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.
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.