|The lovely Jo Castro / images from Dave and Jo Castro|
Jo, how has your travel experience changed your personality?
Travel has made me more accepting of the things I can’t change.
Delayed flights, unexpected living situations in developing countries, not having hot water, learning to live with electricity blackouts, all of these things and more have calmed me so that I am not as dependent on "How things should be" anymore, but rather just accepting "How I find things" and then getting on with them.
Travel has changed my personality to see challenges as opportunities, not as problems.
What has travelling done to change the direction your life has taken?
Oh gosh! When I was 17 and living in Devon, England, very content with my horsey life and the English countryside, I said to my mother: "I’m never going to go on a plane or a boat to anywhere else in the world." By the time I was 18 I was on the ferry to Belgium with a backpack and acoustic guitar strung around my shoulders bound for Amsterdam where I would take up a position as a groom for a show jumping family. This didn’t last very long, but the travel bug had by then bitten hard and deep and I’ve never really looked back. I met my husband in Bangkok when we were both backpacking through Asia and ended up in South Africa with him, then we bought a farm situated near a gold mine in Namibia and lived in a caravan in the highlands of Lesotho where he used to do his geologizing by pony due to the inaccessibility of the area. So for weeks at a time we would traverse the countryside astride sure footed Basotho ponies and camp in remote villages where Westerners rarely ventured - often children would run screaming from me and my blond hair.
What do you think is the most important reason that people should travel?
I think travel gives you the most incredible sense of self, and confidence, along with an ability to get on with everyone. It teaches you that although everyone is different, they all have similar hopes, dreams and needs and when you speak to someone who may be a bit "off" with you (whether from the same or a different culture) you can be forgiving because you understand that they too have their own problems, although you may never know what they’re going through behind the scenes. Travel gives you the freedom to fend for yourself, and the knowledge that you can survive without too much money. It teaches you that material goods are not the be all and end all to living a good life. It teaches you acceptance, and brings you into contact with people beyond the circle of people you might normally choose as friends, which fosters tolerance and respect of different cultures. Yes, it teaches you humility too.
On the hedonistic side, people should travel because it’s FUN. New places, new food to try, new people to meet! It’s freedom on steroids and you never know what each new day will bring!
About Jo: Johanna Castro is a freelance writer, workshop facilitator and blogger. Her Travel & Lifestyle blog "ZigaZag" is about Western Australia and encourages people to “Live for the Moment, Love Adventure and Do Something Awesome.” Her new blog "Lifestyle Fifty" helps empower women to live the good life as they get older, and to be "Fit, feisty, funky and fun". Jo's lived in 11 different countries, is married to a geologist, is not related to Fidel Castro, doesn't smoke cigars - ever, has two grown up children, enjoys Margaret River wines a little too much, and now resides near a beach in South Western Australia where her gypsy heart is content, but maybe not quite tamed.