I just returned from a week-long, short-notice trip to London. Work took me there but I managed to squeeze in some social and family visits between meetings. And a little shopping too 🙂
The travel bug bit me when I was very young – my parents used to take us to see my British grandparents every few years, and would make a point of stopping somewhere en route to show us a bit of the world. Childhood experiences of Amsterdam’s canals, Dutch tulips, the Eiffel Tower and the Impressionist collection at the Musee d’Orsay were just a few of the things that inspired what’s become a lifelong passion for seeing new places.
I’ve been lucky enough to have seen a pretty impressive amount of the world so far. Lucky in that I had the opportunity to live and work in London (earning pounds 🙂 ) which is a great hub for travellers. But apart from luck, travel is something I’ve prioritised. With a dream of travelling around the world, many years ago I printed off a world map and carefully drew my ‘one day’ route over it in pink highlighter. Stuck above my desk at work, it inspired me to keep going through London winters, demanding clients and office politics.
In 2004, I set off with a 14kg backpack to follow that exact route. I covered 9 countries in 3 months (yes, it was fast!) and it was possibly the most incredible time of my life. I did it solo and learnt a great deal about myself and humanity in general. Key message: people are fundamentally nice.
Travel refreshes and revives me. It helps me get perspective and feeds my soul. I can step out of my life for a while and see things differently. My normal daily stresses don’t seem so important. Travel exposes me to new people, places, cultures, foods, experiences. It broadens my mind.
I need to do it more often. Even if it is just a week in London.