The Meaning of Travel
For as long as I can remember, travel has been a focal point in my life. I was very lucky to begin traveling at a young age, thanks to my wonderful parents who thought that experiences were best gained through exploration and adventure. I was only 9 days old when I took my first airplane trip, and while I definitely don’t remember back that far, somewhere between now and then my love for travel evolved to become the lifelong pursuit it is today.
I have such fond memories of my travels growing up. At the time I may not have fully understood the scope of what my parents had given me, however I will never forget my wonder at seeing aquaducts for the first time in Spain, or the joy of playing with my newly found friend on the beaches of St Maarten. Today, things have changed a little and I no longer need to rely on my parents to roam the globe. I now do so on my own dime, though we still sit down and swap travel stories over a glass of wine, or two.
Hokitika Gorge, New Zealand. Photo from the Kosan archives.
So while the way I travel has changed, so too has the feeling of what travel means to me. I can’t pinpoint exactly how it happened, but I do know that at some point, travel become my way of finding peace. This became unfailingly clear to me during a four week road trip through New Zealand, after two years of living, studying and working in Australia. Those two years abroad were some of the best and hardest times of my life. I was working 2 jobs, studying full time and trying to save up despite the exorbitant rent and cost of living. Now, I’m not trying to complain and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to travel and live in Australia, truly one of the most beautiful countries on earth! And I definitely had at least a little fun living in Melbourne, named one of the most livable cities on the planet more than once. However, the truth of it is, at the end of the two years I was absolutely exhausted, overworked and just completely burnt out. My boyfriend told me some months later that he felt that at that time, I was a shell of my former self, a zombie of sorts, and to this day the thought of it still breaks my heart.
Queue New Zealand, my all-time favourite holiday (so far) and one of the best months of my life. Some people believe that everything happens for a reason, and I am inclined to agree with them, at least in this case. Because if I had to go through everything all over again, just to have the opportunity to gain the insight and peace I felt, I would in a heartbeat. When I left Australia, I was so sad to leave behind the life I had built, but more importantly I felt excitement at what was to come. As my adventure of a lifetime began, first with my road trip through New Zealand, followed by a couple of months backpacking through South East Asia, I felt nothing but peace. And to this day, whenever I am able to get away, whether it be for a weekend or a month long backpacking trip, I am able to find that peace again.
Port Fairy, Australia. Photo from the Kosan archives.
Travel, for me at least, is a way to reconnect, both internally with myself, but also with others and our beautiful planet. It’s a way for me to balance my sometimes crazy, hectic life, brought about my workaholic tendencies. It open my eyes, my heart and my mind, to the things that I would have been blind to before. My goal now is to find a way to bring that feeling of peace home with me, so that I am not always chasing the ‘traveler’s high’. I haven’t found a perfect solution yet, but I’m working on it (but I’ll be sure to let you know when I do!).
Today, I’m at home writing this and I can’t help but be transported back to these amazing places where I have had the best experiences of my life. And so I close my eyes, I take a deep breath, and for a moment at least, I feel at peace.
The Kosan Team