April 2015 archive

↣ What is it stopping people from travelling?

There is a definite unanimous answer to the question ‘Do you enjoy travelling and visiting new places?’. And the answer, in short – is yes! Apart this is from the final answer on the table where the answer is ‘indifferent’. This is a stark contrast to the rest of the replies and when their reasoning is read, the opinion appears to be justified. There is something about travelling that means you have to have a certain ‘gusto’ and desire to learn which allows you to enjoy travel. The other unanimous reply appears to be the thing that stops people from travelling is the lack of finance/time of work available to them. Is this in response to the recession? Have people been forced to change their dreams and admit defeat as it were because there just simply aren’t enough pennies falling in the rainy days money box? However these people also seem to share the ideal that they would love to be able to travel more, but realism has got in the way. One response included the line ‘…I’m aware that this isn’t much of an excuse!’. From this I can see that there is a real desire in most people that makes them want to learn, discover and explore, but our society has made it nigh on impossible.

Do you enjoy travelling and visiting new places? Would you travel more if you could?
Yes Absolutely. Life in general stops me – my job, my family, money, time… I’m aware that this isn’t much of an excuse!
Yes I would love to travel more, and think I will continue to travel. There are no barriers currently stopping me from going away as I am currently a university student working part time. I have plans to go away for seven weeks this summer. Upon commencing full time work in September I doubt I will be able to do this as I wouldn’t want to lose my job.
Yes Yes
Yes Cost
Yes Yes. lack of annual leave and money.
Yes I would love to travel more often both abroad and in the UK, but I’m limited by the amount of holiday I can take, and the availability of my friends – as you get older you get far far busier! There are also practicalities – money, transport (I don’t currently own a car and rail is incredibly expensive!). All that said, I do still make time a few times a year to get away.
Yes Yes; it’s called work, life and needing to earn money. Otherwise I would travel as much as possible
Yes Yes. I am a teacher however and it is expected to travel as I have to go at certain times. Also we have a little girl under 2.
Yes Yes, money and holiday time with work limits my travelling.
Yes Yes, a bit more restrictive when you have children. Dependent on when my husband can get the time off work. We are also building up a small holding so time is limited to when we can go.
Yes Yes, visit different contries with different cultures and way of life
Yes Work commitments
money
pets
Yes Money, young children
Yes Money!
Yes Yes, restricted mostly by the time available.
Yes Yes, if it wasn’t for work!
Yes Would like to travel more. Lack for funds & time due to mortgage etc make it harder. Note they are a higher priority at present.
Indifferent No. I don’t like going abroad because of the food and I find it too hot. Last time I went to a resort in spain I got food poisoning so I don’t want to go again because it ruined my holiday.
I travel every few months to our cottage in Norfolk, which me and my wife really enjoy. Its quiet, the local pub does really good food, and we know people there now that we’ve been going for a few years.
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↣ How often do people travel?

The results of my questionnaire proved varied, but there were predominantly a few things that everyone agreed on. My first question ‘how often do you travel per year?’ was answered mostly with ‘a couple of times a year’. This invokes that interest in travel is high, and people generally want to go as much as possible. But what does this mean? Are people escaping something? Looking for something new? Or just constantly needing a break? This question was then broken down to ‘How often do you travel within your home country?’ to which again the most common answer was ‘every couple of months’. From this I can infer that people are very interested in their home country and are perfectly happy that if they find themselves unable to afford a holiday abroad, are willing to explore their home country. Reasons for both of these answers will be explained and analysed on the next post.

How often do you travel per year? How often do you travel within your home country?
Typically once a year, though not for the last few years Once a year
Couple of times a year Couple of times a year
Once every couple of months Every couple of months
Once a year Every couple of months
Once a year Couple of times a year
Couple of times a year Every couple of months
Couple of times a year Every couple of months
Couple of times a year Couple of times a year
Once a year Couple of times a year
Once a year Every couple of months
Once a Month Every couple of months
Once every couple of months Every couple of months
Couple of times a year Once a year
Couple of times a year Once a month
Couple of times a year Rarely at the moment, but used to be a couple of times a year and I hope to return to that pattern soon.
Once a year Every couple of months
Once every couple of months Couple of times a year
Never Every couple of months
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↣ She explores…

she exploresThe founder of ‘She explores’ is a wonderful woman named Gale Straub, her own words are much better than mine so here is a quote of hers:

She isn’t me.  She is the novel outdoors woman:  curious and ready-to-go; invariably planning her next endeavor.  You could just as easily find her climbing in the mountains as rediscovering her home town. 

