Why Do We Travel?

S1E1: Why do we travel?
Voiceover: [00:00:00] Hey everyone, welcome to check in and check out. Before we start, I wanna tell you why this podcast exists and it involves a bit of a story, so bear with me.
Voiceover: I wasn't prepared for a hike and the dusty walking track wasn't really well marked. And I also wasn't really sure where it would lead,
but I decided to give it a go anyway, it was a Midsummer's Day in the Cinque Terre, in Italy and I was a week into probably the only really big trip I've ever done in my life,
this is the actual audio of that day, by the way.
Had I been in the actual wilderness and faced a rickety bridge followed by a dusty walking track, I probably wouldn't have taken the chance. But on that day, I was one of heaps of tourists plotting their way up the mountains. So how bad could it be? Presumably there'd be a nice view up the top of the hill.
I could sit and look at the med from the top of the cliffs and head back down again to Riomaggiore where I'd come [00:01:00] from.
Now, There were many things I was not prepared for, both on the whole trip and on that day specifically, number one, the hike itself.
Voiceover: The track was very steep and very rocky, and I was woefully unprepared
Voiceover: That's me telling a random French lady coming the other way that I needed to stop and breathe for a bit. I only did high school French, but did she just say there were 650 steps to the top?
The second thing that I was not prepared for was that at the top of the hill I would meet these two ladies.
(Audio from video: "You made it!") I stopped recording at that moment when we met, but I kind of wish I hadn't.
I think one was from the Netherlands, the other was from South Africa who lived in New Zealand for a bit. Honestly, it really pains me that I don't remember. Either way these two would go on to give me the best travel advice I have ever received. And it's words that honestly, in a small way changed my life.
and it wasn't the only piece of brilliant advice [00:02:00] that I received from other travelers. I met along the way on that holiday train timetables from an American family. I shared a cable car with, in Switzerland, the closest supermarket during a game of Cards against Humanity in a hostel in Italy, or random historical facts from a Canadian guy I was staying with in London.
Fast forward six years to fairly recently, and I had a moment where I thought, I really need to prioritize travel in my life. But how, like where do I go? What do I do? And then I remembered travel advice from other travelers is honestly the best form of travel advice. And now as I prepare to do a little bit more traveling of my own, I thought I'd find as many travelers as I could to talk about their stories and their best pieces of advice.
And then share them with you so we can create a traveler community, share our experiences and expertise, and celebrate the life-changing moments that traveling can bring us. I'm Chris Plum Rich. Welcome to check in and check out.[00:03:00]
(theme music)
Voiceover: I have had the privilege for this podcast of talking to all sorts of people who've taken all sorts of trips. Quite a lot of folks had really good, really practical advice about where to go, how to not get scammed, where to find the best experiences, and we will get to all of that stuff. But for now, I thought we might start with something a little bit simpler.
Why travel in the first place? What on earth makes us put our money into plane tickets and hotels and noise canceling headphones when that same money could buy a very nice car or a home theater system or, you know, rent. It's an important question to answer. After all, it's a key element in deciding how you like to travel and therefore the types of trips you should be doing.
I also thought this question might be a good way of introducing you to some of these fantastic people who chose to give up their time to share their advice for this podcast, and also the people that didn't choose and were made to be on this [00:04:00] podcast like my poor wife Kate,
Kate's done. A little bit more traveling than me, but we're kind of in the same boat and that we haven't traveled for a long while.
Kate Minotti: It is exciting. It is something that really motivates me and it's something that I aspire to achieve. Really. It's like an achievement. It's, and it's also a freedom.
Chris: Mm-hmm.
Kate Minotti: It's freeing because you're in that moment and you're experiencing different cultures and things that you didn't expect or is not the norm for you. You're outside of your comfortable existence in like, like house and like your own town or your own city, and you get to actually go out and see what else is out there.
Voiceover: Yeah, freedom Freedom's a great place to start. Maybe you want to travel because you're yearning to escape the ordinary and get out into something exciting, which is [00:05:00] exactly what Evan Leal was looking to do.
Evan's travels have taken him all the way to living in Hungary right now, though his troops started out with a cross-country motorbike tour from his home in California. He says that travel was a way of giving him back some freedom and escaping the things that were weighing him down.
