I love to travel and I am sure many people out there are just as into travelling as I am. But, have you ever stop and wondered what is with this obsession with travelling?
For me, the meaning of travelling has been evolving over the years.
When I was younger, I do not really spend much time with my parents as they were both working. Travelling would mean that I would have my parents for the entire week or so, bonding and spending quality time together. It didn’t matter where we went and all I cared about was the chance to spend the entire day with my family.
During my schooling years, peer pressure fed my desire to travel more. After every school holidays, friends around me would be talking about the interesting places that they had visited during the holidays and the desire to see all these mentioned places with my very own eyes became the motivation for my travels. The need to tick off the checklist of places to visit would became the main mission and ultimately determine the places that I would travel to. It was like a treasure hunt and there would be a great sense of accomplishment as more of the checklists were ticked off.
When I started working, travelling became a way for me to escape from the mundane routine of work. I would travel at regular intervals (ie every 4-6 months) and these trips would act as a way for me to recharge and prepare myself for the next wave of stress and challenges to be faced at work. During this period of time, the places that I chose to visit would be those that offers scenic views that calms the mind, abundance of delicious food to fuel the body and variety of shops that I can shop to my hearts contents - basically places where I can let loose and enjoy the freedom.
Now that I am staying in Europe and having more time to myself, travelling to me has taken yet another new form and meaning. It was only when I slowed down my pace of life and started having time to think through my life journey that I realized that I had not learned much from the travels that I had done previously. If I am asked about the culture and history of the places that I had travel thus far, I would not have much to say. because all this while, I had been too focused on following the strict itinerary of buying the things that I wanted to buy, taking a selfie in front of the main tourist attraction places without making an effort to know more about those places, eating the food that I had wanted to and embracing the freedom of roaming about carefree in another country.
It was with this realisation that my motivation to travel started to change - I wanted to know more about the world, to learn about the different cultures and way of life as well as to experience the different cuisines all over the world. In order to do so, I had to be flexible with my itinerary, to slow down the pace of my travels, to observe and learn, to interact with the locals, to eat where the locals eat and to walk where the locals go.
After spending a good few years here in Europe and with this new style of travelling in place, I wouldn't say that I have the full understanding of the way of life in different countries in Europe, but I am now able to appreciate and embrace the different cultures and lifestyle in the various European countries that I have been to. Observing our surroundings from the eyes of the locals had certainly changed my perspective on many things and had made travelling even more interesting than ever!
So, what does travelling mean to you at different stages of your life?