For most of my travel years, I’ve been a Europhile and a Londonphile. Travel meant hopping on a train for a day trip outside London, the Eurostar for Paris or a short plane ride to Venice. Then one day I ventured further as I hopped on a plane to Istanbul, then Morocco and my idea of travel changed. There was more than cathedrals, castles and people who looked like me. My curious mind went into overdrive and I loved every minute of the places I was experiencing. I looked at the world differently and wondered what have I been missing?
One more step took me to The Maldives and an island so remote I felt as if I had entered another world. I’m not sure I loved the Maldives, though I liked the idea of being far far away from the world I knew. The Maldives were my first taste of Asia. The experience intrigued me enough to explore more.
A year later I flew LAX to Tokyo and I was transported into a land and culture I immediately fell in love with. My next stop was Bangkok and my affinity grew stronger. Bhutan melted my heart and touched my soul, then I began a love affair with Bali that I’m sure will ever end.
I set this story up now because there are many Asia adventures ahead for this blog. Travel is a progression of sorts. You first go see the sights, then you find there is genuine life away from home and a huge family waiting to welcome you. This is true in all parts of the world. Travel is an education unlike anything found in a textbook.
Everyone learns something different from travelling. When I say travelling, I mean anywhere away from your hometown; any place where no one knows your name.
There are three important factors for me when I travel. One, I mostly travel solo. I learn the most and I have the most interesting experiences when I’m on my own. Two, I leave behind my American and Western way of thinking when I travel; otherwise, I’d be shocked in most places I visit. Three, I travel slow and deep rather than furiously collect passport stamps. I want to touch the souls of the cultures I visit and I want to fully understand them.
When I meet my own criteria for travel, I undoubtedly am in for a travel experience of a lifetime.
How do you approach your own travel adventures?
When did you realize travel is more than a destination?
Destination: Thailand, Tokyo, Bhutan and Bali