food with a great wine and you have me hook, line and sinker.
6) I appreciate what you have
Anyone recognize this? You come home after a trip to a developing country and are amazed there is water coming out of your tap? No matter how much I love to travel, when I come back I am always grateful for what I have - a home, a family, friends and a great city to live in.
7) It is a professional habit...
I have been blessed to have travelled to nearly 100 countries and I don't plan to stop any time soon. I love what I do and travelling allows me to share my personal experience with travellers like you. I have built a thriving business on that premise.
What are your reasons to travel? Please drop me a line and let me know!