Why do we travel?
Lately, the travel magazines are full of wonderment at Reality Tourism - upper middle-class travellers from Western democracies wanting to view the slums of Brazil
and the shanty townships of South
This trend does not surprise me:
we travel to experience a completely different world, be it a pacifying beach in the tropics,
or a hectic marketplace full of
goats and chickens.
I was born to a travelling family
and did not think much about reasons, since my father worked for government airlines, and every January we received
a set of four taxpayer-subsidized tickets for each member of our family - twenty tickets in all.
My mother and father and my grandparents
decided where I went as a child:
Old Orchard Beach in Maine, Lake Sturgeon in Ontario,
Tampa in Florida, and Toronto and Vancouver. Later, Canterbury and Arosa and Zurich and London and Paris and
In my late teens, careless and
I would just dash out to the airport
with our company's schedule in
and a carry-on bag in the
other hand, embarking alone for Antigua, London, Vienna, Paris, or Athens. With those free tickets, anywhere
in North America was considered a short trip.
Since my parents did not give me any money,
and were occupied with Bleak House style divorce issues, my travel funds came solely from
summer jobs such as supermarket clerk or data entry clerk. I was enterprising, and did not want to waste those free
I was the only woman/white person to stay at a guest house in the Caribbean that only Caribbean travellers frequented. As a university
student, I frequented libraries a lot, and managed to find this budget jewel, in a guide just made for inter-island travelers.
Apparently many people who lived in the Caribbean needed lower prices, as they worked between
these glorious islands.
Operated by a motherly old black
lady, I felt quite adventuresome. The
place was spotless and respectable, though spartan.
My father gave
me Budget Guides for London, and I frequented Russell Square hotels, where I could walk to the British Museum, and look at
Egyptian art. Older ladies took care of me there, supplying a British breakfast that lasted me all day.
Here are some of my eventful