Hard to believe it’s already March – I thought Christmas was just last week…? At least, it sure felt that way!
12 months ago today, we arrived back in Australia after backpacking in S.E. Asia for just 6 short, but 6 incredible weeks. Ever since then we’ve been dreaming of, and talking about “our next big trip.” We’re obsessed; we love to travel. Why?… here are our Top 10 Picks for ‘Our Reasons for Travel:’
1. Culture! – We’re culture buffs, and we love to get in amongst the local culture, traditions and customs. We love learning about different cultures and the way of life for people in different countries. Asia is so exciting in this respect – there is so much to learn and discover, and to appreciate and admire when it comes to learning about and experiencing culture. We love to simply ‘people watch’ – it gives incredible insight into the day-to-day lives of people, and it teaches us something.
2. Food! – We are wanna-be Asian chefs; anyone who looks at the cookbooks in our bookshelf, the ‘Asian Food’ section in our pantry, or at Jake’s ever-growing herb garden, will quickly realise this. We LOVE Asian food – the herbs and spices, the sauces and aromas, the cooking methods, the foreign looking vegetables and other things we probably aren’t pronouncing correctly, but add to our dishes anyway…
We love to eat where the locals do, sample hawker foods, participate in cooking classes, and eat the local specialties. We’re food obsessed; we feel it’s a big part of experiencing a country’s culture and way of life, and it’s really important to us that we try (almost everything…) when given the opportunity.
3. New Perspectives! When we first travelled to Asia, both of us grossly underestimated how life-changing it would, and can be. But of course it’s not just in Asia – travel anywhere has the ability to give people a new perspective; ‘open your eyes’ so to speak. It isn’t until we experience situations, or witness events that alter us, and affect us in some way, that our perspective is changed; and usually, this is a really positive experience!
4. Learning Experiences! – How much have we learned from travelling? So much; and what we have learned is invaluable; it’s not stuff you can read in text books, or learn in lecture theatres. A lot of the time, it’s not things you can learn by being told by someone else. It’s the people you meet and the things you do yourself, experience yourself, witness yourself, and achieve yourself, that teach you. It’s those life experiences that you learn from, that hold you in good stead for the rest of your life.
5. New Experiences! – Cliche? Yes, but oh so true. How often in your life can you watch the sun rise over ancient temples, or eat heart stew and rice at a local’s house in Laos? It’s not that often I’ve been able to dance with the Khmers on the river banks of Phnom Penh, or that Jake has got to drink beer with his tuk-tuk driver and their extended family. We’ve seen down pours of rain that have caused Phnom Penh flood in a matter of minutes, and ran through the streets of Bangkok with water up to our thighs. We’ve eaten street food that was incredible, and street food that made us sick. We’ve watched monk processions, and lit incense at memorials.
Whatever we’ve done, we’ve tried to make the most of it, appreciate it, and remember the experience for what it was.
6. Meeting New People and Making New Friends! – We are social people. We love meeting new people; be it new friends for the evening, the week, the month, or for life. We love talking with the locals, communicating (or trying to) with silly faces and exaggerated hand gestures. Bartering over the price of fruit at the wet markets, or chatting over a beer with our new” house mates” in our dorm rooms. People are so interesting, and the more you talk to them, the more you learn about them, yourself, and the world. We’re going travelling together, but we’re also going with many, many friends… we just haven’t met them yet!
7. Adventure! – We love a good thrill. We (usually) don’t mind getting a bit lost in a maze of little alley ways and old town squares, as long as there are interesting people to watch, beautiful buildings to be seen, and interesting sights on display. Be it zip lining through the tree tops, or getting caught in the masses at a local bazar, we can’t wait for new and exciting adventures.
8. History and Architecture! – We love to learn about the history of the countries we are travelling in, and marvel at the architecture. When we learn more about the history of the place we are in, we feel we can better appreciate where it has come from and where it is now. Not only do we gain insight into the country, but also about its culture, food, way of life, it’s people, beliefs, and – about the architecture!
9. Challenges! – Travel challenges you; physically, emotionally and mentally. You are often pushed to your limits or put into uncomfortable, awkward or challenging situations. These can be character building and help you to grow as a person. In the past, being pushed to our limits travelling has had some incredible positives, and been the base for some amazing experiences! We like challenges! (Most of the time!)
10. Facing Fears! – There are things we’ve done while traveling that have scared us. And then we got through them. It all comes back to learning experiences, and facing your fears and coming out the other side, better than you were before. (You hope!) There are things about our upcoming trip that scare us, but maybe it’s because we’re frightened of the unknown. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be really rewarding, and that is exciting.
What are your reasons for travel?