Why Travel?

Sometimes, when I’m standing in a line at the grocery store, the person next in line will turn around and look at me and ask, “Why are you in the ten-items-or-less line when you have enough groceries to feed a boy scout troop for several months?”

And I’ll answer, “Because I’m a stranger here, and do not understand your arcane customs.”  She’ll glare at me, I’ll glare back, hoping silently that I’m not in a region where concealed weapons are considered a fashion accessory, and reflect again on why I like to travel. I’ll also throw a ponder or two at the subject of how anyone could possibly think that a five gallon container of Chunky Monkey is a good idea.

So really, why do we travel? Why does anyone travel? Statistically speaking there’s a much higher probability that you’ll die from falling in your own bathtub, if you stay at home. So that’s a good reason to get out. There are people who travel to increase their cultural literacy, a concept I’m pretty sure I just made up, but am confident that a quick trip to the Google will reveal is a real honest-to-god idea. And yep, there it is. Crap, it even has a Wikipedia article on it. At this rate I’m never going to get credit for inventing anything. Except more ways to waste time.

Some people travel so they can experience the exotic foods, scents and sounds, from around the world, and then spend endless hours on the porcelain throne vowing that they’ll never ever try tacos from a street stand again. Granted, I’m pretty sure they didn’t start out with the thought that they were going to court extreme gastrointestinal distress. It was just safer than taking a bath at home.

Then there are the people who travel because it’s a great excuse to get away from the kids for a while. Especially when those kids are in their thirties, and living in the basement and have recently announced that they are in training for the Call of Duty World Championship, after which untold wealth will be theirs from product endorsements and prize money and let’s not forget the babes that will fall all over themselves for a man who is really, really talented with a grenade launcher.

Finally there are those that travel just so they can show off their Louis Vuitton luggage. Because bellhops and redcaps are so easily impressed.

Us? Our reasons for travelling are many and varied and include none of those listed above. We travel first and foremost, because we want to see those parts of the world that have not yet been paved over and covered with KFC franchises, movie superplexes, and malls. Not that I have anything against KFC, I just think it’s a little unfair that while we get tapas, Banh mi, sushi, and shawarma from other cultures, they get KFC and McDonald’s from us. Talk about your balance of trade.

We also board planes for far flung destinations so that I, in particular, can sample the deep fried specialties of different societies from around the world. And their beer. Especially their beer. So many different beers, and so little stomach capacity. Weep for me. Mary goes with me so that I have someone that can find their way back to the hotel. Weep for her.

And we travel so that we can, when we come to the end of a long and not-terribly-eventful life, say, hey, we saw the Pyramids before they covered them with video screens advertising wrinkle cream and McVitie Chocolate Biscuits.

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