Evan Leal: I wasn't content with what I was doing with my life. I had a lot of like moral reservations about what I did. I used to be in the US military and so like there was a lot of just turmoil inside my own head and I was dealing with a relationship that wasn't right for me and I just needed to like shut everything off and like get away from everything.
Voiceover: So Evan quit his day job in aerospace, sold everything and hit the road on his motorcycle with his best mate at 23 years old.
Evan Leal: So I left California. I was like, okay, I'm just gonna head east.
Like, I didn't know where I was going. I genuinely, like, I had no idea.
Voiceover: Now, this is where Evan and I are completely different, which I'm learning through making this podcast. You should have seen the spreadsheet that I took when I travelled to Europe every day was [00:06:00] meticulously planned, and that's one of the things I do want to explore in a later episode, actually, exactly how some folks can seem to just get out there without a plan and sort themselves out on the way. But whether you are a meticulous planner or a go with the flow type, you'll definitely identify with that feeling of wanting to escape the daily grind and just get out there.
Evan Leal: It's like every day is a fresh day to go out and like see something, see something different from where you normally are meet different people and experience different things you would've never been exposed to otherwise.
And for me, I know how much it's brought into my life and how much wellbeing that it has brought into me. I find it immensely important. I love surrounding myself with other travelers and other people that have been doing similar things that I've been doing.
Voiceover: Another two-wheeled adventurer you'll hear from on this podcast is Mark Gresser. If you're already following on Instagram at Check In and check out pod, firstly Gold Star for you. But secondly, then you'll already know about Mark Gresser. I've tried to make sure I talk to all types of travelers on this podcast, [00:07:00] and if one extreme was the weekend getaway type traveler,
then the other extreme would be Mark. This man is a man who hopped on his bicycle in his driveway in Perth, and then casually rode to France.
Mark Gresser: I, yeah, left the driveway and headed north to the top of Australia towards Asia. to the city of Darwin. And I decided to get the shortest plane ride I could, which was to the island of Timor and the country of Timor Leste. Landed in this capital city there, Dili, and then basically island hopped through the Indonesian archipelago towards mainland Asia.
Voiceover: From there, mark cycled right across Asia through the subcontinent, and through the Himalayas popping out on the other side into Europe and ending up in France before Covid stopped the journey and he came back home. So why on earth do you give up the supposedly quote unquote, normal lifestyle for life on the back of a bicycle,
Mark Gresser: guess as a kid I was always curious, [00:08:00] curious about everything. I ended up getting into science because that was a way of learning about the world and, and finding answers. I guess that extended into wanting to understand everything there is about the world, about the people, the cultures, the environments basically what is out there.
Voiceover: you're gonna hear more of Mark's story in coming episodes, and trust me, whether you've traveled a little or traveled a lot, you've got more in common with him than you think.
Voiceover: Whether or not you're looking for an escape from the daily grind, perhaps maybe you're interested in travel because you're interested in learning about the world around you. This is Britt you'll be hearing a lot more from her next episode because I wanna find out how she went to over 12 countries and didn't spend ascent on accommodation. That's a good one to listen out for. But Britt says the reason that got her traveling in the first place was to understand more about how people live in the places she travels to,
Britt: I think I've gone so many [00:09:00] places and seen so much. , but now I really enjoy going to a place and just understanding how other people interact with each other and how they go about their daily life. I love just going to a new place and just walking around a city or a town and just watching people
Voiceover: liz Fleming is a grants coach and business mentor, and she travels for much the same reasons as Brit. Growing up at the bottom end of the world in New Zealand meant Liz began traveling to satisfy what's probably both a kiwi and an Aussie rite of passage when you're a young adult that is getting off the island and learning about the big wide world out there beyond the sea.
Liz Fleming: Just realizing that not everyone is the same. You know, we're not all brought up the same. Different cultures, different values. What's important? You know, people don't have the same luxuries or even basic things that we take for granted.
Voiceover: In deciding why travel's important to you? I think it's really important to also delineate the difference between [00:10:00] traveling and maybe just going on holiday. Christian Reeve is a podcaster, voice actor, and a whole bunch of other things that you can find out about. On his website. He tells us the story of a trip to Bulgaria where he learned exactly what that crucial difference meant.
