I always have these conversations with friends about why I want to travel and why I get so weak and giddy when the discussion of travel comes up. It’s a regular thing. Most of my Jamaican friends think I’m nuts to want to go to places like India or Egypt or Israel. My reason, at least my main reason, have always been the same. My answer to that question first and foremost was, “why not?”
I’m not sure if it is a culture thing but the Jamaican friends I have cannot get my desire to see most places. I even had someone asked, “why do you need to travel?”
The straight truth is my love of travelling came from my love of reading. As a child, I would read everything they put in front of me–from magazines to Hardy Boys and Harlequin romance. Books were my escape from everything in my life back then. Harlequin I started reading at 8 years old. I read about these wealthy men from exotic lands. Sure, I didn’t pay much attention to the naughty bits–I just wanted to know about the countries.
I would read Jules Verne and all these spectacular authors who, for most of the world had gone into the olden age–meaning people stopped reading them because they weren’t ‘hip’ at the time. I didn’t have a choice. I was brought up in Jamaica and the books we got at the time was the out of style ones.
But reading about magical places always made me happy. Reading about the places The Hardy boys vacationed to and getting into international Espionage, or reading about James Bond in Russia or even Captain Nemo–all these things fuelled my desire to see mysical places and with lush and historical architecture. I haven’t been able to find someone who understood that.
Then there are the many cultures in the world. Sure, I live in Toronto and we have a little village of many different cultures littering our city. From Littly Greek Town to Little India, we have it all. The foods and music and movies and art, and languages–all of it makes for a rich city. But, going to a Holi celebration in downtown Toronto isn’t as mind-blowing as going to one in India. Looking at a picture of the great pyramids does nothing for me–except feeling the need to see them in person. Eating Sushi in Japan, better than what we have in Toronto or anywhere else… And a I told someone a few years ago I was obsessed with going to Cuba. Someone asked me why the need to go there and my answer was simple. I told him “I want to see the sunset from Cuba.” His reply was to tell me the sunset was the same everywhere but travelers, you know what I mean. The sunset is not the same everywhere. There is something special about seeing the sunset from another part of the world–something almost magical.
There is no reason to sit at home when there is so much to see and experience in the world.