You travel not to escape, but to go towards something by Clare Laurie 

I went to Africa to visit a friend who was teaching in Zimbabwe. We stayed in the middle of nowhere, lived in a hut with no electricity where the loo was a long drop, and the “shower” was a bucket of water outside – it was different to anything I had experienced. The thing about parts of Africa, is that people are just as interested in you as you are in them. When you go to Paris or New York, you see the sights or lifestyle, but the people are busy and disinterested. But in Africa, they had as many questions for me as I did for them. I remember when I went to a remote town, a little girl holding her mother’s hand was staring at me.

“Sorry – my daughter has never seen a white person before, she’s intrigued by your hair, can she touch it?” the mother asked. We weren’t gorping, just equally curious about each other.

I knew I wanted to return to Africa, so when I fell out of love with my career, I went to Madagascar.

There’s a word I like to use about travel – and that’s “perspective”. As I was sitting on the Island among the sand flies, my values became clear. I suddenly realised what was important to me. Travel, as opposed to a holiday, gives perspective. You travel not to escape, but to go towards something.

Clare Laurie. Visit www.clarelaurie.co.uk