I have recently been thinking about who inspired me to travel. Where did this need to see the world come from?
I grew up in Hobart, Tasmania. It felt like I lived on the edge of the world and in many ways I did. It is a long way from anywhere! Even getting to the mainland (what we called the rest of Australia) was pricey and not something many people did.
My parents had never travelled, apart from a trip to Hawaii that they won when I was a baby – I went along as well. My grandparents, however, had very itchy feet. They spent 3 years when I was a child driving around Australia, sending home exotic postcards and presents.They were the first people to inspire me.
Inspiration #1: Grandma and Grandpa
My teenage years
When I was a teenager what I wanted most was to be an exchange student. An exchange student in the US to be precise. Thanks to all the television shows and books I had read, the idea of being an American high school student just sounded like so much fun. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t save enough money to make it a reality.
Inspiration #2: Every bit of media about US high schools (apart from school shootings anyway)
University is where my wanderlust really went into overdrive. I became obsessed with travel shows, such as Australia’s Getaway and the Great Outdoors. I used to watch them every week and make notes.
Inspiration #3: Travel shows
Then I discovered Michael Palin and I started obsessing over all the more unusual destinations. Why go to Paris when you could go to Africa? There are so many places that I explored in my twenties thanks to this man.
Inspiration #4: Michael Palin
At 21, I took my first big international trip to Europe. I had a fabulous time and from that moment on, I was completely hooked on travel. I wanted to go everywhere. I wanted to go back to every place I had been and see it better, and I wanted to go to every place I hadn’t been.
During my travels, I gravitated to two authors who also inspired me to more different destinations – Peter Moore and (through Peter Moore’s books) Paul Theroux. They are very different authors but they both travelled down the length of Africa. They also write about other places and epic adventures. I can’t even see a kayak without thinking of Paul Theroux’s amazing journey in the Pacific (I really recommend that book).
Inspiration #5: Peter Moore and Paul Theroux
The article I linked to above was about travel heroes, and I have written about America high school dramas, Peter Moore, Michael Palin and others. I don’t think I have a travel hero as such, more people that inspire me and give me an insight as to what is possible.
In the end, however, I think the person who inspires me the most is actually myself. Travel has been the best thing for my self confidence.
Inspiration #6: Sharon Gourlay
Once I realised how easy it was to travel in Australia, I had the confidence to go to Europe, then once I realised how easy it was there, I went to South East Asia, next thing I knew I had the self confidence to go places like Guatemala, Guyana and India. The world is incredibly easy to go and explore once you have enough self confidence and inspiration.
Who has inspired you to travel?