Seems like a dumb question to me but I am often asked “at your age, why are you traveling” (71 as I write this) and I suppose the blunt answer is ‘I may be old but I am not dead’. I have answered the question with “to learn” but one person actually said “well you probably aren’t going to live a lot longer so how will you use what you have learned”.
The truth is I have a lot of reasons and learning is one of them, searching for answers is another. To keep going is another, I figure if I stop for too long my body will stop also. To experience more is another, but the primary reason is to meet people. For those that know me that may be the strangest reason of all. First and foremost I am blessed with the greatest friends anyone could ever wish for right at home. I number true friends, the ones you can call at midnight and not be sworn at, at more that a dozen. Very few people can say that. If someone called you as you were walking out the door to a concert you had been waiting for for 6 months and said I really need someone to hold my hand, how many people would you do that for and how many would get an excuse and an ‘I will be there tomorrow’? I have 2 primary groups of friends and most are veterans (veterans really are brothers) but there are a half dozen that are not vets but are brothers regardless. I have friends that were in law enforcement and friends that have done hard time. I even have a few that are bums like me. So why do I need to meet people.
Twenty years ago I met a Chinese surgeon from Hong Kong in a rock ledge bar overlooking the ocean in Laguna, Mindoro, Philippines. we talked way into the morning. I met a Canadian oil worker in the Bangkok airport who had been staying on the beach as a windsurfer for 3 months. I met an Australian man that owned hydroponic flower gardens in Vietnam on an airplane going to Saigon. On a tour bus I sat next to a primary grades school teacher from Dublin that back packs somewhere different each summer to increase his scope of knowledge so he can motivate children to learn before they get trapped in the system. I sat next to a gentleman on a boat having lunch that wanted to discuss American politics (and he was very knowledgeable on the subject). Mid way through the conversation I commented on his English and asked if he had gone to a western university. He said no, that he was from an industrial province in China and had gone to a Chinese University majoring in English and was teaching English in the local high school.
On an all day tour we had a group lunch and I sat across from a young lady that had been a lab tech in Africa during the Ebola outbreak.She talked about the horror and the fear. After she returned to England she was recruited by a charity group from Japan or Korea (senior memory lapse as to which one she said) and was currently working at a children’s hospital in Laos. In Inchon, Korea I learned of a doctor in Manila that was successfully removing stem cells from an individual and injecting them into their hips or knees. The stem cells generate new cells replacing the damaged ones eliminating the need for surgery. It will be forever before that is approved in the US.
I met geochachers from New Zealand in Puerto Galera, retirees from Scotland in Pattaya and a Zamboni driver in Kansai Airport in Japan. There are lots of other people and a few more reasons but I assume you get the idea. I can watch the Travel Channel and the Discovery Channel and rot or do something, after all, I am not dead yet!