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Why travel?

In May I was on a bus from Queenstown to Milford Sound as the sun came up over heavily frosted farms. It glittered and sparkled on the ice, creating fields of diamonds, whose beauty was simple, but breath-taking.

My thoughts wandered to a friend who has never travelled far, and has no desire whatsoever to do so! She is content to be an armchair traveller and see the world on a screen. This all got me thinking about why I travel – of course my reasons may not be your reasons – and what do I get out of my travel? How do you convince someone to get out of the armchair and explore the world? I am also a great armchair traveller, but for me these programmes serve to inspire further journeys, and thus the bucket list just keeps on growing!

The south island of New Zealand is renowned in the astronomical world for its dark skies, and it is quite something to stand outside on a clear night and ponder the universe, which can be seen to an extraordinary scale once you’ve escaped bright city lights. We stood recently, all alone, on the shore of Lake Tekapo, and sought to make sense of the night sky. It is a humbling experience when you appreciate first-hand the vastness of the Milky Way, and realise just how small we really are. Personally, the enormity and endlessness of space frightens me a little, as it poses far more questions than I have time for answers! On the plus side though, it also reinforces the knowledge that Earth is a very special place and that I should make every effort to sample its wonders, for, as has been said by many: “life is short”.

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