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June 7, 2013

Discuss: Where Did You Catch the Travel Bug?

Me eating lunch near the Teotihuacan Pyramids in 2003.

As a travel writer, I’m connected to a large group of writers, readers, and travelers who all have one thing in common: we love to travel the world. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years to travel; it’s something that you have to do.

So, for this week’s travel discussion, I want to know: where did you get the travel bug? What place did you visit that changed everything about how you see the world?

For me, I got the travel bug while on a 4-week cross-cultural trip to Mexico while in college. During the trip, I not only got to see many fantastic locations throughout the country, but I got to stay with a local family for 2 weeks.

During my homestay, I was forced to speak Spanish while communicating with the family. Even with my limited language ability, I understood the graciousness of my hosts, who felt the need to throw two parties in our honor.

As the first party drew to a close, toasts of “El Presidente” filling the air, I had a feeling of warmth. This wasn’t just a place to rest my head; this was my home for the next two weeks.

It was somewhere around my fourth or fifth El Presidente and Coke that I knew I had to travel. I had to see how others lived, and what their world was like.

What about you? Where did you catch the travel bug?

Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. My first trip to London in college during Thanksgiving break opened my eyes to the world! since then I realized it’s a part of me and I need to travel to learn more about the various cultures and myself along the way

  2. Monique

    I think I already had the bug, but my first trip BY MYSELF was 2 weeks to Western Australia when I was 19. Me, a bus ticket and a backpack. No one telling me my itinerary, no adults in charge. Even through the bus journey was a non-stop 40 hours across the Nullabor, I loved that it was my decision to go.

  3. For me, it was my first study abroad trip to Ireland. There were 31 girls and 4 guys on that program…and it was an estrogen-fueled disaster. But, I realized that I loved the experience of traveling and got hooked. So, I did a second program in Australia a few months later to “redeem” travel. Needless to say, it was a success, and I’m still addicted!

  4. It was during a time when I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy. I was waiting table just as I do now, but I wasn’t really saving for anything. I would always blame others, and constantly make excuses for my own issues without even realizing it. I was pretty much stuck in a shitty bubble and I hate life, and that is when I started reading travel blogs. I hadn’t ever before, but I think I had stumbledupon a few photos and articles about travel, and for months all I would read or look at was travel related stuff. Then it hit me – I needed to get rid of all the nonsense in my life and get the hell outta’ there!

  5. It really took hold when I went to Cambodia for 6 months, living and working as a volunteer. That kind of immersion into a different culture had me wanting more, wanting to learn and see more.

  6. I think I always had it…I just didn’t have the opportunity, the means, or the guts to actually do anything about it. But I think our 6 week honeymoon in Europe cemented in my inherent need to travel. I’m working on convincing the Mister to move towards a more nomadic lifestyle…we shall see how that pans out!

    • Good luck convincing him. Traveling long-term is one of the best decisions my wife and I ever made. If you need any help planning your travels, make sure to check out my travel planning service.

  7. When I tell people I was 7 years old when I caught the travel bug, they think I am full of it. In complete honesty, I was 7 and went on my first vacation out of the country to the Cayman Islands. It was so different from my home and life in the New Jersey suburbs and I loved it! I was with my family, and I was 7, and we were very much tourists, but I will never forget that first trip where I truly caught the bug. After that, all I talked about was when we could go on our next vacation. I used to plan trips for my family and would write about traveling in school. At 14 I went on a semi-solo trip (at least solo from parents) and that solidified all of my younger years dreaming about travel.

  8. She Had Fun

    I caught the travel bug when I was 14 on an exchange program in Paris. I caught it in a very similar way to you, actually; I lived with a host family for two weeks as well and loved learning about their lifestyle while also practicing my french. Since then I’ve have had the pleasure of staying with several more host families in China and France–we even hosted a few exchange students ourselves.
    Great post! Thanks!

  9. Oddly enough, I caught the travel bug without going anywhere. In grade school, I could get extra credit for book reports, and the library had series of books on the 50 states. Reading about these places made me want to go there. My parents obliged, and we saw half the country before I was in high school. I may not get to travel as much as I would like, but I still read about places near and far and think, “I want to go THERE!”

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