To fear travel or not to fear travel? To paraphrase Hamlet that is indeed the question.
Over the years I have had the opportunity to travel widely for pleasure and work. Growing up in New Zealand you are truly in the back of beyond. Happily I had a Dutch father and relatives in Holland which always excited my imagination. At the age of 14, I left school and for 3 years I saved furiously. Once I had enough money saved I booked a ticket to Holland and ended up in the small village of Beringe.
Travel enables you to do a lot of firsts. My first big trip to Holland enabled me to see my Dutch relatives for the first time, snow, eat raw herrings, celebrate carnival and learn to speak Dutch. The 2 years I spent in Holland were enjoyable and awakened the travel bug in me for life.
I am too scared to travel
Travelling will get you out of your comfort zone. Many people spend a lifetime not getting out of their comfort zone. Over the years I have met many people who for various reasons wanted to travel but in the end have stayed nearer to home. The main reasons range from financial, family and fear of the unknown. Fear has a habit of becoming a habit and the media today has an important role in stoking that fear. Bad things do happen but they can happen at home or abroad.
I chose to travel because I love it and not to tick off all the great wonders of the world or to broaden my mind.
I do not know if travel broadens the mind, I seriously doubt it after 35 years of going back and forth between Europe, NZ, living in Holland, backpacking through SE Asia, China, Egypt and India – all before the internet.
Travel will create lasting memories: be it a sunset over the Sinai desert, seeing the end of the great wall of China or walking along the Seine between the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame in the early morning. Memories are wonderful treasures and they are something no-one can take away from you.
Last year we spent a gap year going around the world, making some wonderful memories, meeting wonderful people and seeing some amazing sights. Did it broaden my mind? No. Was I scared only a few times in New Orleans and some dodgy driving in India? Yes. What I do have now are some great memories and experiences. Best one swimming with a baby manatee for half an hour in Florida. Another one was our recent visit in New Zealand to Zealandia.
I travel because I am curious and like to see new places. You may want to travel to see the seven wonders of the world be it the Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower. Everyone has different goals. You may want to learn a new language or try a cuisine you love in the country it was invented. Vietnam springs to mind for me and the great food we had during our trip.
What’s stopping you?
If its money then you can travel on a limited budget. We did and had a ball. If its fear, what is that fear, being robbed, getting sick or missing home. In terms of crime that can happen anywhere and if you take precautions it is preventable. We were mugged in Athens by bag snatchers. Lost a passport, credit cards and a handbag. No one was hurt and we are still here and we managed to have an amusing story of how my wife got back into the UK without a passport at Gatwick airport with no problems at all.
Getting sick, well I have had countless bouts of food poisoning on my travels for work and pleasure. On the last years trip I, miraculously, did not get sick once and of course we had a first aid kit with antidotes for the dreaded Delhi belly. If you miss home well they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder.
I recommend go travelling it may not broaden your mind but you will have fun. You will meet friendly people and you will see some amazing sights and more importantly you will have memories to cherish and look back at the adventures you experienced. The best experience I have had travelling is meeting my future wife Debbie in Brighton. If I had never travelled I would not have met the love of my life. So what are you waiting for?