Excerpts from Conde Nast Traveler's Why I Travel series featuring world renowned celebrities. Priyanka, Naomi, Sophia and Padma open up about why they travel and how traveling has changed their lives for the better.
Why I Travel: If you want to be stagnant and never grow, that’s when you stop traveling. I think traveling is an expansion of your creativity, your experience, and life. Life is really just a journey. It’s changed my life completely. The fact that my parents made me travel around the world since I was a kid. When I was young I used to be really upset about having to move, and [my dad] would play a game with me, saying that if you decided what you are where you were, when you go to the next place, no one is going to know you. You can be whoever you want. So I used to plan, "Alright, when I’m in this new city I’m going to be dancer or sing or whatever." It made me very disciplined and made me be able to deal with whatever life threw at me because I could handle it.
Why I Travel: I’m a gypsy and can adapt and feel at home wherever I am. Travel has opened my mind to knowing how fortunate and blessed I am. With my organization Fashion For Relief, I have traveled the world to help bring awareness to those less fortunate: Tanzania, India and right here in the U.S. in New Orleans, just to name a few places. I travel for work and I also travel for personal pleasure. I love to travel; it’s such an important part of my life. I truly enjoy exploring the world.
Why I Travel: Traveling fills my soul. It opens my eyes to people, cultures, and the environment. Travel simultaneously knocks you out by showing you how vastly different the world is, and yet how similar all people are. It's deeply inspiring and unifying. Traveling has further opened my heart. It's taught me to fight for people and the planet. It's made me more adventurous with food. It's brought me my greatest joys and my fondest memories.
Why I Travel: I travel because a life without travel is uninteresting, perhaps even unacceptable to me. I travel whenever possible and now I make sure my daughter travels with me as often as possible, too. I travel to see the world but I also travel to see more of myself. My first trip was when I went in 1974 from my grandparents' home in New Delhi to be reunited with my mother in New York City. I flew from Delhi to Cairo to Rome to London, and finally to JFK where my mother stood waiting on a chilly Halloween night. I shall never forget that night, but every trip has been an adventure.
Travel to me means freedom, escape, the extinguishing of ignorance and prejudice, and the exchange not only of cultures and language but ideas. And hopefully greater understanding among people in different parts of the world. It is the single most important thing that I think a young person should do before they are 25. Earlier in fact. I am sure that the vast amount of miles I covered before the age of 17, crossing different continents, better prepared me for the life I have now. I hope that travel has made me a more broad-minded person and to see the beauty and benefits that you can take from different cultures. From a very pragmatic point of view, travel has taught me how to cook and to be knowledgeable about my career in food. I have learned more about people by studying what different cultures eat through my documentaries, my writing, and just common daily exchanges with folks all over the world.