Personally, I love spending on travel – In fact, I save a sizeable amount every month so I can take at least one big trip a year.
And from my conversations with friends and colleagues, most Singaporeans share my obsession for travel.
Few things evoke a bigger “waaaaaaahhhhhh so shiookkkkk!!” response than posting your travel pictures on Facebook. Office conversations usually start off with, “So, are you going anywhere this December?” As a nation, we’re crazy about travelling. Why?
- Maybe it’s because we live on a tiny island so we get bored easily
- Maybe it’s because we want CHEAP SHOPPING
- Maybe it’s because we can’t wait to get away from the office
But let’s dig a little deeper. WHY do we travel? WHAT makes the idea of going to a distant land so attractive?
Here are 3 reasons why I love travelling:
Because It’s An Adventure
When I was in college, I went on a backpacking trip to Mexico and Guatemala. For some reason, we assumed that backpacking = live below the poverty line, so we did everything super cheaply.
One evening, we ate cup noodles for dinner ($0.60) because we were too cheap to buy a meal. Then we bought milk and a generic big pack of cereal ($1.20) for breakfast, and used the cup noodles cup to hold the milk and the cereal. It was kind of greasy (and gross).
Aside from the fact that we lived like homeless people, it was fun. We climbed ruins and squeezed into chicken buses. We stumbled through the streets of Antigua at 6am looking for a cheap hostel. We crossed the Mexico-Gauatemala border on foot, which was swarming with fat money changers holding wads of cash. On a Mexican beach, we found ourselves surrounded by scary dudes armed with rifles who wanted to rob us. (I think – I couldn’t understand them so we ran away)
This single trip created dozens of wonderful stories we still laugh about 9 years later.
It was such a great trip because we never knew what was gonna happen next, so we had to constantly think of (cost-effective) ways to survive. And we went back to college appreciating small things like a hot shower and our own rooms.
Because It Gives Us Time To Savour Life
I sometimes flew First and Business Class for work. It’s an amazing, life-changing experience: From eating laksa in a London lounge, having caviar and vodka for lunch, having an amazing sleep on a full-flat bed and waking up to an expresso, there’s something magical about premium travel.
I don’t say this to brag. I know what an incredible privilege it was, and it’s one of the biggest things I’ll miss as I move on to my next job.
In fact, whenever I fly on First or Business Class, I hardly watch TV. Instead, I spend most of my time looking out of the window, sipping a beverage, and really savouring the moment.
Think back to those premium experiences you’ve had: Staying at a nice hotel, attending a glamorous event, or flying Business Class. Many times, we rush to take lots of pictures and try to “get” the most of these experiences. But sometimes, true riches come from just sitting there, savouring the moment, and appreciating how lucky we are.
Travel – with its ability to disconnect us from email, WhatsApp and Facebook – gives us the perfect opportunity to do that.
Because It Helps Us Appreciate The People We Love
Last month, I joined a tour to Turkey with my family. It was a traditional agent-led tour, comprising long bus rides, set lunches and touristy attractions. I went in with low expectations, but I came out feeling extremely glad I did it.
Why? Well for one, it was an excellent tour (Chan Brothers FTW!), but more importantly, it helped me appreciate my family a lot more.
It’s easy to take our families for granted while we’re chasing ambition, money and experiences. Taking that family trip helped me to slow down and have more quality conversations with my family.
One evening, we took a stroll through the woods at the back of our ulu B&B. We discovered a pond with geese surrounded by trees with edible fruits. We played with dogs. How many times do we get to do stuff like that with our families?
I rediscovered all the reasons why I love and appreciate them, and there were many moments when I caught myself smiling at how blessed I am to have them.
What Does Travel Mean To You?
Now, I’m curious about what travel means to you.
Do you see it as an adventure? A life experience? An expression of love? An escape?
Let me know your thoughts, and be specific: Tell me where you went and what you did. Tell me how you felt in those moments. It doesn’t have to be mushy or woo-woo. If you love the shopping or the food, tell me about what makes them special to you.
Let me know in the comments below. I read every one.