As our next travel out into the big world fast approaches, I have been doing a lot of soul searching as to why Dave and I travel so much.
Once the honeymoon period is over, after we have seen our friends and family and after we are successfully back at our jobs, we instantly start feeling the need to leave.
Why We Travel
We loved every move at first, but quickly became tired of the routine. I was talking to my friend yesterday and had this epiphany. Even though we haven’t always been travellers, we have always been movers.
As soon as college was over, we moved to Toronto without a plan, then we moved to Vancouver without a plan, we moved back to Toronto on a whim and bought a house faster than most people buy a new car or television.
Selling Our House
We sold that house and went to Asia for 8 months and then we moved back only to start planning our next stage in life.
It is a question we have been asked quite a few times in our life.
The answer to this question is not something that comes off the cuff but one that comes from looking inward.
Over the past 10 years, we have travelled more than most. While other people are content to put down roots, see their friends regularly and take their yearly vacations and getaways, we always feel the need to keep moving.
I think that putting down roots is a great thing, don’t get me wrong. Many times while we are travelling, we discuss how nice it would be to go home and find the perfect place to live out our days.
We're excited to see our friends and family and maybe this set of travels will finally get travelling out of our system. When we get home, maybe we'll buy a place in the country and live out our days in harmony.
Can't stop exploring
But every time we come home, we feel differently.
Even now, when we have slowed our travels down, got a place in Toronto there is always this nagging feeling in the back of our minds that pushes us to get out and travel. I know that some of that is due to the pressure to keep the business going, and travelling is a big part of that, but I also know that this is something that has been inside us for a long time.
You know that feeling right? When you think that for some reason you need to justify something that people just don't understand. Like you have to explain why it is you do something? Well, I think a lot of people have been in this situation at one point in their life or another.
By forcing ourselves to answer the question “why?” I think we can better explain to others the inspiration and drive behind why we do what we do.
So, Why Do We Travel?
This is something that is just not summed up in one sentence. The answer is made up of many reasons and in order to find the full answer to this question, we had to look back on our life choices. And a pattern emerged.
When we first met way back in the early 90’s we immediately decided that we should move to Vancouver and have an adventure after spending less than a year in Toronto after college.
We sold what little possessions we had at the time and off we went with a guitar and two suitcases. We landed at the airport without a plan, but we were definitely excited.
That was the start of things to come. Even when we do manage to stay in a city for almost 3 years as we did in Vancouver, we still needed change. We changed our career paths in Vancouver, both joining the booming film business.
But most important in understanding our psyche, we changed apartments. We always seem to need to keep changing. The apartment that we moved to wasn’t necessarily better or even in a better location, we just felt the need to change and move.
Reason #1: We are driven by change.
After we became bored with everything that Vancouver had to offer, we moved back to Toronto to start to rebuild our lives again. We had to integrate ourselves into the Toronto film business which is a little insane considering things were just starting to take off in Vancouver for us. But things worked out.
Reason #2: We are motivated by a challenge
I think that Dave and I thrive on challenges. We enjoy starting over fresh and reinventing our lives.
We enjoy having to work hard and set goals to succeed and the minute we become too comfortable or relaxed in our surroundings, we become antsy.
We moved back to Toronto in 1996 and up until we became full-time travellers, we moved 8 times. One of those times we decided to move out of the city to buy a house up north and try something new, another was spending the summer at my parents trailer after coming home from our travels in Africa.
One of our biggest challenges was leaving our jobs in the film industry, cycling the continent of Africa and starting this blog. We had been in our jobs for 15 years, had no cycling experience and had no idea whether a blog could be a career.
These all posed significant challenges for us but we rose to the challenge. It brought out the best in us. When we are faced with something that seems crazy or insurmountable we charge towards it rather than run the other way.
When I look at the way we travel and where we travel there is always something that challenges us. And that is what keeps us going and fuels that fire to explore new places and take on new things that push us out of our comfort zone.
Travel keeps us Moving
We travel because we have always needed to be on the move. We are two people that need change. We have always found that with each new move, our lives improve immensely and we have become so accustomed to change now that when we sit still for too long we easily become a little blue.
Yes, we have taken up hobbies, a lot of them. We join groups and work at becoming better at certain sports and activities, but we seem to thrive on change more. Going to the same gym day after day or riding the same bike route or running the same boardwalk doesn’t cut it for either of us.
Luckily we have grown and changed throughout the years together in our lifestyle as opposed to growing apart and even though our choices seem strange to others, we love how we live.
The Draw of Travel is Strong
It has taken its toll on friendships. When two people take off every chance that they get, of course our friends will go on with their lives and make new friends and find new interests. We have found that we only have a handful left and we do yearn for a circle of friends that we can feel at ease with. But the draw of leaving is stronger.
So Why do We Travel Again and Again?
I guess that there are certain people in this world that are just explorers through and through. While people tend to judge travellers as being flaky and irresponsible, some of the greatest people in history were explorers and travellers.
Marco Polo traveled for 24 years and Ibn Battuta traveled for over 30 years. Christopher Columbus explored the world for years and Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway seemed to be on the move their entire life trying new things, exploring new worlds and moving to new places.
We feel more alive when we are traveling. Especially when we push ourselves to the limits like cycling a continent or climbing a mountain. When we are sleeping in rustic cabins or tents or when we are hiking through the jungle, there is a sense of truly living, a sense of becoming one with the earth. When we are watching a glorious sunset or exploring an ancient ruin, we feel at peace.
We Travel Because it makes us feel alive.
I only wish that my friends and family would come and experience what we have. Leaving our possessions behind, meeting new people, exploring new places and trying new adventures has become what life is all about for Dave and I. Until someone goes on their own similar journey they will never understand where we are coming from and why we do what we do.
All we know is that it makes us happy and isn’t that what life is all about?
Week in Review, Counting Down to Travel