We’ve all gone through the scenario in our heads: what would you grab if there was a fire and you had to get out of your house as quickly as possible? For most people the answer is always the same – photographs.

Whether they’re in albums, on your hard drive, or – shamefully – as most of mine are, in a shoebox in the cupboard, that’s usually what we’d go for first (after family and pets, of course!). The reasoning is simple – memories. Photographs are that link to all the good times we’ve had, the wonderful things we’ve done and seen, and the people we’ve met along the way.  And how many of these are travel photographs? I’m not just talking about that once in a lifetime overseas holiday, but rather the road trips with friends, the visits to local sights, going on safari, hitting the beach … those happy memories are worth a truck-load more than the paper they’re printed on.

People don’t see their life pass before their eyes and wish they’d bought that Prada handbag when it was on sale. Or perhaps they do, but most of us think about all the travel we still want to do – all the places to explore and cultures to experience.

I’ve travelled to somewhere between 10 and 15 countries in my short life, mostly on a tight budget where I’ve shared lodging with cockroaches, mice and huge spiders, but it was all worth it for what I got to see, experience and learn.  Travel has taught me so much about myself; about what’s important to me and about my own limitations. It has also taught me about beauty, about people and about generosity of spirit. Even wealthy tourists staying in the top hotels will undoubtedly leave a place richer in knowledge and with a greater respect of other cultures, other lands.

The truth is, travel to many of us seems unattainable, unaffordable, when in truth it’s only a matter of opinion. The definition of travel (ˈtrav(ə)l | verb) is to make a journey, typically of some length. 

Length. Not distance. We don’t need to go miles. In fact most travel can exist on your own doorstep (or thereabouts).

So the next time you think about blowing your paycheque on retail therapy or upgrading your television, think about what you really want and what’s within your grasp. Ironically you’ll probably only end up buying that new flat screen TV and find yourself watching incredible travel documentaries about places you never got to visit because you bought a new flat screen TV!


This article first appeared on Computicket Travel.