Travel Inspiration Series: Zoe Tuckey
One of my favorite aspects of travel is the friendships I build with fascinating people from all over our sweet world. Zoe is one of those friends who inspire me as a writer, a traveler, and a lover of life.
I had a chance to chat with Zoe about some of her experiences and I walked away in typical fashion: stirred in my soul.
JG: You’ve had quite a fascinating, dare I say exotic, childhood. Tell me a bit about your family and where you call home.
ZT: When people say things like this I always find it strange because I don’t see anything unusual about my upbringing until someone points it out. Yes, I guess I have had a fascinating childhood! My parents moved to India when I was about 2 years old. I’ve done a bit of moving around since then but have found myself back where I started. I think I will always call India home, but also like to see myself as some sort of world citizen. That is if the world will have me!
JG: Having grown up in an Eastern culture, what values shaped you and where does travel fit in those values?
ZT: People tell you that your worldview expands when growing up in a ‘different’ culture. Eastern culture was the only worldview I ever had so it was actually in travel and in living in New Zealand that I felt my worldview expanded. But I think growing up how I did I learned to value family and relationship above everything. Again you can grow up many different ways in the same culture. I grew up in a family whose goal in life was to work for people, mainly the poor. So my value system was largely shaped around community.
JG: Highlight some of the places you’ve been. Where are your favorites and what makes them so?
ZT: I’ve been to the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America, Europe, Botswana and Zimbabwe and a few others. It has been a privilege to see some parts of the world but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. Africa was right up there with my favorites. I felt like my soul became alive. Mostly though, my favorites are the places where I’ve done road trips. I think you can only really see a country when you get into local people’s homes and when you drive. I love driving. Driving shows you the land, the people, the heart of a country.
JG: What do you love most about travel?
ZT: It might sound strange, but most of my love of travel happens in retrospect.
I adore looking back, I’m addicted to it. I’m addicted to the after feeling; the running through of the memories in my mind, the inside jokes that float through a group of friends who have been somewhere together, the talk of the food, the sounds, the funny people that I’ve met. When I look back on the places I go, they are embellished by my own fantasies. And sometimes that’s better than reality.
Because travel isn’t always so glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sometimes it’s a lot of waiting, and it’s dusty, and there are annoying people anywhere you go. So I guess my question to those who want to travel is: what are the things you can take home with you, that will aid your memory?
For me; it’s because of my growing suitcase of lessons learned, and people met, and random objects found on the dusty streets of the world that I want to go again…and again.
JG: What has been your most difficult conflict to overcome as a traveler?
ZT: I think the biggest conflict in me when traveling is not being able to fully believe that it’s real. Sometimes you’re going from place to place and it’s hard to really be ‘in it’. Also, it’s not all fantastical. There are flight delays, hagglers, fatigue and the same annoying people you’d meet in your own country.
JG: What approach do you take when it comes to travel? Is there a best way to do it?
ZT: I think there are a lot of people who get upset that they haven’t traveled to different countries but they haven’t actually taken a road trip to another city. I say to those guys – see your own country, it’s beautiful!
JG: What piece of advice would you share with travelers both idealistic and seasoned?
ZT: Well, I would say “go to learn.” The most frustrating people I’ve come across who have visited India are those who open up their Lonely Planet guides and suddenly know all about your country. Go to learn. Ask people a ton of questions. Immerse yourself in the culture. Don’t stay in a hotel tucked away. Meet people, put your feet up on the coffee table, have tea with them.
I’d say my best advice would be, drink tea with people.
JG: What have been the greatest joys of your journey?
ZT: The greatest joys are when travel is shared with people. It’s amazing to have those retrospective laughs and conversations when you’ve been somewhere together. There is so much joy in learning something about how a person from another country thinks, acts, behaves or pronounces something. Also the beauty of it all, the hugely contrasting landscapes. Once you start you really can’t get enough of it.
JG: So, where are you now?
ZT: The place my heart loves. India.
JG: And where to next?
ZT: Hmmm. I’m thinking I want to go to South East Asia and South America, and Mongolia and and and…
You can check out more of Zoe’s words at StillPilgrim.com.