As I plan to embark on perhaps one of my biggest adventures, my thoughts turn to how I actually got here. I’m not sure when it happened. Or whether it was something that occurred suddenly. But, I definitely have a gene in me that is wired for travel. You could say that it is in my DNA. And has been for a very long time. Am I a “traveller” by definition? Is there even such a thing?
It wasn’t always like this. Up to the age of 23, I had only ever left the country twice on overseas holidays. And both for scarcely homesick inducing periods of 1 week each. Holidaying at Butlins through my childhood, I first ventured on a plane at 17 years of age for a week in Tunisia, followed by a week in Ibiza the year after.
So what happened to me? How did I develop into this itinerant nomad? Where did my peripatetic lifestyle come from? It could probably be traced back to a chance conversation in 1993 with my old mucker, Steve. “Fancy doing a bit of travelling?”, I asked. “Where to?” was Steve’s first response” After ruling out Europe, too close, we decided on Australia, on the basis that we had heard it was “warm there isn’t it?”.
And there we were, in the departure lounge of Manchester airport, Steve’s dad carrying his rucksack, and my mum worryingly checking out my fellow passengers. Astutely noticing that many of them were of a foreign appearance, I had to remind her that was because I was flying to Bangkok, the first step on a 12 month working holiday to Australia.
Almost 20 years later, my travel cravings remain hard to satiate. Long backpacking trips around South America and much of the rest of the world just leave me returning with an always-increasing travel bucket list. I meet people who have been to corners (metaphorically speaking) of the globe that just invite exploration. Lists of must see sights and cultures.
As I plan to make the move to start a new life down under, I muse whether this will be the start of the end of my constant global wanderings, or whether it will just be another start.