If you are a traveler, will you answer these questions?
1.Why do you like to travel?
2.Where have you been?
3.What was your favorite place?
4. Any regrets?
Here are my answers:
Why do you like to travel?
I guess it started with the job I took in Alaska when I was 20, or maybe it started when my best friend and I went on Dead Tour. It was a revelation to find people all over the country that I could become immediate friends with and I realized the world was just a big, friend-holding place. Plus, there was a underlying possibility of risk and adventure that I couldn’t resist.
Where have you been?
I’ve taken jobs in eight states, been to every state in the U.S. (most more than once, some shamefully too many times), and traveled to 34 countries.
What was your favorite place?
It would have to be Lake Titicaca in Peru. It was this unique pocket of culture way, way up in the mountains. Altitude sickness was a threat, but the local remedy was to chew coca leaves or drink coca tea. We furiously devoured both, maybe to avoid the sickness, but probably more so because it would be illegal in the U.S. The people wore colorful clothing and these crazy tiny hats, and all of them were very short. I’m 5’3″, and my travel buddy Wendy is about 6 inches taller than me. I was tall, she was a monster. I loved walking down the streets, each one a sidewalk market and seeing the variety of items laid out on tarps on the ground: fruit, pig heads, socks. It was one of the most different cultures I have ever wandered into, and that made me love it.
I guess I would call them learning experiences. Some of my first international travel was through Central America. I had never been in a “third-world” country and had been devouring guides and reading travel warnings before we set off. The warnings scared me and made me a callous tourist. Once, when I was sitting on a bus staring out the window, I felt a tug on my leg. When I looked down a nearly naked, crippled, and emaciated man was staring up at me from the floor with his hand held out for money. He was crawling on the floor of the bus on his arms, with his legs dragging behind him. It frightened me, the look of him, and I shook my head ‘no’, and stared back out the window. Then I noticed that every other person on the bus, all locals, bent over to give him change and bowed their heads like a prayer for him. I’m still horrified by the experience- not because of the man, but because of how I reacted. I’m embarrassed to admit to what I did, but I have learned from it. You don’t have to abandon your humanity to be safe.