Every world traveler has heard something similar—usually from someone who doesn’t travel: “Why on earth do you want to go there?” We asked our travelers to tell us how they typically answer these types of questions. Here are some of our favorite responses. If you haven’t shared yours yet, send it in an email to email@example.com.
My husband and I have taken to answering this question by saying, “Because it’s there.” Why would you not want to see, hear, and experience all different parts of the world?
Thanks to: Leanne & Robert P., 17-time travelers & 4-time Vacation Ambassadors from Highland Heights, OH
Challenge Your Comfort Zone
I do get that question frequently from friends and family. My typical answer is that I want to see something I haven’t seen before.
I also get told that I should go somewhere where it is comfortable and luxurious, like a resort along a tropical beach. My typical answer to that is that if I wanted to be totally comfortable, I would stay home because that is the most comfortable place I know.
Thanks to: Stanley G., 11-time traveler from Buffalo Grove, IL
Never once in all my travels was I asked this question until I told friends I would be going to Croatia. I guess I responded with the ordinary, "Because it's there!" But I did follow it up by saying that I've never visited that area. It's a neighbor to the Yugoslavia I read about growing up in school, and gave me the opportunity to visit some of the countries that had detached themselves from the whole to establish their own identities and rebuild themselves after the difficulties of the 90s.
Croatia itself was a dream—beautiful, so friendly, lovely everything! (And, I might add, I never drank so much delicious brandy in all my adult life! Wonderful!) I'm so happy I went there and I'll never forget it. I highly recommend it to those who haven't yet put it on their bucket list—it belongs at the top.
Thanks to: Frances A., 14-time traveler from McLean, VA • Dubrovnik & Beyond: From the Adriatic to the Alps
Because We Can
When we have gotten the question, "You're going there? Why?" I have answered, "Because it seemed interesting and we haven't been," or, "Because now we can!" There are so many reasons to go places we haven't been or just travel period.
We also feel it's an example to set for our children and grandchildren. It takes planning, saving, discussion, coming to consensus, studying, and sharing. What great life exercises. I do hope that those who can do.
Thanks to: Karen S., first-time O.A.T. traveler from Puyallup, WA
As an avid traveler I am constantly asked the question, “Why are you going there?”
My response is, "Because I can."
I just can't imagine why people do not travel. I have traveled the world—I just got back from South Africa, where we saw both the good (on safari) and the bad (at the Apartheid Museum).
I have also taken my children with me and they have learned that the world is the best classroom.
Thanks to: Karen K., 4-time traveler from St. Charles, MI
Not Better than the Real Thing
My husband and I own a bakery and many of our customers enjoy hearing about our many trips to such places as Thailand and Cambodia, Israel and Jordan, and Spain and Portugal. One concerned customer, however, said something to me that I'll never forget. She said, "I just don't understand why you would risk your life traveling abroad when you can visit all those places in Epcot Center in Disney World."
I was flabbergasted. All I could say in response was, "You realize those places in Epcot Center are not real, don't you?"
Thanks to: Linda M., 3-time traveler from South Park, PA
The Ultimate Snowbirds
In the middle of a long, cold Detroit winter, my parents had plans to visit the penguins in Antarctica with Grand Circle. My Uncle Harry asked the typical question: "Why do you want to go there?!”
To which Mother responded, "Well, for one thing, it's warmer there right now!"
Thanks to: Margaret S., 2-time traveler from Traverse City, MA
Going Back to Give Back
I have been on tour to Africa about ten times with Grand Circle and O.A.T. But an additional two times I was not touring. I have volunteered twice at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) Education and Research Center in Namibia getting cheetahs ready to live on their own in the wild and raising Anatolian Shepherds (Turkish guard dogs), which are with livestock from the day they are born and bond with—in this case—cattle and goats. Farmers are given these dogs when they are about three years old and have been trained; the loss of livestock to predators (like lions, leopards, cheetahs, packs of hyenas, and packs of wild dogs) is quite rare on those farms.
One of the problems for cheetahs is that they can be blinded by the thorns of invasive plants; so locals work for CCF removing these thorns and processing them into a bricklike form called Bushblok which, burned like a log, burns slowly, making it ideal for cooking and heating needs. Money from the sale of Bushblok goes back to other efforts such as research, habitat protection, and the guard dog training, and it also provides employment for Namibians who live in that area. Last August, I did the O.A.T. Namibia tour to see the rest of that country!
Likewise, three O.A.T. trips to the Amazon inspired my granddaughter Cora and me to volunteer on a research riverboat on the Amazon in western Peru with Earthwatch.
Thanks to: Carole W., 25-time traveler & 3-time Vacation Ambassador from Hershey, PA • Namibia & the Skeleton Coast: Africa’s Last Wilderness
Travel is a State of Mind
It is the people who would never go on an overseas trip anyway who remark:
“I can't stand the long flight.”
“The airports are terrible.”
“It's too dangerous.”
“There's nothing to see there.”
Travel is a state of mind—which permits the traveler to appreciate all the experiences of globetrotting.
Thanks to: Sheri K., 5-time traveler from Denver, CO
Read more Q&A with our travelers in our Question of the Month section, where we share responses to travel-related themes.