Ali Talwar, 130 TESS
I’m not sure when I got bit, or if I was just born with it, but I’ve caught a bug. One that leaves me itching, itching for more. One that has put my head in the clouds, dreaming about what else is out there. One that progressively spreads the more time I spend away from home. My name is Ali Talwar and I live with the travel bug.
Honestly, I think I inherited this disease from my parents. They were after all naval officers who spent many of their years aboard a ship, seeing the world. We moved every two years while I was growing up, even though this was just moving to different states in the US, it opened up my eyes to how big and diverse the world is. Eventually, it was my time to go off on these adventures alone. This is when the bug began to spread, becoming more and more severe.
At the age of 22, I made the decision to move all the way across the country from Florida to Oregon, alone. A fate that I can only fault to this bug inside of me. For some reason though, this move just wasn’t enough to satisfy the bug’s needs. It spread to my brain and whispered “move half-way across the world”. So I listened, joined the Peace Corps and moved to Thailand.
Nothing seems to satisfy this bug though. Here I am, living in a beautiful country, but it still pushes me to travel on every long weekend and holiday that I can. It just keeps wanting more. I see beautiful pictures on the internet and all of a sudden I add a new destination to the list of places I want to go. At this point, the list is so long it will take a lifetime to complete. But will I hold onto this bug for my whole life? Or will I eventually be cured and left with an incomplete list?
Truth be told, I’ve learnt to love living with this travel bug. It is such a large part of me that it has become part of my identity. The adventure, the awe, the stories, the people, the culture; all components of this magical world that I love to experience and see more of. I don’t think you could separate this bug from my being anymore. It may flare up at times, and lessen at others, but I believe I will live with this travel bug inside of me forever, and that makes me happy. But be careful, it might be contagious.
Pictured below: what the manifestation of the travel bug looks like in a human host… on a beach in Bali.
Read Ali’s previous article The Cave.