Christian Reeve: I was on the beach and after about an hour I got really, really bored. And I was like, wow, is this this what people do on hol... Like, and don't get me wrong, I'd been to other countries before then I traveled and stuff, but I just remember just laying down on the beach and being like, what is this?
How do people do this? And I think in that moment I realized something about myself, that in order for me to enjoy travel, I need to like go and explore, go get in with the locals, go, to some random town outside that no one would go to and really embrace the culture.
Voiceover: Now look, please don't turn off if that's not your type of holiday. Right? I think it's become fashionable to be like, oh, you've gotta get off the beaten path. Or otherwise, somehow your travel experience is invalid if you're not trekking through [00:11:00] untouched wilderness,
in fact, even Christians at pains to point out that if that's your type of holiday, that's, that's totally cool. It's more just that part of working out why you travel is to work out what inspires you and what doesn't, and maybe sitting by the pool inspires you.
Christian Reeve: I know. I'm like piling on people that like that kind of holiday. If you like that kind of holiday there's no problem with that. For me, like one day of that would be fine. But then I wanna go and do stuff, see stuff
Voiceover: Maybe you're not that bothered about what it is that you see when you travel. You just wanna walk around and see stuff. Maybe it's the impact that traveling has on you once you get back home. That's the most important thing to you.
One of the things that came up time and time again about all the people I asked was how much traveling really gave them perspective on where they lived already as it did for Christian
Christian Reeve: I left the UK kind of being sick and annoyed with it and just like, ugh, screw the uk.
Like, you know, came back, had a newfound appreciation for home and it's [00:12:00] also kind of made me realize that everywhere you live in the world has, its good and its bad aspects.
There's no perfect place, there's no perfect person. Nothing is perfect in life, but that's where the perfection lies in the imperfection.
Voiceover: or maybe traveling. Gives you that insight, that opportunity to reflect on what makes you, you.
Christian Reeve: Wherever we go in the world, we are communicating with other humans, people who have totally different circumstances and, and lifestyles to us, but who are fundamentally the same as us at their core.
So really, we're learning about ourselves. We're rediscovering things about ourselves. We're learning about things we never have been experiencing or been exposed to. And it's like, A process of reconnecting with those things and reimagining and, and discovering things, but also learning at the same time.
It's a mixture of all those different things, and it all comes down to how much you immerse yourself into whatever activities you're doing or whatever place you are visiting.
Mark Gresser: You know, I don't want to be an old person sitting at [00:13:00] home thinking, oh, I never got to see what that place was like, or, how these people live. you know, You can only go so far reading books and, and watching documentaries and that sort of thing. There's nothing better than getting out and, seeing the world with your own two eyes and passing your observation through your own mind when you're out there.
Voiceover: There's so many reasons why you might want to get out there and see the world. But I think it's an important question to answer, if not, before you set out, then giving yourself the time to reflect on what makes travel important to you during the time you're actually traveling.
And probably most importantly, asking other travelers that question and they might give you an answer that you'd never thought of. It's a topic that could really fill its own podcast. Which funnily enough, it does.
Shannon Strong is the host of said podcast, and it's literally called Why We Travel. She spends a lot of time asking other people why they travel, so I could not resist asking Shannon herself.
Shannon Strong: Yeah, it's so funny cause you're absolutely right. I ask [00:14:00] everyone, and I've never answered this question out loud to anyone else before, so it's kind of fun to have it put back on me for once. But gosh, there's so many reasons I travel. The first thing that just comes to mind is when I travel, I feel like I just meet so many cool people in the world that open up my perspective on life just that much more and make me see a different viewpoint that I might not have seen before.
And that just brings me so much joy. I feel like it helps me understand myself better, understand the world better, just be more empathetic to people, to life. And then, Additionally, I feel like travel just makes me so present in what I'm doing, and sometimes when I'm traveling, I feel like I'm just my best version of myself.
And so I feel like I'm always kind of trying to like chase that because it just feels most authentic to me and I love storytelling and people.
So I think that's like a huge part of why I love to travel because I just meet so many people that have such cool stories in the world. So that's such a big part of it. But gosh, there's a million [00:15:00] reasons why I love it. But I think that sums it up the best right now.
