Q: Why did you first start traveling? Why did you continue to travel?

I’ve wanted to travel for as long as I can remember. At the age of 11 I started writing to penpals in Europe and Australia through an organization called IYS (International Youth Service). At 13 I did a research project about Paris for my French class, and started bugging my dad to send me to Europe. And then life happened. It wasn’t until I was 29 (in 1992) that I was finally able to realize my dream to travel to Paris (and other parts of Europe), even though I had to do it solo.

First trip overseas, 1992

First trip overseas, 1992

After that first trip overseas I was hooked. I had contracted the travel bug, and started slowly metamorphosing into a Big Travel Nut. A trip to Greece followed a year later, then a 6-week trip to Southeast Asia 20 months after that, taking advantage of a sabbatical program at work. Upon returning from this most exotic trip, I started plotting to leave my job as a well-paid software developer and give up my apartment in order to travel around the world for several months. It took a while, but during that time I could hardly think about anything else. My friends probably thought I had gone off the deep end.

My round-the-world trip finally started in late December 1996, and was supposed to last at least six months. But after 4.5 months on the road, I came back home totally exhausted. The reasons were many, but finding myself in Egypt after travelling through Asia solo for four months was pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back (no pun intended). I did end up “finishing” that trip by spending six weeks in Europe after taking three months to recover.

I learned a lot on this extended trip, about myself and about the world. It felt a bit like a rite of passage. I was still as enamoured of travel as ever: the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people, the foreignness of it all. It’s addictive when you’re a curious person like me. 🙂

From that point on, I’ve basically organized my life to focus on travel as much as possible, rather than climbing up the career ladder. I’ve taken extended breaks, worked part-time jobs and contracts, saved money whenever I could, and greatly reduced my spendings on material goods in order to focus on travel experiences. I’ve visited 56 countries so far and every continent (including Antarctica) and I’m far from done!

Every day during November, Bootsnall is presenting Indie travellers with a question or challenge. To participate in the challenge, register at Indie Travel Challenge 2015.

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