October 24, 2002

Why Do I Travel?

By Lori Blandford © 2002

I was browsing a bookstore yesterday and came upon a "New Release" book called something like "Why We Travel." Of course I'm interested in reading that book. But before I could pick it up and make it my next subway friend (to bury myself in and drown out the recent influx of drunken preachers), I felt I owed it to myself to answer the question the book posed.

"Why do I travel?"

What a good question! Yet so difficult to succinctly answer.

Well, I never did feel the need to escape. Not the law or an abusive boyfriend or the lies of life. I don't really have too much to run from. Boring? No, just really bad at lying.

It's not for the photographs because I'm a mediocre photographer at best (Photoshop helps me out a lot).

It can't be wanderlust because in real life I'm a bit of a nester. I don't like to move a lot and have only lived in three cities in my (almost) 28 years.

It's not to use my linguistic abilities. I speak Buffalo girl Spanish and the Ukrainian from my younger years is equivalent to the two years of German I studied… (not good).

It's not to perfect journal writing. I've always had the best of intentions but eventually bore of writing to myself- always seems rather redundant. I like an audience.

It's not to collect patches for my backpack. I never purchased a patch.

It's not for the stamps on my passport. Who would travel for stamps on their passport?!

It's not to have sex in as many countries as possible. In fact, I've only had sex in three foreign countries (wouldn't you like to know!). I haven't even had sex in Canada (not that I remember anyhow, but it seems, so, un-Buffalo like). Or Mexico. I haven't even been to Mexico! So, why am I writing a piece about traveling?

It's not because I have money to burn. I don't and traveling isn't cheap- no matter how many Rough Guides you reference… I like good food and good wine. That means good money.

Do you still care about why I like to travel?

Thanks, I'm flattered.

I happen to think the desire is selective and awarded to those who were good kids in their last life (probably those who shared). The art of travel is something we're born with, seek out, and make happen. Traveling, for me, is a most insightful, self-acquainting and character testing activity. It challenges my inner being and provides me with endless daydreams. It's also a drug. Or a Pringle… Once you pop, you can't stop.

I can wax philosophic for months (I won't. You can go soon) about the real, deep, intelligent reasons, but in the spirit of joire de vivre, I say that traveling just feels good. And sometimes, that's all the explanation I can provide.

I hope that wasn't too anti-climactic for you. I also happen to think it's because I like to talk to people and learn their stories. Everyone has a story.

I hope you liked mine.

Lori "Boogie" Blandford is a traveler from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

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