Voiceover: A million reasons is probably too many reasons to end this podcast with. So instead, I thought I'd end with the person who's always given me clarity when it comes to matters of travel, with the hope that she might give you some clarity too.
Liz Plumridge: Okay. Well, I'm Liz. and you are my son.
Chris: Thank you for indulging my podcast project. I'm still putting you to work.
Liz Plumridge: True.
Chris: my mid thirties, I'm still saying, mom, can you help me out with this school project
Voiceover: yep. It's my mom. One of the earliest memories I have of wanting to travel was finding my mum's diaries of a trip that she took as a young adult to Thailand, Europe, and the United States on one of those good old fashioned round the world tickets before I was on the scene graciously.
She actually let me read those diaries when I was a kid, and it's the stories of mum's experiences while she was traveling that really convinced me that travel was actually a good idea. [00:16:00] So why does my mum, and then by extension me, why do we travel?
Liz Plumridge: Well, I think that we live in an environment that we get used to and that influences our decisions and how we see people and what we do with our own time. And so sometimes that can be very narrow, and by going and traveling, whether it be interstate or around Australia or overseas, it opens your mind.
It gives you the opportunities to see lots of different cultures and lots of different ways that people live. And it may be just the way that the Northern Queenslanders live, you know, can be quite different from how we live in Victoria. It may be someone living in the mountains or someone living by the beach.
, their focus, their lifestyle is different. when you go to Queensland Beaches and you walk up and down the [00:17:00] beaches, and we have pleasure in doing that while we're there. But you see the people that are there often, obviously regularly, they're just the regulars and they're out every morning walking along that beach in Queensland, then that's their lifestyle and that's how they kind of expect life to be.
You know, and we come back to Victoria in the middle of August and we are bunkered down and we are very narrow focused just thinking about ourselves and trying to stay warm. And I'll think back to those Queenslanders walking along that beach and think, well, wow, that's a very different lifestyle.
So I guess it helps you kind of hone in on what's important to you and maybe walking along the beach or going into some other country is not. The real focus of travel in that you are seeing amazing things, you're [00:18:00] doing incredible things, you have lots of opportunities, but it also makes you think about, well, what do I choose to do when I'm at home, when I'm not on holidays and I'm not traveling
Chris: in, in what way do you mean that affects the, what you do at home?
Liz Plumridge: Well, I guess what's important to me, so we only have a certain amount of time that we are alive and if we spend a lot of our time not focusing on, on what's important to us, then we are wasting those days. So when I went overseas originally all those years ago, I came back thinking that we lived in the best country in the world, but I also came back thinking that I was pretty happy with the choices that I was making in, in my life style.
In a way it made me feel dissatisfied because [00:19:00] there was so much more out there to do and see, but in a way it made me feel satisfied. Because there was ways , of living your life that you learned from other people. Ways to maybe live and ways to not live, things to do and focus on, and things to let go.
Chris: go.
Voiceover: So I hope that maybe after you've hit subscribe and rated this podcast five stars, obviously, and told a million friends and told that publisher friend of yours that I'm open to a book deal after not even one episode. Absolutely. Thanks for asking that. You might take a moment to reflect on why you travel and let me know so that we can put it in our next episode, or at least it might give you an idea of what type of trip you should be planning next.
Voiceover: And as I hope you realize by now, this podcast is all about sharing our knowledge and our travel tips. So to finish, I ask every single guest after [00:20:00] every single interview, for the best travel tip that someone else has given them with the hope that it might help us. We'll play one at the end of every episode.
And who else should we start with than the person who gave me my first dose of travel inspiration all those years ago?
Liz Plumridge: I think the best piece of advice that I've been given, and it can be assigned to travel as well as to many things, is if you are doing something important or significant, you have to allow your brain to be able to almost switch on to remember it.
When you're traveling you know, you can get to the end of the. , and many people will say this if they're playing in a sports final or something like that. I don't remember it. Mm-hmm.
So I think one of the best pieces of advice that I've been given is that you actually say you stop and you think, yes, [00:21:00] I'm in Paris. I'm walking through the streets and I'm holding a French baguette.
Chris: Mm-hmm.
