I’ve danced salsa in Havana, ridden a tuk tuk in Thailand, tracked leopards in South Africa, snowmobiled across the Arctic, felt the spray of Niagara Falls, explored the temples of Cambodia, climbed the Great Wall of China, gambled in Vegas, drunk vodka in Poland, eaten croissants in Paris and fallen in love with each place and moment in its own unique way.
There is something about the buzz of travel which has totally suckered me in. I’m like an addict always needing that next hit: I have constant itchy feet syndrome. From that moment of booking a ticket, opening a guide book, boarding a flight to breathing in the heady atmosphere of a new destination upon arrival – it’s intoxicating. Perhaps it’s the welcome of leaving your daily routine behind, conversing, laughing and smiling with strangers, treating your taste buds to new delights, navigating busy city streets, watching the sunrise and set over foreign seas, shopping for amazing trinkets you never knew you needed. As a keen photographer, I am almost ecstatic to come across something new, unusual or fleeting that I can capture and remember forever: every glimpse down the line transports you instantly back to that moment. Sometimes it is a song – that beat which seems to be the soundtrack to your trip, the book you remember reading on a long bus journey, the t-shirt you wore when you climbed to that incredible view point, the bracelet whose jingle reminds you of your hard bartering. For me, travel brings me to life.
When I think back over the years, shamefully the days have a tendency to blend into one. Yet I can conjure to mind now exactly how it felt when I first felt the heat outside Bangkok airport, saw the New York skyline so famous from the movies, and shed a tear upon seeing a wild baby elephant for the first time. Travel takes you out comfort zone and makes you feel like a child: you might not be able to read the writing, speak the language or understand the customs, yet in its own way this is part of the magic.
There is a famous quote that says travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer, and it’s true. Every day there seems to be a new temptation – a sale on flights, a new tour offering, a TV series which uncovers a new place you had never thought of, a conversation with an acquaintance singing the praises of their favourite haunt. The world is a big place and only seems to be getting bigger as my bucket list grows longer and longer. The beauty of this condition is that satisfaction can so often be found in a short break to a new European destination as an intensive trek halfway around the world – even a new city in my own country can tick the box for me.
One of my favourite things to do on holiday is go to the local supermarket. Walking up and down the aisles, wondering in amazement at some of the things on sale continues to fascinate me. It has the magic of making one of the most mundane tasks seem extraordinary. I find, when you are removed from your everyday environment, there is something to captivate and delight around each corner.
So here is to ticking more destinations off my bucket list, flying many more miles, taking thousands of photos and soaking up every single moment. Does anyone else feel the same way about travel as me? Let me know what you enjoy the most.