Addicted to Travel

Letter 133

“Why do you travel?” The ominous question that is repeatedly greeted with silence because there are no answers. It’s an addiction.

Can we remove the negative connotations of ‘addiction’ for the 2 minutes you spend reading this letter? I’ve seen a bad addiction first hand so I know how it can be terrible and debilitating. But sometimes its incredible. It’s passion. It’s excitement. It’s infectious. It’s addictive.

“You are an addict. So be addicted. Just be addicted to something else.”

– Trainspotting T2, 2017

This quote really stuck with me when I first heard it in the second trainspotting film. I grew up knowing far too much about addiction and experienced it from a very young age. My dad was addicted to alcohol and it eventually ended his life. Over the years I have come to understand more about this and accept it. I’ve also learnt that it needn’t be the thing I remember most about him.

I remember his thirst for life, his poetic descriptions of the places he’s visited, his stories of flour and ketchup fights in his 20s in Oman, his enjoyment of country music sitting out on our patio in summer, his relaxed, comforting nature and ultimately, his kindness. I don’t like to think about his bad addiction.

addicted to travel 1.jpgaddicted to travel 5

I was once scared about inheriting his addictive nature and suffering the same illness. I was scared that drinking alcohol would drive me to the same fate. What I’ve realised over the years is that I have inherited my dad’s addictive nature. I’ve also realised that it’s an incredible thing and I’m proud of it. An addictive nature is not a bad thing. It’s what you are addicted to that makes all of the difference. Whilst my dad was addicted to alcohol, the thing that ended his life, he was also addicted to adventure, culture and wild experiences. These were the things that made his life. These are the things that make me happy to have inherited his addictive nature. I’ve inherited his addiction for travel and it makes me understand him more each time I do it.

addicted to travel 3

So much about travelling reminds me of him. Hiking to an incredible viewpoint reminds me of trekking up endless hills on various camping trips as a tiny 4 year old. Eating fresh, local food reminds me of holidays sitting in Greek tavernas being encouraged to try all of the scary different foods, all of which I love to this day. Meeting people from all over the world reminds me of the friendships my dad forged with so many people of different nationalities. It’s a totally addictive feeling.

 

addicted to travel painting

I love looking at paintings from his travels. He painted this at our hotel in Kenya, where we went for Christmas when I was only 8 years old.

 

I understand how an addiction becomes a part of you, more than an itch to scratch; more like a yearning, a necessity. It becomes your whole life and infects everything you do.

My addiction for travel helps me understand why my dad couldn’t stop the drinking. Somehow it comforts me to know that we share something so powerful. I know that one of the most important parts of my dad’s life was travelling, and I’m so glad it’s such an important part of mine.

I’m no longer fearful of inheriting his addiction – it’s already happened. Gladly, I’ve inherited his amazing, infectious addiction and thirst for life, and I’m proud of that.

addicted to travel 2

He was a singer, an artist, a comic, a historian, a hiker, an explorer and lastly an addict. He always will be the most fascinating and inspiring person I’ve ever known and I feel incredibly privileged to be able to call him my dad.

“You are an addict. So be addicted. Just be addicted to something else.”

When people ask me why I travel I have no words. No full sentences. No coherent explanations. I just have to do it. It’s a need, a choice, a love. It’s when I feel most myself and when I’m the version of myself I like the most. It’s when I feel closest to my dad.

I am an addict. So I will be addicted. I’ll just be addicted to travel.

Do you feel addicted to travel? How would you answer “why do you travel?”?

 

From Lou

About Me

 

PS. This is not how I thought this letter would turn out. I apologise for that. I was re-reading old posts and came across something I wrote over a year ago – a letter called ‘Choose Life‘ – and wanted to revisit the idea of being addicted to something positive – travel. Back then I didn’t understand it fully, I didn’t understand exactly why I was addicted to travel or how it heals me somehow. A year has changed a lot for me and I now understand it. I am addicted to travel and that will never change.

As addictions go, it could be a hell of a lot worse, right?

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2 thoughts on “Addicted to Travel

  1. lenam1985 says:

    I think if i didn’t have to work then i would be addicted to travel. But unfortunately i have to earn money to be able to go places, sucks lol and then you only get a set amount of time off! This was a lovely post x

    Liked by 1 person

    • aletterfromlou says:

      Absolutely! I’ve been lucky to save a lot through uni so that I can travel in my long summet breaks, and i intend to do the same when I’ve left uni. But I don’t think travelling has to mean long exotic getaways, it can be taking an hour walk to a new part of your city or taking the train somewhere closeby at the weekends. Or even reading a travel book and living vicariously through other people’s travel stories!! Thank you for reading and commenting 😊 x

      Liked by 1 person

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