Motivations in Travel

On September 23rd, 2015

IMG_4295I took my first trip abroad when I was 22 and I was convinced I was going to change the world. I had always wanted to leave North America and when I finally did I was fresh out of university, ready to fix everything. I signed up with an organization and jetted off to Kenya hoping to make a dent in the AIDS crisis. I spent five months learning that I could not solve anything on my own, nor could my ambition alone make a dent in anything. My world opened up drastically and I leaned, probably too late in life, that the rest of the world had a lot more to offer me than I had to offer it.

I so enjoyed being abroad that I knew I had to travel again, but my motivations changed. Since then I’ve traveled for many reasons: adventure, friendship, escape. Each time I figure something out. I set out with my ambition, my independent spirit, and my stubbornness. Each time I come back to a home base with a new perspective and a new plan for next time; to do things better, or to completely revamp the way I approach a new trip. It’s a humbling experience and it happens in fast forward when you travel.

Most recently I set out with a partner to backpack around Southeast Asia for six months. We sold everything, we quit our jobs, we bought one-way tickets. I wanted to explore and forge a financial path for myself. I wanted to adventure together, and during our time away, I found a passion for diving, and he was ready to go home. I went to Indonesia alone.

The transition from exploration and shared adventure to pursuing a career in SCUBA diving was natural and gradual to me but to outsiders looked drastic and insane. “What do you mean you’re not coming back?!”

 Travel is a great way to shake up your life. Think you’re just visiting Koh Tao for 3 days to get a quick diving class in? Nope. Diving is now your entire life; prepare to adjust.

Maybe you’ll fall in love and start traveling with someone new. Or, perhaps a relationship will end and you’ll part ways on the road. Maybe a cultural or religious experience will shake your entire foundation and worldview. Perhaps you’ll get a degree abroad and see education in a whole new way.

Everything in life will always be changing and as we grow as travelers, as people in touch with the rest of the world, we can’t help but mature. When we grow, our reason for travel changes and that affects our next steps, our relationships, and our outlook. This is a good thing.

I’ve returned to Indonesia alone, ready for this next chapter. I can only hope that travel continues to stretch and challenge me. I just have to put one foot in front of the other with an open mind and an open heart.

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