What does travelling mean for you?

I headed to my local this morning for one last breakfast before I hit the road again to yet another town. There was an old frail looking gentleman crouched on the stool smoking a cigarette reading none other than the West Africa Lonely Planet. After ordering I naturally sat next to him and enquired where he was from and what he was doing. He was from Japan. He spoke some English and no French. He didn't seem too interested in talking. Nevertheless I persevered and soon enough I found out he was travelling through Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina and Niger to visit their respective World Heritage sights, and then off to Italy (which has over 40!) He told me there are 900 odd listed in the world, and he had seen about 400 so far. It was his passion. For him, that is what his travel was about. It got me thinking just how different people's idea's, philosophies and goals are when it comes to travelling. So, what does travelling mean for me you ask? For me, I have never been one to have much interest in visiting 'sights' as such. Unless it's a must see like the Pyramids or the Taj, otherwise you can leave it. Also (like my Japanese friend) I prefer to travel solo. I rarely travel with a group (truth be told I am hard work!) and being that I'm usually travelling 'on a shoe string' I have to avoid spending my evenings getting drunk. Don't get me wrong I have spent more than a few drunken nights stumbling around (Kashgar 07, Dahab, Tbilisi 2008 comes to mind, just to name a few!) and great memorable times were had. For me however, travelling is about meeting the locals, pushing my boundries of comfort and of course taking photo's. There is nothing I love more than arriving in a strange town, walking in a random direction to find a place to sleep and then heading out with my camera. I have talked with thousands of faces from all over the globe and for me, these are the memories I will treasure most when I look back in the years to come. Through these faces I have to come realise that in fact the world, and it's people, are beautiful. So, what is your idea/philosophy of travel? Don't be shy, we would love to hear! 🙂


10 Responses to “What does travelling mean for you?”

  1. Bobby
    July 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Sam,

    Your Blog keeps me in touch with you and your travels. Keep traveling and keep writing. To me, Travel is knowing what’s there beyond the backyard. It could be my neighbor’s house, or it could be America 🙂 That keeps me going.

  2. July 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Thanks Bobby – I intend to keep moving on the road, and hope to pay you a visit again in Kolkata (or America?) and yes you are right. Essentially travel is all about curiosity… Wanting to know what’s around the corner. Thanks for the message, and as always I will be following your great images on http://www.washedwall.com/ 🙂

  3. laurie
    July 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    Sometimes you travel with a book. I’m a dreamer, and some book just took me far away. Then you want to make the story true. Maybe not the story, but the feelings you had reading the book. My first travel was in India, and the book which took me along this way was “flash”. Not because of the artificial paradise, but because of just India. I couldn’t really explain, but it was a little bit like an obsession. And the first time, I arrived in India, I knew it wouldn’t be the last page of the book but just the beginning of a long story !!!! travelling is feeling dursty, hungry of life, you discover eyesight, the touch, hearing, everything you already knew, but you didn’t know to use as well. And then you just stop to dream, you live. And as you friend said, you are curious about meeting everyone because you are sure it would be a nice suprise. Yes, travelling is to surprise you every days. And very fast comes the feeling, that the world can contain this contradiction : it’s sooooo BIG, but although so next to you ; )
    It’s very nice to read your trips, and although makes me travelling ; )

  4. July 28, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Laurie you comment in amazing! I can fully relate to what you have said. India especially seems to have some magic attached to it. The people, the sights, smells, the food.. the list is endless.. I remember dreaming in 2004 spending 6 months in Nepal. It took some sacrifices, as anything good does but I’m so glad I had the courage to go through with it, and I haven’t looked back since. The world and it’s people are amazing, yet the more one travels, the more one realises just how small we are. I will keep moving and keep hoping the words you speak continue to ring true! 😉 Oh, btw. Have you read ‘Shantaram’. It’s a book which is good for dreaming and fulfilling one’s fantasies, a must read.
    Thanks for your comment, and glad you enjoy reading my trips, makes me very happy! 🙂

  5. July 30, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    My idea of traveling is just doing something different. Going to a place I have never been before, meeting people that I would never meet in my own comfort zone. Travels never fail to throw up some surprise that makes you think or act different and changes your outlook on life. I like to think that one day i will understand life, but there is no chance I suppose. Until then trying to grasp as much as possible will ensure that I am a happy woman on my death bed.

  6. July 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    I agree with what you have to say Natalie, especially about how travel changes your outlook on life. Travelling can really open your eyes to so many things it’s hard not to be effected and changed by it, especially when travelling in the third world. One takes for granted just being able to breath freely and eat enough to keep going. Through my travels I’ve learnt to appreciate the smaller things in life, things that we, coming from the West rarely take into consideration… As for understanding life? Well, it must take a lifetime! but there’s no harm in trying! 🙂 I suppose the best we can hope for is an understanding of how our life fits into this crazy world, and go from there… Thanks for your message! 🙂

  7. laurie
    July 31, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    “shantaram” I didn’t know ! but seems to be very good !!! would be my next book !!! Now I’m just reading “Africa trek” ; )

  8. angela
    August 11, 2011 at 5:22 am #


  9. August 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    travelling for me is just the same as what youve said… arriving in a foreign place and exploring it… visiting markets is also one of my favorite thing to do… i love seeing a variety of unique stuff… lately ive been travelling slowly and taking my time to just enjoy the place… sometimes a month in one place is not enough and i end up going back…

  10. August 31, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Yes I know what you mean Flip, my favourite memories of places have always been the ones I stayed longer in. In my experience it’s always the people you meet that makes it hard to leave, and easy to go back to. I spent 4 months in Cape Coast, Ghana mainly due the fantastic people I met, and I will be back again, inshallah! 🙂

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