Now, as a traveller, I'm asked a comparable question. Why do I do it? Why launch into the unknown when I could sit about comfortably at home.
And the answer, honestly, is that I don't care why I do it - I just love it. But, as that isn't enough for some people, I will try to unpick it a little.
I do run away from British winters. Those living in the north will think I'm utterly wimpish, complaining about southern winters. And they are fully justified to do so - our rain and wind and snow is feeble compared with the weathers they have to go out it. But I just hate the cold and the dark and the endless grey days. If I can escape them, then I will.
But I am also running towards the new and the different. When I get there, I don't just lie around in the sun. I explore city streets. I puff up mountains. I elbow my way through crowds in markets just to smell the cinnamon, run my fingers along silk scarves. I stare at animals that I thought only existed on the telly. I eat food I can't identify. I talk to people with new stories to tell.
And then I come home. Friends and family - who have kept the show on the road at home, looked after my house, trudged to school or work through wind and rain with barely a grumble - welcome me back and if they are envious they show it only fleetingly. Some even manage to look at my photographs without glazing over.
Does that begin to explain it? And you - what is it about the things you love doing that gets under your skin?