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Why do you travel?
What makes you want to see more of the world?
What does travel mean to you?
Have you ever actually stopped to really think through your reasons and motivations behind traveling?
We travel for many reasons and pondered these questions at the request of our travel insurance partner.
Allianz Travel Insurance, with whom we have our travel insurance, asked us a simple question, why do you travel?
As part of their “I Travel Because…” program, we outline our motivations around “We Travel Because…”
Why We Travel
A seemingly simple question, putting in words why we travel is not as easy as it may appear.
Our reasons for traveling are varied. They range between the obvious reasons to motivations that are deeper, emotional and transformative.
We both love to travel. The excitement and discovery makes us come alive in very profound ways.
We love traveling so much that in 2015, we became digital nomads and created our business, Authentic Food Quest, about culinary travels.
Following, we share our personal reasons for traveling and why we continue to travel together.
I Travel Because . . . Rosemary’s Travel Bug
“Daring to live the life I’ve always wanted is what fuels my love to travel. Discovering new places, meeting people in unfamiliar new surroundings, is for me life lived to the fullest.“ Rosemary, Authentic Food Quest
My passion for travel began even before I boarded my first flight for my first ever trip. The Children’s World Map was one of my favorite books as I dreamed about adventure and new places in the world.
And, whenever I met relatives or friends of my parents who had traveled around the globe, my desire for travel only grew deeper.
Years later, when I left Kenya to pursue my college education in the United States, a whole new exciting world to explore emerged.
I looked for every opportunity to travel to a new city or state and discover a new place of what has now become my home.
Throughout my advertising and marketing career, I continuously sought out opportunities to travel.
Whether I was traveling domestically or internationally, I was always up for discovering different cultures and new places.
Even today, whenever I book a flight and board a plane, I know that I am taking an exciting journey. A physical journey to the destination and an inner transformative journey.
Every country and every destination I go to, Ialways experience something that profoundly impacts me.
In Lisbon, over a beautiful meal with a Portuguese family, I was struck by our shared dreams and aspirations, despite coming from different parts of the world.
While in Vietnam, bold requests of local women to touch my skin and take pictures with a dark skinned woman shocked me. I had never been in such a situation before.
My emotions ranged between feeling like I’m on display, to pride in providing exposure as a black person “in the flesh”.
The joys of travel come in unexpected ways. And I love the growth, challenges and discoveries.
I Travel Because . . . Claire’s Travel Bug
“A deeper appreciation of new cultures, exploring beyond the familiar while learning new skills are some of what travel teaches. I travel for personal growth and new friends in different cultures.” Claire, Authentic Food Quest
At 14 years old, I took my first solo travel experience abroad, going to the UK from my home country France, to improve my English. I ended up late and missed my flight even after having checked in my bag.
I was at the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, by myself, trying to get my luggage back and reschedule my flight for the same day. Needless to say it was quite an adventure before even my trip began.
Despite this mishap to the land of Shakespeare, it didn’t stop me from wanting to travel again.
I was drawn to traveling from an early age. But for me, traveling isn’t just going for a few days to some foreign place.
I want to travel to immerse myself into a new place and explore as I find my way around new surroundings.
As soon as I had the opportunity to travel, I did. First, as an intern when completing my Master’s Engineering degree. I studied abroad for six months in Brazil and six months in Canada.
My love to travel to other places only continued after university. I later left France to work in the US, taking with me only two bags and an open mind.
I was excited about immersing myself into US daily life, working with different people and growing my career in a new country.
Even though I traveled extensively during my career, to Australia, Canada and many European countries, what I resented most about traveling started creeping in.
I was visiting countries for only a few days to just get business done. The freedom to get lost and find my way around in a foreign land had vanished.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved meeting new people and learning about how they do business in their countries.
But I knew I wanted to travel more and importantly, on my own schedule.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Travel is an adventure and once you’re stricken by wanderlust, you want to record those precious memories. This Wander Always Travel Journal allows you to plan your trip, write daily notes and offers prompts for self reflection after each trip. This compact, hard-covered journal easily fits in tote bags, handbags or backpacks.
