Last week I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Caribbean enjoying the endless warm days and reading a few books, which should have been a lovely relaxing vacation. But I have to admit, since I am not working, I felt like a bit of a fraud taking time off – off from what, I say? A friend’s take on my guilt was ‘didn’t you work enough years in your life to deserve a vacation?’ and I suppose she is right. Don’t think I didn’t enjoy the week. I love to travel, whether it’s sightseeing, a cultural learning experience or the beach and the hot weather that comes with it. There is a lot to enjoy. For me, anticipation and planning is a big part of the enjoyment. Where travel is concerned, the preparation is a good experience in itself. I enjoy the time online, looking for the best routing, investigating the hotel reviews and then finding a good deal. Where will we eat and what kinds of food will we find? All of these things give me great pleasure.
Wadi Rum desert, Jordan
What is it that makes traveling such a draw? There are such beautiful, awesome things to see, really awe-inspiring, like the desert at Wadi Rum in Jordan and the veld while on safari near Hoedspruit in South Africa, both vast and ancient places that made me realize just how we are briefly passing through. Mostly though, travel is all about the people. The list of places I like the best are all about the people I find the most simpatico – India, where the locals are warm and spiritual and a business associate made the effort to take us to an amazing temple en route to our next appointment. A place where women working in factories for small wages work in brilliantly coloured saris with jasmine in their hair.
I loved Cambodia, where the tuk tuk driver adopted us after one ride and was there whenever we came out of the hotel. When we came out of the market and looked around, another driver didn’t try to get our business, instead somehow someone called and our guy popped up, ready for the next stop. In Italy, a country where even the old taxi driver flirts with you and you feel charmed. Then there are the places where I would not mind if I didn’t go again – China, where our cultures are so different that I feel little warmth from the locals and Bangladesh where I felt uncomfortable, but then maybe being a woman didn’t help.
Every time I return home I start planning the next place I will travel, whether it’s a trip in close by in North America or a faraway place. Sometimes it’s a place I have been often before but love to visit again and again and sometimes it’s a new adventure, but one thing is for sure, there’s an airplane in my future.