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Why Do I Travel?

With each successive decade I spend on earth, my lust for travel clearly increases exponentially. And truth be told, I have lived more than a few decades and the travel "jones" is pretty intense now. I have done a hefty amount of travel over the years - at last count I've visited over 30 countries - but it's not enough. I don't lead a particularly boring life…I guess I just get bored easily. Friends and family regularly ask me why I have "ants in my pants"…why do you want to get on a plane again? Don't you like being home? What drives you to want to turn over as many foreign rocks as you can? I've been thinking about this…

I like being surprised. When I travel, especially to other countries, there are surprises galore. I am regularly surprised by new sights and sounds, new foods, new languages, new traditions, new world views. And one of the biggest surprises that regularly happens (so, is that still a surprise?) is that despite all the differences that do surprise me, there are just as many similarities among people. We all need to eat, sleep, make a living, love and be loved, and feel a connection to the world around us…we all need to communicate. Travel is full of wonderful surprises as well as the gift of greater connection.

I like being challenged. When I was younger I was not all that hot on being pushed outside my comfort zone…on anything. The older I've gotten, the more I get a rush from being pushed physically, logistically, emotionally, spiritually. When I travel there are so many things to figure out: How do I get from Point A to Point B? Can I really climb up that mountain to 16,000 feet? How can I connect with strangers from another country to both have them understand who I am and also gain an understanding of who they are, why they live the way they do, and what they believe (and why). Frankly, most of the time, it is a rush to accept and then meet these kinds of challenges. Sue me, I'm a bit of a masochist!

I like to get away from "normal life". I lead a pretty full life - and truly it is not a bad gig. I co-own and run an internet-based business with my life partner of 33 years (who I love dearly); I have three incredible adult kids who give me much joy and still take a nice slice of my attention; I maintain regular contact with an extended family and network of dear friends; I do yoga or work out every day, write a personal blog, try to stay politically educated and active. It's not ho-hum at all. But it's…normal. I really get a rush from escaping the routine and charting a different course for a while - especially if I can't actually map it out in gory detail. There need to be some surprises, right?

I like to learn new things. Truth be told - if it were realistic - I'd have stayed in school longer. I loved the process of discovering what I didn't know, doing research, reading a variety of opinions and studying diverse world views. Travel lets me do all of that without showing up to class. I love surfing the internet for recommendations of new destinations to explore, putting out calls for unique eateries and funky hotels, designing itineraries for our trips that give us a chance to hang out with locals (instead of hitting all the tourist sites on a pre-fab checklist), and occasionally getting a little lost so there is a new challenge to find my way back to - wherever. A learning experience I relish.

I love to be in awe of life. That might sound a little silly, but travel really does bring out the "WOW" in me. It never fails that when I travel to a new country, a new city, a new village …when I meet people who live a life so different from mine - and there is always a glimmer of familiarity…I nearly always have a renewed sense of awe at how much I still have not seen and done - and I have a renewed urgency to do it all.

So my journey continues…

Editors Note:

Esther Schorr is a "young-at-heart" 50+ wanderer who explores the unknown at every opportunity, loves experiencing different cultures and traditions, forging new relationships with local people and communities, and “paying it forward” at every opportunity. She lives in Carlsbad, California with her amazing husband, Andrew, and their super pup, Donovan. They have three "global citizen" adult children who share her lust for travel as well. Retirement for Esther will mean more time to discover where she hasn't been - and go there! Check out her personal blog Living La Vida Loca

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