She explores with an eye for color, an appreciation of technique, and a pull towards what’s next.

 Let’s went!

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Gale has been travelling with Jon Gaffney aka @thevanman since August 2014 on the North American road in a Dodge Sprinter van. She has created the ‘She Explores’ page which inspires women all over the world to travel, it is a collection of women who are all passionate about life on the road and living freely. I was lucky enough to get a response from Gale when I emailed her and her insight is amazing.. here we are!

Q)  What made you decide to travel? What influenced that decision?

A) I was looking to make a life change. I hadn’t taken many chances in my life thus far and I always wanted to take a long road trip and photograph the country.  When I made the decision to travel with my boyfriend, I was 26 (almost 27) with a good job in a field I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay in, no mortgage, no kids, no car.  I had nothing holding me back, so when my boyfriend brought up the idea of long term travel I was on board.  Just needed to save up some money first.

Q) Were your family and friends supportive in the decision that you made?

A) For the most part, yes.  I’m at an age where a lot of my friends and family are getting married and buying houses and having babies.  I think it was tricky for some to wrap their heads around wanting to quit their job and live out of a van.  Those closest to me weren’t surprised because they knew something had to give in my life – I worked a finance job at a cubicle every day, but I’m pretty visual and driven by more creative endeavors.

Q) Would you say that you are happier now living life on the road than before when you lived a more ‘normal’ life?

A) Yes, but necessarily for living on the road.  I feel like I have more control over my life direction.  Before leaving my 9-5 job, I wanted to travel, but more than that, I wanted a lifestyle change.  Even when I stop living on the road, I won’t go back to a busy city or a cubicle job.  This, more than anything, has made me happier.

Also, I would never recommend that someone take a road trip or travel if they’re not comfortable with who they are first.  I know some people try to escape themselves through travel or new relationships or the like.  I say it all the time – you can and will take yourself with you on a road trip.

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Q) What would you say has been the best experience of travelling?

A) Three things: 1) Growing & gaining confidence as a photographer 2) Getting closer with my boyfriend 3) Meeting new, likeminded people.

Q) What has been the worst experience?

A) Missing family.  It’d be nice to have it all, but of course that’s impossible.

Q) How do you get by financially, is it tough to get enough money? Or did you save up enough before leaving?

A) I was an accountant in my previous profession, so I made sure to save sufficient funds for my travels.  It wasn’t easy – I saved for 15 months before turning in my resignation and I was systematic about it.  My boyfriend and I have also started a consulting company in the last couple months.  We are setting ourselves up for life after the road trip and learning how to work as we travel.

Q)  Do you prefer to go it spontaneously or do you always know what you’re doing and where you’re going?

A) We have a general idea where we need to be and when (for work and play), but we are pretty flexible.  It would be difficult to keep a strict itinerary while traveling – you can’t plan for everything!

Q) Do you want company on your travels? Do you think it’s doable on your own or is company a necessity?

A) I’m in a committed relationship so I never thought about road tripping solo.  Otherwise I would likely have traveled with my twin sister.  Although I enjoy my alone time, I think this expereince has been enriched through sharing it with someone special to me.

Q) Do you think that there is a certain level of happiness and fulfillment that can only be achieved by travelling?

I personally do not believe you need to travel to see something new every day.  I think it’s all about changing your perspective intermittently and having an open attitude.  I believe travel enriches your life, but I know that everyone is different and happiness is relative.  I also think that some people compare themselves to others and wonder why they aren’t “happy”, but no one really knows what’s going on in someone’s life.  My advice is to work towards being content (about yourself, your life, your goals) and worry less about being happy.

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Reading Gale’s inspirational tale restores hope and faith into me. One of her notes included saying that you cannot travel unless you are sure of yourself, because you cannot leave yourself behind. And I guess that’s all a part of travelling, having the confidence to be ready to leave, to accept yourself, to be the kind of person you are ‘happy to be on the road with’.

I’ve been writing this essay, reading books, finding articles, watching films, having long and deep wondering conversations about travel with anyone who will listen. And this is something that makes me happy. I may not actually be travelling but right now just talking about it makes me joyous, but I feel that a lot of other things are also capable of making you this happy – it might not be travelling or anything to do with it.

Perhaps the question is not ‘is there a certain level of happiness that only travel can achieve’, but instead to wonder why it is that people travel at all.

 

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