What motivates you to travel?

I mentioned the other day about the Japanese government (maybe) giving away free flights to Japan.  Funnily enough, on the weekend, there was a feature story in the newspaper about tourism to Australia. 

Australia spends a LOT of money creating ad campaigns to attract overseas visitors here and the article looked at if those ads were really effective.  Personally, the ones I've seen strike me as a bit of an embarassment.  Throw another shrimp on the barbie and all that - does anyone in Australia actually say that?  Oh yeah, the same Australians who drink Fosters!

So, I was thinking about how I've made the decision to travel overseas to the countries I've been to.  Anyway, this is my list.

New Zealand - first overseas holiday.  Motivation - my best friend had moved there and I wanted to visit her.   I then went to other areas, like Queenstown, on her recommendation.

US (LA, Utah, Las Vegas) - another friend was living in the States and I went to stay with him.  He lived in Utah, obviously, because who actually wants to go to Utah as a tourist?  Well unless you are a momon or really into skiing.  I wanted to go to Las Vegas because, well who doesn't?

London, Ireland, Paris, Barcelona - this was a whirlwind trip and the whole motivation was that someone else was paying for it (long story).  London was a necessity but the rest of the itinerary was my choice.  Like nearly every other Australian of Irish descent, the desire to go to Ireland has always been strong. 

We had one day in Paris and my whole reason for wanting to go there was to see the catacombs.  My friend was actually like - you come to the most beautiful city in the world and you want to go underground and look at dead people?  But I think he was pleased because he'd been a few times and seen all the tourist sites.  I don't even know how I'd learnt about the catacombs but they'd really captured my imagination.

Barcelona was added because I'd heard it was a party town (and it really was!) but I think my friend could have had some influence on this because he had a "friends with benefits" deal going with someone there.

Bali - I'd gotten really drunk with a couple of friends and we bid on a flight to Bali in a charity auction.

SE Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam) - I'd been thinking of going to Vietnam for a while, mainly because I'd seen lots of pictures and it was starting to open up a lot more for tourists.  The local community radio station (3RRR) in Melbourne does a group tour thing every year that is a really good deal so I joined up for it.

Japan - strange story!  I'd always wanted to go to Japan.  I think it started when I was a kid, because I always did school projects on Japan.  Not because I loved the culture but because it was the easiest flag to draw!  I'd always thought it was way, way out of my budget though.  Then I met a guy one night when I was out drinking and he told me it was actually a lot cheaper than I thought.  That got me thinking.  Then Jetstar started offering cheap flight deals. 

Japan is the only country I've been to more than once.  The second time was purely on impulse because we got dirt cheap flights.  The third holiday was to go to the Arashi concert.

I think you can go to a country once and see the tourist sites and be happy, but if you go back a second time, you are hooked because there is always more and more to see.  There are still lots of places in Japan I want to visit in future.  Like Kochi.  I'm definitely going to Kochi one day.

As for my future travelling wish list, Korea is a definite.  I think this is motivated by watching Korean dramas and realising it's a really pretty country.  Before that, my whole impression of Korea was from MASH (which I think wasn't even filmed in Korea).

I'd also like to go to Cuba.  No idea why, just that it looks pretty.

So, where have you travelled and why did you choose those places?  If you don't live in Australia, what would motivate you to visit here?