Wednesday 4 April 2012

Inspiring Travels

I was tagged by Kate in her post for easyjet's Inspiration initiative. It's all about finding out what inspires people to travel. So I thought it's be fun to get involved and write about my inspiration for travelling.

I don't know when or where this photo was taken, but judging by the snazzy hats and matching shorts/t-shirt combo I don't think we're in England.


I've made no secret that travelling seems to run in my blood. Firstly, my parents have always had travel as a big part of their lives. Before they had us fabulous children they regularly went away together or with friends (I've seen the photographic proof but be glad this was before the digital age and those dodgy snaps are safely gathering dust in the cupboard under the stairs!) I don't even remember the first time I went abroad. Now I think about it, I have no idea of the first country I ever visited outside of my own...(Mum care to fill this void?)  I do know that we had many a family holiday in the sun throughout my childhood. I think the most memorable for me being Turkey; wandering around Cappadocia, driving all the way out to Pamukkale (and being some of the last people able to bathe in the pools for free), jumping on the overflowing bus to the town centre with my brother and my mum haggling up instead of down on a market stall.
My mum and me at Versaille

As I've grown older, something that has definitely added fuel to the wanderlust fire is sibling rivalry. Both my brothers have lived abroad (one only returning home this week). Being the youngest, I've always been the last one to experience things. I was the one watching as they went out clubbing and away with scouts or when they left for gap years abroad and university. I was always the one being left behind, not the one trail-blazing and making my own way. So when it came my time to travel, I was able to finally do something first. Go somewhere no one in my family has been before. I don't avoid places my brothers or parents have been, but if I visit a place they never have, I can't lie, there is a definite underlying smugness involved!


Books on my shelf at the moment
I like travelling because I like seeing the history, people and architecture of different places. I enjoy experiencing new different cultures, and all diversity in the world. The beauty, food, and smells. Even if I'm only in a place for a short time, I love that feeling of being somewhere new, fresh, exciting, interesting. I'm also inspired to travel through reading. The travel writing section of whatthebook? in Itaewon is the place I linger the longest when I visit. I love reading about travel, and since I started this blog, I've got more inspired about places to go through reading other travel blogs. They usually have much better photography or travel stories than me and my must visit list is getting longer week by week!


My first independent backpacking trip was after university. I went inter-railing around western Europe. It was fantastic. All the different cities, the overnight trains, the other adventure seeking travellers. Visiting places I fell in love with (Florence, Berlin, Switzerland) and others that ended up disappointing (Marseille, Rome). I'm glad for places I've loved and those I haven't. That's all part of the travel experience. The feeling of being able to go anywhere, change our direction or stay longer in one place or another. I've been to lots of places since then, but I think that trip was the catalyst for my future travels. If it hadn't been a success I don't think I would have had quite such a passion of backpacking around.


Perhaps the beginning of my love affair with trains..?
I was 13 when my eldest brother left home to spend a year in Zambia. Once he was gone; the wait for the bathroom before school was much shorter, I moved into his (larger) bedroom and we began writing to each other. I still have those letters in England. Letters replying to my questions about life abroad, this exotic place where adventures happen. My embarrassment at asking if he'd seen a Camel ("They're only in the north you idiot"). I remember a picture of him outside a small building with water literally flowing off the roof like a river. It all seemed so exciting! When he came back I heard stories of wading across rivers and bumping along dirt roads (I think I was shielded from stories of muggings and danger..) I'm pretty sure it was him leaving that has always made me want to live abroad too. In my final year of university, I had no idea what career I wanted, only that I wanted to live somewhere abroad. It wasn't too long afterwards that I packed up and moved to China. So my parents definitely ignited the spark of wanderlust but I think it's my brother who kept it burning as I got older. 

And here are my nominations:

Ellie at One day I'll fly away
Kristina at the Vagablond 
Brenna at This battered suitcase
Tom at Waegook Tom
Mary (who keeps putting off starting her blog, This can be your first post! ^.^)

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  1. Great post, Ruth - and thanks for tagging ^.^

  2. Very cool Ruth! Thanks for sharing.. and inspiring me to do this as well! Love the picture of your family when you we a kid, super cute!

  3. The family photo was taken 0n the island of Spetses. Your first holiday abroad you were about 6 months old and we went to Chania on Crete. There was no development and no airport, we had a four hour drive but you can fly direct now!!

  4. Great post - did Mary start her blog?