We Travel Because . . . Authentic Food Quest
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.” ― Jonathan Gold
The year 2015, was a pivotal year for us. We decided to leave our successful careers, and continue traveling on our own terms.
We took a leap of faith, combined our love for food and travel to start a new venture.
We launched our quest to showcase and highlight the local food specialties from around the world, and set off to Argentina in August 2015.
We Travel Because . . . We Love to Explore
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
Traveling, for us, is first and foremost, a sense of adventure and in many ways stepping into the unknown.
It is about exploring the unfamiliar and being curious about what we find.
When we travel, food is at the core of our explorations. It’s always exciting to discover new foods and learn about their history and cultural significance.
The stories behind the food is what keeps us wanting to know more and explore even deeper.
What we do challenges you to go beyond your comfort zone. It’s not difficult and you can do the same.
It can be as simple as going to a local market in a foreign country. It’s having the courage to discover new cuisine and local products and trying them.
From the food markets in Bangkok, Lima, Phnom Penh and others, our discoveries have been countless.
This continuous exploration and adventure feeds our curiosity and sense of openness. And, that’s why we love to travel.
We Travel Because . . . It Gets Us Out of Our Comfort Zones
Traveling can be unsettling. And often at the beginning of a trip in a new place, you might feel frustrated or missing some of the familiar conveniences.
However, we feel that it is necessary to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones to avoid staying stuck in our routines.
On our first trip to Vietnam, we had to adjust to the constant noise and bustle of the lively cities.
As pedestrians, the simple act of crossing the streets and avoiding the never ending flow of cars and motorbikes was a daily challenge.
At some of the local restaurants, cleanliness is optional. While the food is quite tasty and flavorful, the floors are dirty. Culturally, Vietnamese customers throw food or used napkins on the floor while eating.
While these two experiences shocked us at first, we learned to embrace being comfortable with the uncomfortable.
We Travel Because . . . We Love to Learn About the World
“Travel broadens one’s perspectives about the world.” – Authentic Food Quest
We travel because we love to learn more about the world beyond what we see online or offline.
Travel gives us the luxury of leaving what we know behind and embracing the newness of other cultures.
Visiting Laos to explore the local food was a surprising discovery. Admittedly, we didn’t know much about the country and it was a new culture to discover.
In Luang Prabang, the culinary capital, we were amazed by the beautiful landscapes and gleaming temples. A land where Buddhism coexists within a Communist state.
Our trip was centered around food and discovering authentic Lao food and Royal Laos cuisine was an exceptional culinary adventure.
Or Lam, a braised buffalo stew, and one of the traditional dishes of Luang Prabang, we learned was favored by royalty.
Taking a cooking class in Luang Prabang was one of the highlights of the trip. We learned to make a variety of local dishes, including jaew, a dipping sauce and main staple in Laos food.
Through travel, we expand and grow. We gain exposure to new cultures while learning in a very immersive manner.
We Travel Because . . . We Love Meeting People
We travel because we love meeting people from other cultures and with different perspectives.
One of the best ways we get to meet locals is through food. We find food opens up dialogue and gives us a common language.
Our curiosity around food often sparks conversations with locals.
From simple questions like their favorite dishes to what markets or stores they frequent, we begin to build connections.
In Penang, Malaysia, we often ate street food at hawker centers popular with locals. One evening, a man sitting behind us approached us and wondered with surprise how we found the place.
After we told him and engaged in some small talk, he proceeded to tell Rosemary that she was not handling her chopsticks correctly.
Unbeknownst to Rosemary, he had been watching her eat. In a gentle manner, he took Rosemary’s hands and proceeded to teach her how to hold her chopsticks “Malay-style.”
We love sharing these serendipitous moments with locals. Beyond the precious memories, interactions like these are fun and at the same time connect us to the people and place.
Check Out Our Video About Penang Street Food in Malaysia
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So what about you, tell us what travel means to you? In the comments below, tell us “I travel because…”
Savor the Adventure!
Disclosure: This article has been written in partnership with Allianz Travel Insurance, our travel insurance provider. Authentic Food Quest has received financial compensation from Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company). As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest