GOING PLACES LOCALLY AND ABROAD is always my cup of tea. Having a Sagittarius zodiac sign, I am really destined to explore, conquer the globe and take pl easure (and learn) from it!
Why travel? If you have the necessary resources (time and money), you are physically and mentally fit, and you have proper supporting documents (i.e. passport, insurance, visa, etc.), what is the reason why you can not pack your bag and go?
In my own personal experience during the past 15 years, I have been to several places, not only in my home beautiful country, but also to other fascinating destinations around the world. My travelling escapade is always driven by work and studying. Having involved in various development projects that provide solution to environmental problems, it does requires touring around the country or overseas. Also, my desire to further enhance my expertise in the field of my specialisation through postgraduate studies/trainings elsewhere serve as a stepping stone to visit different places. Thus, my numerous travels are the outcomes of the kind of jobs that I am involved with, as well as the rare opportunity to secure financial grants to study abroad.
Being in that particular situation on the right time and location, I will do my best to tour around the place and the neighbouring towns/cities. Honestly, being single and healthy, it is easy to do this, but if I have my own family and getting older, then travelling (abroad in particular) will not be in my top ‘must do’ list. Maybe some people will argue that anyone could still have a wonderful vacation even you have the family (and children), or during your retirement period. Well yes, however, the frequency and the duration will dramatically decrease. And there will be other issues relating to health condition that somewhat crucial in finalising travel plans which also affects the kind of activities you want to do during the travel.
Moreover, most importantly it will also depend on where you are permanently residing or where your travel (point of origin) begins. For example, if I will live permanently in the Philippines, my travel to UK, Europe and the US will substantially diminish, but much more on local travels instead. Why, because my travel will be dependent on the affordability (i.e. mode of transport) and convenience (visa processing) to visit the place. Finally, however security or safety (because of political instability of the destination) is not a big issue to hinder my travel plan, unless there is a government restriction on that particular destination. I am not generalising it, but for British, American or Australian nationals are fortunate to travel without any stress of not having a visa elsewhere. Unlike us coming from developing countries, it is a must to undergo such strict issuances of a visa. Sometimes, I feel it is unfair for people who have the genuine intention of travelling overseas but denied for a visa for the reason of coming from countries that threaten their security/safety.
So, the kind of travelling that I am looking forward to is absolutely different from where other travellers want to go or what they want to do during their travels.
WHAT MOTIVATES ME TO TRAVEL? How about my choices where to go? What factors to be considered in those choices? What activities that I normally do during my escapades or things that fascinates me? And lastly, what souvenirs that I bring after my visits which will always remind me of my wonderful journey and the learning experience? Please bear with me while I am trying to quickly answer these queries.
Motivation to travel
Watching films, reading travel magazines, and my hobby in photography motivate me to visit other places. Being a regular moviegoer, I am fascinated with the cinematography of the film which leads me to wonder where this location where been shoot. I will make sure that I stay in my seat while waiting for the full credits of the film which provide me the information of the location. Travel magazines are also influential to pack my bag and explore the featured scenic attractions in the publication. And most importantly, because of my interest in photography, I always go out and have my vacation just to improve my photography skills by visiting these places featured in the magazines or in the films. To some extent, I am also motivated by the interesting stories from my close friends who were able to visit these places. Overall, I believe that through my travelling, I could experience and learn other cultures, languages, beliefs, history and to meet interesting people which I could not find in textbooks or not being taught inside the classroom.
**Choices where to go
The main factor that influences where to visit or spend my holiday is ‘relatives and friends’. It is because having them on these places, it will be easier for me to explore and enjoy my short stay – hassle-free and save money. In most cases, my accommodation is ‘free’ and I could do more things considering that my friends are hospitable enough to tour me around at their convenience. Aside from that, if they are not available, they will provide me the best itinerary - where to visit and what to expect from these attractions. Moreover, my choice is also affected by the affordability, accessibility, the mode of transport, and the convenience to get the visa. For example, if I will have to choice between Spain and Italy, I would probably choice Italy. Well both countries offer fascinating attractions, but I would rather choice Italy since it will be easier for me to secure the visa than Spain. Securing a Spanish visa requires a two-stage application: sending a request letter and the personal interview in Manchester. While the Italian visa application is done by posting the required travel documents, including the processing fee which takes 2-3 weeks.
Activities to explore the place
As I said earlier, I want to learn and enjoy from my travel and I can only do this by visiting places that will probably satisfy this desire. Generally, I am interested to visit libraries, museums, castles, shopping malls, churches, historical structures, and of course watch live shows, festivals and musical productions; and visit resorts, casinos and beaches. I do research by visiting universities and check the possibilities of having future research with these institutions. Visiting theme parks that offer adventurous and thrilling rides is also in my list during my travel.
Aside from shopping for clothes and personal accessories, I make sure that I have extra copies of postcards for each location/attractions that I have visited, which some of them will be sent to my family and friends. Also, I am interested to collect pins, key chains, posters and beer mats. Unfortunately, I don’t bring home some antiques and jewelleries which are subject to airport tax and duties. For some people, antiques and art crafts are their interests, but at the moment I don’t have the obsession to have them. This is because I don’t have a permanent place to store or display these pieces of art. The photographs taken during my trips will ultimately serve as mementos and a truly evidence of my escapades. I forgot to mention, I also buy 1-2 books during my travel.
AND FINALLY, I can now finally say that travelling is something that I will always gain invaluable benefits from it not only being a traveller but also a learner. Spending for travels is a personal choice to make, but definitely the opportunity to go places is a ‘priceless’ learning experience that money can’t buy! Enjoy living and have a simple travel plan in life!
Note: This journal was originally posted in October 2007 but I did minor updating and worth re-posting it again to find out more about myself.