We Travel Because . . .

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, who is running a program called “I Travel Because…”

We are signed up for Allianz annual All Trips Premier Plan this year, and can’t wait to tell you more about it.

Before that, we answer the question and talk about our motivations around, “We Travel Because…”

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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 make us come alive in very profound ways.  

We love traveling so much that in 2015, we created our business, Authentic Food Quest, around traveling and exploring the local flavors.

Following, we share our personal reasons for traveling and why we continue to travel together.

Claire and Rosemary in Hoi An by Authentic Food Quest and I Travel BecauseClaire and Rosemary eating black sesame dessert soup in Hoi An, Vietnam

I Travel Because . . .  Rosemary’s Travel Bug

My passion for travel began even before I boarded my first flight. The Children’s World Map was one of my favorite books.

And, whenever I met relatives or my parent’s friends who had traveled to different parts of the world, my desire for travel only grew deeper.

Years later after I left Kenya to pursue my college education in the United States, a whole new world to explore emerged.

I looked for every opportunity to travel to a new city or state and discover a new part of what has now become my home.

Throughout my advertising and marketing career, I continuously looked for opportunities to travel. Whether it was domestically or internationally, I was always up for the adventure.

Even today, whenever I book a flight and board a plane, I know that I am going on a journey. A physical journey to the destination and an inner transformative journey.

In every country and at every destination, I experience something that profoundly impacts me.

For example, 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 traveling come in unexpected ways. And I love the growth, challenges, and discoveries.

Rosemary In Vietnam Authentic Food QuestOne of the many Vietnamese ladies wanting a picture with Rosemary

I Travel Because. . . Claire’s Travel Bug

At 14 years old, I took my first solo trip abroad, going to the U.K. from my home country France, to improve my English.  I ended up late and missed my flight even after checking in my bag.

Left by myself at the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, I had to get my luggage back and reschedule my flight for the same day. Needless to say, it was quite an adventure before the 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 early on. But traveling for me wasn’t just going for a few days to some foreign place.

My desire was to immerse myself in a new destination, explore and find my way around unfamiliar places.

As soon as I had the opportunity to travel, I did. First, when completing part of my Master’s degree. I studied abroad for 6 months in Brazil and 6 months in Canada.

And again after college, packing two bags and leaving France, to go work in the US, the land of making business happen, as I saw it.

Although I traveling extensively during my Engineering career, to Australia, Canada, and many European countries, what I resent most about traveling started to creep in.

I was visiting countries for a few days to get business done and the chance to get lost and find my way around a foreign land had vanished.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved meeting new people and learning how they do business in their country.

But I also knew I wanted to travel more and importantly, on my own schedule.

Claire with her Backpack by Authentic Food QuestClaire setting off for adventure

Culinary Travels with Authentic Food Quest

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

Traveling, for us, is first and foremost an adventure. It is about 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. We are always excited to discover new foods and learn about where they come from.

The stories behind the food are what keeps us wanting to know more and exploring even deeper.

And, the adventure doesn’t have to be challenging.

It can be as simple as going to a local market in a foreign country and discovering new fruits and produce we had never seen before.

From the food markets in Bangkok, Lima, Phnom Penh, and others, our discoveries have been countless.

This exploration and adventure feeds our curiosity and keeps us open to the possibilities. And that’s what we love about traveling.

Rice Basket in Cebu Philippines by Authentic Food QuestBeautifully packed rice wrapped in banana leaves at a local market in Cebu, Philippines

We Travel Because. . .  It Gets Us out of Our Comfort Zones

Traveling can be unsettling. And often at the beginning of a trip at a new location, we might feel frustrated or miss 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.

Motor bikes Hanoi for Food in Vietnam by Authentic food questA typical busy street full of motorbikes in Hanoi

We Travel Because . . . We Love to Learn About the World

We travel because we love to learn more about the world than what we see in the online or offline media. Travel gives us the luxury of leaving what we know behind and opening up to discovering new things.

Earlier this year, we traveled to Laos, a country we had never been to before and admittedly didn’t know much about.

In Luang Prabang, the culinary capital, we were amazed by the gleaming temples, monks in saffron robes all around and the existence of Buddhism coexisting 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 experiential manner. Travel broadens our perspectives about the world.

Claire and Rosemary In Front of the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang by Authentic Food QuestAt the impressive Royal Temple in Luang Prabang

We Travel Because. . . We Love Meeting People

We travel because we love meeting people from different horizons and cultures.

One of the best ways we get to meet people is through food. We have found that 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 ate 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. These interactions help us connect to the country deeper through the people.