Liz Plumridge: And make that a picture in your brain and go, wow, here I am doing this. I've waited so many years to do this, or it's been a life dream, or whatever.
If you just experience the dream and come to the end of the day and go, that was a great day. You've missed the opportunity to grasp the moment and the moment when you travel is the significant time. is the memory that will be staying in your brain, and you'll get a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment from it.
So stop, take time to register where you are, what you're doing, and that moment, and create its own picture in your own brain.
Voiceover: So what about me? What's that magical piece of travel advice that I received on that hike in Italy? [00:22:00] Well, after a good long while of huffing and puffing of scrambling over rocks and past vineyards and trying to work out if the person coming the other way needed a hello, or they needed a ciao, or they needed a salut, When they smiled at this crazy Australian with a camera around his neck, that was swing.
It was, I was a disaster, but I made it to the top. And soon after I had my two new friends walk up to the lookout point as well. And they were huffing a lot less than I was, which didn't make me feel that great. But
Voiceover: I stopped my video and we got chatting and I can't remember that much of what we spoke about. Much of it was pleasantries. But the next moment I can still hear in my brain clear as day,
they asked me, where are you going to next after this? , I thought I might walk back down the way I came. Why you didn't come here to see the same thing twice? [00:23:00] Thought that was a fair point. So I didn't, I kept walking
Voiceover: I stopped in the next town, which is called Manirola, I found a tap in a little town square, and I washed the sweat off my face and it was cold and it was refreshing and it was awesome. And so was the town. So I took that to heart for the rest of the trip. I walked a different way back to the hostel every day.
I took the funicular up the mountains, but I took the cable car down. I tried to get a different thing to eat every day, talk to different people, get a different experience. And then when I arrived back home, I tried to take that advice with me. I took a different train to work. I tried to hunt down different places to eat new walks, new bike rides, and new towns to visit.
It honestly changed my life, and if you are one of those people who believe we are not on this earth to see the same thing twice, then hopefully this podcast is for you.
Voiceover: Next time on check in and check out, we're gonna answer that question that I reckon a lot of beginner travelers like me will be asking.
How is it that some people seem to always be off on another trip? Why can't I be like one of those people that travels all the time?
Britt: I don't know beforehand, I even really knew where Montenegro was.
Chris Chamberlin (Point Hacks): I generally don't fly economy on my holidays now
Voiceover: Make sure you subscribed so you don't miss the next episode.
Check in and check out was produced on the traditional lands of the Bunurong people. We pay respects to them, their elders, and the other indigenous peoples from the lands where this podcast was produced. This podcast was written and hosted by me, Chris Plumridge with production by Jet Streamer. This episode featured Evan Leal.
He has a podcast called Existence, Britney Sharman from the Traveling House, sitters Christian Reeve, you can find him on the Christian Reef Podcast amongst a million other things, Liz Fleming, who's the efficiency coach and can help get your business running so well. You can take holidays whenever you want.
Well, maybe [00:25:00] not, but you get the idea. And Shannon Strong, whose podcast again is called Why We Travel, and thank you also to the people who don't have anything to plug, namely my wife Kate, and my mum Liz. Thanks for humoring me.
A huge thank you to all our guests for contributing to this episode. You can find out more about where to find them in the show notes. Please leave us a review on your favorite review site. It really does help make the show better and it also spreads the word.
If you've got a travel story to share yourself, if you've got a comment on how I can make this show better or a hot tip, this show is all about sharing our travel knowledge. So if you'd like to participate, then you can head to our website. It's check in and check out.net. Click on Contribute. You can apply to be on the show.
You can leave us a voice message that we might play on the show or just say hello and tell me what you think. And of course you can also reach out via Instagram. Check in and check out pod. But for now, Cabin crew, please disarm the doors and crosscheck and I'll see you next episode.

Creators and Guests

Chris Plumridge
Chris Plumridge
Founder at Jet Streamer, Host of Check In & Check Out
Christian PK Reeve
Christian PK Reeve
Actor, voice actor, podcaster, musician, content creator, marketing professional, and much more!
Shannon Strong
Shannon Strong
Photographer and host of the "Why We Travel" podcast.
Why Do We Travel?
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