Travel starts with you. It starts with you and your desire and longing to experience new things, fly to new places, climb new mountains, meet new people, eat new food, dance to new songs.
Welcome to The Wandering Jandal! In time, this blog will be full of my travel stories, and tips and tricks I’ve picked up a long the way. Until then, I thought I’d start at the very beginning (a very good place): Why I Travel.
Growing up in New Zealand means that world is very far away. Even with today’s incredible advances in technology and travel, the world is elsewhere, just out of reach. In Europe, you can literally drive into another country, spend the day there, and then drive back. The closest large country to New Zealand is Australia, and that’s still a three hour plane ride away. Here at the bottom of the Earth we are a blip of an island, but we are full of wanderers.
I started my travelling life when I was just 18 months, when my parents and I moved to Mongolia for three years. Ever since then, I’ve had the need, the desire, the fidgety need-to-see-more-places itch.
Travel starts with you. It starts with you and your desire and longing to experience new things, fly to new places, climb new mountains, meet new people, eat new food, dance to new songs. Perhaps even find yourself. If you don’t have the wanderlust in your blood, then perhaps you’ll never travel … and that’s disappointing.
I’ve met so many people over the years who have never left New Zealand. Some haven’t even left their home town. There’s something wonderful about settling down in the same town you grew up in, and having that familiarity wrapped around you and the generations after you. But there’s something even more wonderful about getting lost in the streets of London, or catching the bullet train from Mt Fuji into Tokyo, or touching the Chicago Bean.
Not only does travel get you out and about and away from your familiar home towns, but it opens up your eyes to a world much bigger than yourself. And it’s that that people need to experience.
Of course travel doesn’t need to be internationally. There’s nothing wrong with travelling inside your own country. In fact, I highly recommend being a tourist in your own city. You’ll find new things, meet people you didn’t know existed living right around the corner. You’ll figure out just who you are in your own context, and how you fit in to the country you live in. You’ll walk down streets you’ve walked before and see them in a new light, through a new lens, and hopefully with an inspired heart.
And so that’s why I travel. To see the world, yes; to discover new things, yes; to learn about other peoples’ cultures, yes; to breathe new air. Yes. But to be so aware that the world is full of hidden gems, grand experiences, incredible stories from people just like you … that’s the true wonder of travel, and that is why I will always choose to go.