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Speak Out: Why Do You Travel?

Every traveler has a moment like this one. I’d been hanging around Paris for a few weeks and decided to explore the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. After climbing every single step to the top and wandering through the cathedral itself, I was ready to park myself in a café for a while. As I plunked back down the stairs, worn out and bedraggled, a familiar song caught my ears.

“Country roads…take me home…to the place…I belong…West Virginia.”

I wandered over to two young Frenchman playing acoustic guitars and joined in signing a wacky tribute to the late, great John Denver. It was a silly moment, to be sure, but one in which the world felt both stranger than ever before–and yet shared.

Currently the New York Times is running a piece called “Why We Travel.” Unfortunately, the globetrotters polled only address why they went on a particular trip. But it did get me thinking about my reasons in general, and so now I ask all of you: why do you travel?

Do you go to learn about cultures other than your own? Or is it, in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary, “Because it is there”? Do you see yourself as an ambassador, taking your culture to other parts of the world, or do you go to lend a hand to regions in need? Or perhaps you have an addiction to posh hotels, a passion for tracking down culinary treats, or just can’t sit still?

For me, I travel to feel outside of my familiar self. In other countries facing brand-new situations, my behavior can surprise even me. Plus, I love to learn how other people in the world think.

Alison

My name: Alison Presley

Nickname: Presbo, because I'm good police.

How I earn my keep: I'm the manager of Travelocity's Travel for Good program. Visit Travel for Good to learn more about our green travel and voluntourism initiatives!

What kind of traveler am I: I'm an intrepid food explorer. I usually starve myself on the plane (not that that's too hard to do) so that the moment my toes touch foreign soil I'm ready to sample new and exciting cuisine. I like to dine everywhere from hole-in-the-wall local secrets to Michelin Guide gems. Cannelés, poi, boiled peanuts, oxtail soup, poutine--there's no stopping this adventurous palate.

Greatest travel lesson I've learned: It doesn't cost a lot of money to do good. Offsetting your carbon impact only adds a few bucks to your trip, green hotels are very affordable, and volunteering locally during your vacation is a great way to give back and learn about the culture.

Comments

NB
Reply

It’s funny, I always think I’m going to relax when I’m on vacation but I always end up so excited to be in a new place that I turn into a madman, go places nonstop, never really relax, and return home completely exhausted. But I always have a good time.

Business Travel Logue
Reply

OMG, I LOVE that song! That was our theme song on a Habitat for Humanity trip I took in Thailand. No, John Denver isn’t the reason I travel, but the song brings back a lot of great memories.

Why do I travel? I guess it’s my nomadic Norwegian ancestry…

Michelle
Reply

I travel to learn; to indulge curiosities; and to be introduced to a variety of cultures, ideas, and worlds (and to see how deeply similar those worlds really are, when it comes down to it). But if I’m being truthful, I think I also travel largely for the sense of escape it brings: for once, the only thing of concern is what’s directly in front of me. I love being immersed in one moment and one place.

Petr Kaplan
Reply

Travel is a great opportunity for each of us. If we only had more time and money. If you asked anybody you know what would they do if they had more time and budget wouldn’t be an issue? Travel, travel all the time. Why? Everytime you turn on your TV you see places historical creations, you read a book or you’ve learned in school that there’s more than you could think of.
But reality is that you struggle with your time and it really doesn’t matter how much money you make, because you need to stay in your work place in order to make them to live better. Better? Is it really a better choice for you?
I was born in Prague Czech Republic. What a beautiful historical city, filled with a great stories. You will forget all the trouble in the world while walking down the street with your significant other or family and friends. Boy I love that city. The problem is time.
I don’t have a time.
so I started looking for a solution. And I found one.
Friend told me how to do it and now my vacations become my business. My work goes where I go because I learned how. It’s simple and it is what I want to do for rest of my life.
I travel, talk about travel, teach others about travel and I don’t have to have to get in the morning as early as I used to.

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