"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
Intrigue - That has to be the single aspect of life that is the biggest driving force in my desire to travel. I am completely mesmerized, utterly diluted, and hopelessly in love with the ideas of how people live, work, and play around the world. I have loose shells of ideas on how people live around the world, and quite honestly, and sure I am almost completely wrong with my theories. My desire to sharpen or destroy these ideas pushes my to crave seeing more and more of the world every day.
I want to see how and what Mongolians eat for breakfast. I want to gain at least some insight into the lives of the Argentinian gaucho. I want to see the details of the delivery routes among the dabbawalas in Mumbai. I am so interested in the ins-and-outs of peoples daily lives, historical places of significant that they hold dear, and the traditions that are still practiced that I would be willing to literally get up and walk away from the comforts and security of my daily life in order to pursue this goal full time. That's not likely to happen any time soon, but the thought seems to hit me by about 9:15 every morning.
Karen and I often talk about traveling, we tell our friends about the places we want to go see, the foods we want to sample, and the people we want to commune with. We make lists, study maps, and dream about plane flights, road trips, and motorcycle trips (the latter is a solo interest of mine only). We tell strangers of our latest plans, consult coworkers for ideas of must-see attractions, and scour websites for out-of-the-way destinations in our latest goal.
We also come into contact with people that have no idea why we would want to visit Egypt or Malaysia, people who've never been out of the country, or even state, and have no intention of ever obtaining a visa. We talk with people who's only foreign experience is likely to be the crappy Mexican restaurant down the street, the place that they have the option of ordering a cheeseburger and fries; people who are just as likely to visit the Strait of Magellan as they are to voluntary have teeth pulled. We don't understand these people, and we are fine with that.
Mark Twain once wrote "nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people." I think that perhaps even more important than expanding kindly nature of man, travel allows us to see that wherever you visit, people generally are kind, loving and sharing in nature. Casting aside religion and political beliefs, every person on this planet has some basic goals in their own life and it's often easy to forget this. Traveling and interacting with people brings these common desires back into view for those of us that have been surrounded by the things we need and want for our entire lives. Seeing the hardships, and even more importantly, the passionate, sharing, and kind heated nature of our fellow man, especially those that we cannot speak a common language, share a common religion, or even a basic form of government allows us to look beyond our differences and see each other as basically good people.
My own desire to travel is often driven by my desire to see beautiful things in nature, strange corners of the world, and the harsh beauty of poverty stricken life. Can you imagine seeing the great pyramids of Egypt? The incredible Moai stones of Easter Island? Those things are easy to imagine visiting, but what about the poverty stricken ghetto's of Rio? The dirty but vibrant streets of Delhi? Even those mysterious places hold a great deal of wonder to these eyes.
All of these reasons, and many, many more, are part of the driving force behind my desire to travel and see as much of the world as I can. The desire, almost longing need, to experience as much of as many cultures, religions, foods, and lifestyles as I can throughout my life is often difficult to understand, but omnipresent. The willingness to give up comfort and security in order to experience not only different aspects of life but indeed even hardships that I do not have to in order to see just a glimpse into the true variety of the planet at large has become a larger presence even as my life has become more secure and more comfortable.
Here's to a long life filled with the experiences that you seek!