When I’m in a travelling mood, I spread a map of the world on the table, close my eyes, count to five and place my finger down.
The results are to me surprising, educational, and above all fun.
So far, I have been to Italy, Kenya, Tanzania, Bolivia, Peru, the USA and Norway. Since I was born in the UK and now live in Canada, I feel reasonably well traveled, but why stop there.
More recently, since I had a child, my map has been a little smaller, just until he is old enough to accompany me further afield, but even then, I have been to Nova Scotia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and New York State, and within Ontario, Bruce and Grey Counties, Ottawa, Penetanguishene and Algonquin Park.
It’s in my bones to travel. Growing up my parents regaled me with the travels of their youth and early adulthood, from Pakistan to Hong Kong, New Zealand to Barbados, Canada and best of all, Australia. They met in Australia and fell in love at third sight*. I would ask again and again for them to repeat the tale while my brother rolled his eyes.
How could I not want to travel after all of that. Indeed, despite his protestations to the contrary, my brother too was bitten by the travel bug.
The thing about travel is that you can go around the world, viewing everything through the camera lens, yet seeing and learning nothing. My uncle was almost that kind of tourist. What made him different, and what I learned from him more than anyone else, is that travelling is really about people. Meeting people, talking to people, learning about people, their customs and culture, what makes them tick. The further off the beaten track you go, the more interesting the people, and yet the more similar you realise we all are.
When I next take up my map, I will ask my son to pick the location. And I will tell him the stories of the people I have met, and the places I have been, in the hopes that he too will learn that travelling is fun.
*The first two sights are a tale for another time.