I miss travel. Travel is in my veins. When I was two years of age my parents took me on my first overland trip from England to Malta. When I was 13 I went on my first trip abroad without my parents (a skiing trip to Romania with my school). At 17 I went skiing again with a friend and at 21 I did my first long haul trip. For most of my adult life, I have visited at least one new country a year. Not to put a tick on a list because I genuinely wanted to visit that destination. Like for most travel addicts the more I travelled the more the wanderlust grew. As we enter our second year of travel disruptions here are the 8 things I miss about travel.
The number 1 reason why I love to travel so much is learning about new cultures. There is no better way to learn about a destination than from the people who live there. I have had many memorable experiences getting to know locals on my travels. Early highlights include getting so drunk with a German Policeman in Austria that it made us miss our evening skiing session. Another amazing experience was having a few wild nights in California with people I met in Santa Cruz. More recently we have been invited into people’s homes for dinner and even a few funeral invites! Meeting people on my travels made me realise that we have more in common than we think.
If meeting people is my number one choice, food comes in at a close second. In fact, they kind of have a symbiotic relationship. We often make friends with people in restaurants, bars or street food stands. Food and sport are great ways to break down barriers. I am so glad that we live in a city where we have access to world cuisine. It doesn’t stop me from pining for Laksa from Malaysia, Tacos from Mexico or Hoppers from Sri Lanka though.
I am a super organised person. From my wardrobe to my desk everything is in its right place. The one area where I purposely leave to chance is travel. Over the years I have discovered that the best travel experiences happen when you least expect them. On our 18-month backpacking trip, we decided to visit South Korea on a whim. (Those were the days!). In Seoul, we couchsurfed for the first time and had a brilliant time with our hosts Sunny and Yoon. I am missing that vibe of not knowing where I am going or understanding the language.
The Wow Factor
The Wow Factor can happen anywhere. You don’t need to be abroad to experience it. It generally happens when we are in our most relaxed state. So being on holiday sets us up for it. Wow factors are rare but studies have shown that when we experience them we get a sense of being connected to everything around us. It has happened to me watching the sunset on the sand dunes in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. I also experienced the wow factor the first time I saw Stonehenge in England. Sitting with Orangutans in Sumatra, Indonesia was also a massive wow experience. Netflix is good but not that good!
The Travel Part of Travel
I miss long-distance train journeys, bumpy bus rides, island hopping on boats and dodgy taxi drivers. I even miss airports. Most of our trips involve travelling within a country. The transport is either a train or a bus. These journeys can take hours. I didn’t realise how much I would miss them but I do. When you travel within a country you get to meet locals away from the tourist trail. You also get to eat in places off the radar. Time also slows down so you can finally listen to that podcast or audiobook. The travel part of travel lets you just be.
Hotels and Hotel Breakfasts
I love cooking at home. I cook for Karen and me most nights and I find it very therapeutic. If there was one meal that I would want cooking for me every morning it would be breakfast. I love hotel breakfasts. Waking up and having a delicious spread in front of you is a great way to start the day. I also love staying in hotels and hostels. Even after all these years of travel, I love the joy of checking into a hotel and seeing if the room is as good as the photos.
Applying For Visas
This one is a surprise even for me. In an ideal world, we would never need a visa to explore our home planet. There are no borders on Planet Earth when you look down at it from space. I have to admit though, I am missing the whole visa application thing. Applying for a visa generally means you are going on a long haul trip which is always exciting. Most embassies are in London so I take our passports myself. Normally, the embassy is in a beautiful grand building so you get to see how the ambassadors live. A day out at the embassy would get me excited at the moment!
You can’t miss home unless you leave it. We used to travel for the first 2 to 3 months of the year to avoid British winters. On the last week of our trip, our minds would turn back towards our life in London. We would be excited to see our families, cat, home and friends. We would be booking festivals, gigs and theatre. Being home all the time has taken that excitement away.
This post was originally published on globalhelpswap.