Rosemary in Malaysia by Authentic Food QuestRosemary getting lessons on how to hold chopsticks Malay-style

So, what about you, why do you travel?
In the comments below, tell us “I travel because…”

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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.

53 thoughts on “We Travel Because . . .”

  1. I travel to experience new things. Widen the mind and enjoy the world from a very different perspective. It’s amazing why people choose to not travel.

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  2. I travel because I do not know any other way 🙂 And yes all of the reasons you mentioned are a part of it. But the purpose of my travels have definitely changed over the years and I hope it gets more meaningful in the years to come 🙂

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  3. Fantastic post! I have loved following your foodie adventures ladies. 🙂

    I travel because I love seeing new vistas and walking all over the world. I am always drawn to trails that will lead me to high points, both physically and mentally.

    If I can then finish the day trying amazing new food, that is the cherry on the top. 😀

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  4. These are all such great reasons to travel, and really inspiring stories attached to them. I travel because I love learning and experiencing new things.

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  5. I guess it pretty much would be the same for everyone who loves to travel, all the reasons you’ve quoted! I travel because, sometimes, somethings I see, shock me, or surprise me and I love being surprised! I love seeing how different yet similar people are across the world, I love being out of my comfort zone and I love to experience different foods and cuisines from around the world. Just like you, food is a big part of my travel experience too.

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  6. Food is such a wonderful way to explore a new place. It gives you a literal taste of an unfamiliar city or country, and when you approach a new cuisine with curiosity and respect, the vendors, farmers and cooks share a piece of themselves with you. I love to travel for all these reasons, too!

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  7. I LOVE this post! I’ve always loved travel for the push out of comfort zone and open-mindedness that comes with learning about other cultures. I’m a strong believer of travel teaching you more than what you would learn in a textbook!

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  8. I’ve found that I travel because I love to explore new places and find little hidden gems. My husband travels because… I make him go with me haha! He never traveled much before marrying me but I can see him getting more excited about trips now. We’re foodies too, so we loveee finding good dishes along the way.

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  9. I travel because it makes me happy. I find joy in exploring with much wife and two boys. Whether our travels are to a nearby town or across the globe we learn so much each trip. Seeing the sights, tasting the foods, and experiencing the cultures are all aspects of why we travel. But, to sum it all up, we travel because it brings us joy.

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  10. I travel because I love exploring new places, photographing new and beautiful sites, learning and connecting with different cultures, and spending quality time with my husband away from home.

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  11. I love origin stories and especially about travel. What unique backgrounds you have! How wonderful to have found each other to share the travel bug. Thanks too for the Allianz link as I’m getting an international trip together and will need that .

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  12. You are right, it is hard to really explore all the reasons we travel. Being curious has always driven me in my professional and personal career. We are enjoying more and more travelling for food. And learning that the food experiences talk so much about the history and culture. Thanks for making me pause to think about this.

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    • You are welcome Linda, and glad you had some time to reflect on the questions. Writing the article put the questions in sharp focus for us and forced us to get clear on our motivations. Myriad reasons and growth is at the center of it all. Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. As I scroll through your different explanations of why you travel, many of which resonate with me personally, drums reminiscent of the Mesoamerican past beat in the distant background, I can’t help but contemplate as the beginnings of a manifesto. Anyways – well put. Here’s to all of those serendipitous moments!

    Reply
  14. You’ve pretty much summed up the reasons why I like to travel too. Your experience in Vietnam was an interesting one, when a woman asked to take a photo with you because of your skin. I’ve been stared and sneered at when I was in Europe, either because of my skin/race. It’s confronting, but after a while I didn’t let that bother me. And you’re right about the street food scene in Vietnam too, where cleanliness is an option lol. But the food is good tho, right ;p

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    • Great to read your message Fairuz. The being so starkly “different” experience is one I am honestly still processing 🙂 You are right with the street food in Vietnam, you look at the bowl in front of you and not the floor 🙂 Cheers.

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  15. I totally agree with you both, travel creates experiences that we just cannot form otherwise. Our favorite way to travel is to immerse ourselves in the food. Looking forward to our next adventure this summer 🙂

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  16. I travel because, as you said, travelling gets us out of our confort zone but most of all because travelling is the most exciting thing we can do on this crazy planet x

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  17. I love this post and it’s something I think about all of the time. I travel because my parents took us on extensive road trips around the U.S. when I was a kid. It triggered my love for travel and ever since, I’m crazy about exploring new places, meeting different people, immersing myself in cultures, and seeing everything that the world has to offer. It’s made me a stronger, smarter, well-rounded, and gentle person.

    Reply

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