I’m absent again. Again! Am I ever actually here? (Don’t answer. That’s a rhetorical statement, which is a literary device writers use to signify that if you criticise them, they’ll throw something heavy at you. Love, Mike).
This is the fifth midweek in a row that I’ve handed the reins of my blog over to someone else (previous drivers include Robin, Lisa, Cherrye and Danielle) so they can goad its horses into a frenzy and, and make it rattle and sway down the path of, of…the path of…
Look, it’s late. And I’ve always been as much good at metaphors as a….a…something that was really, irredeemably bad at something. I’ve listened to all of Fry’s English Delight three times and it still hasn’t sunk in, so don’t expect much from me right now.
So, back to today’s coachman coach-person of Fevered Mutterings (guiding it around metaphorical potholes, keeping it out the ditch and so on. Look, I’m warming up now). Your designated driver for the evening is Laura Thayer, and she’s here to answer the following seemingly quite simple but actually fiendishly simple question…
“Let’s imagine I’ve never travelled, and I’ve never wanted to. What am I missing out on?”
So, off we go. (And please tip the driver).
Admittedly, I’m not one of those travelers that feels drawn to see every nook and cranny of this fair world. I am greatly impressed by people who set out to travel all the way around the world or into dangerous or unheard of locations. There is an undeniable thrill about that kind of travel for sure. Yet, to large parts of the world I have never felt a strong pull.
Nevertheless, I am at home in the world. Give me the chance to go someplace new and the researcher in me jumps up and down at the thought of new maps, new books and all the excitement of arriving someplace full new things to experience and discover. There are, apparently, different types of travel bugs that you can be bit by.
The one that got me at a young age was from Italy. (If I had paid closer attention I probably would have discovered it was singing “‘O Sole Mio.”) Through many twists and turns, and one very important trip to Italy, home for me now is on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. Home – that place you feel you and that is a part of you – can be, for some people, an elusive idea. I know I felt that way until I found myself one day in Amalfi and just knew there was something special for me to discover in that place.
I’ve met many people who feel very much at home in the town or city where they were born. On my last trip to America, I was surprised by an elderly lady who very candidly asked me, “Why would you want to live in Italy? I’ve seen pictures on TV, but I couldn’t imagine living anywhere but here.”
Why do I travel? Traveling opens the world to you and opens your mind to possibilities – like the idea that home for some people might just be on the other side of the world.
Laura Thayer is an art historian and freelance writer living on the Amalfi Coast in Campania, Italy. She writes about travel for MNUI travel insurance and blogs about life on the Amalfi Coast at her own site Ciao Amalfi.