We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. – Pico Iyer
What motivates you to travel? Why are some people content to stay put while others have the inexplicable urge to move about the globe? I have a friend that admits he’d rather buy stuff than travel, while I save every penny for airfare and hostel accommodations. One option is not better or more superior than the other but I’m always curious about the motivating factors behind those inclinations.
In this new blog series, I am interviewing some of my well traveled friends (and possibly some strangers) to get their experiences and thoughts on travel. The first interviewee in this series will be yours truly. I know, kind of weird to interview myself but I thought it would be a good place to start…..so here it goes!!
What is your favorite part of travel?
Laurie: I love all aspects, from finding the best flight deals, to learning some of the language, researching neighborhoods I want to explore and special dishes of the place I will be going. I actually don’t mind the airport and one of my favorite places to hang out is the airport bar–talking to random strangers about travel and adventure over a cocktail. Don’t tell me you’ve never had a beer, glass of wine, Bloody Mary or champagne at 9 am while waiting for your flight?
What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place?
Laurie: I travel solo so I have a lot of freedom when I head to a new destination. I usually book the first night of the place I’m visiting and then kind of wing it from there. After I drop my stuff off at the hostel I usually find the nearest restaurant/bar and settle in to do some serious eavesdropping and people watching to get a feel for the neighborhood.
Laurie: It’s a toss up between Paris and Istanbul. I live in San Francisco so I love pulsating, vibrant city scenes. I had dreamed about going to Paris since I was a teen and all of my conjured up fantasies of cafe au laits and charming French men were fulfilled when I visited in 2009. From the cobblestone streets to the chic cafes, it was the first time I felt a city bury itself in my soul and blossom.
Turkey caught my attention in 2005 when I went to Greece and almost took a two day excursion to Turkey, but time got away from me and I never made it but promised myself I’d get there ‘someday’. It stayed at the top of my travel list for years but from some reason, whether it be fear or another destination to distract me, it took a while for me to get there. But I fell in love with Turkish music, language and food long before my trip in 2015.
What places are on your travel dream list?
Laurie: My list is long and ever-changing but Spain, Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua and Croatia are on the top right now. My family background is a mix of German, Scottish, English and Finnish, so I hope to visit the birthplace of some of my grandparents and great-grandparents.
What inspires you to travel?
Laurie: I’m naturally curious so I’m always interested to know about other cultures; how other people live their day to day lives, what a traditional meal is, the social scene. I know I take up a small space on this planet and I want to see as much of this wonderfully diverse world as I can in this lifetime. Travel is my drug and I will happily be an addict all my life.
Name a favorite meal or type of food you’ve had on your travels?
Laurie: I love street food–whether in Thailand or Turkey, I always find the cheapest and freshest meals at the street vendors. I’m a huge fan of the great Anthony Bourdain and while I’m not as adventurous as him, the more I travel the more open I am to trying something new. I check out alot of food blogs and get recommendations from friends that have traveled there. I usually stick to the cheap eats but I do splurge on a fancy dinner at least once when I am exploring a new country.
Name a favorite travel themed movie, book or quote that inspires you to travel.
Laurie: I think I’ve watched ‘Midnight in Paris‘ about 30 times. Like the main character, I would have loved to experience Paris in the 1920s. Long Way Round is a compelling documentary of two mates (one of them famous) taking a motorcycle trip through Europe and parts of Africa. ‘Wild‘ is also at the top of my list for the solo travel/women empowerment aspect.
Any advice for those who have yet to stamp their passport?
Laurie: If you want to travel don’t let excuses get in your way. Start a travel savings account. Go to a lesser known place and interact with the locals. Learn the language. Make travel a priority in your life instead of just a dream. And always go with your gut!!