It’s a cliche I hear in the travelling world all the time. People who declare that they were born to travel. They were brought up strapped to their mothers back hiking mountains in Nepal, nay – practically squeezed out in the depths of the Amazon, midwifed by Yanomami village elders.

Travelling to foreign lands is for some people all they’ve known growing up. Their love of it is natural, organic, part of a lifestyle they have been exposed to for as long as they can remember.

It’s awesome. Part of me wishes I too had 30 countries under my belt before I hit my teens.

But there is something, in my opinion, distinctly special about discovering the joys of travelling the world exclusively for yourself.

So this one goes out to all the people who like me, were not in any way, shape or form ‘born’ to travel.

Some of us craved more than we knew so we left. Some of us stumbled upon travel by accident. Regardless, travelling is like our little secret discovery that not everyone immediately around us will ever fully understand.

But we took a step out of the ordinary, our comfortable bubble of our home, family and friends and consequently fell in love with another perspective of the world.

I have a lot of respect for these people. Doing something that influential people in your life perceive as risky and reckless takes courage. Or conscious ignorance, which I also greatly respect.

I recently read an article that stated new research proved that there was a gene correlating with travel. People with this ‘travel gene’ are said to embrace movement, change and adventure more than others, which is typically prevalent in people with a genetic history of travel and migration.

Whilst reading this article I experienced a variety of trivial, weird sensations – a pang of sadness, a slight sense of insecurity, even annoyance for scientists making such a far-fetched claim.

What if I didn’t have this gene? Did that mean the one thing I truly love in life isn’t legitimate? Is the fact I live and breathe travel not enough because it doesn’t run in my blood, my family history, make up the building blocks of who I am?

Screw that.

At 17 years old I explicitly remember telling a friend at the time I had no desire to travel. None. I wanted to run a business, stay with my friends, party…. She was shocked but I was adamant I did not feel the need. Oh how times have drastically changed.

But there was this time – not even 10 years ago, that the idea of travel was unappealing, distinctly uncomfortable in fact. That is why I am sure my current desire to make travel my life is not in my DNA.

Hell, it doesn’t need to be. I learnt to love it.

I know there are many people like me out there. Perhaps those people who discovered travel later in life, or later than they’d like.

This should not lessen our claims as travellers. Nor should the fact that others have seen or know more overshadow the way travelling makes us feel.

We were simply a step behind but the moment we left our front door with passport in hand, we took a leap forward to stand on par.

It doesn’t really matter how we got here. Yet I will always take a little bit of pride knowing I was one of these people who wasn’t born or brought up with travel. Through bumbling clumsily through it to the horror of my family, through loosing bank cards in Laos, through getting scammed in Jamaica, through being stranded alone on islands in Cambodia, I became addicted to the adrenaline of it. Because of this, at 26 years old, I will now live my life to travel and completely of my own accord too.

Our allegiance to travel is no less strong than those who have 20 years of experience on us. The important thing is that we are here now and discovered it at a time that was right for our own personal clock.

That, I think, is all that really matters.


All photos are © Travelling Tam