I have had several travel moments that influenced me greatly.
When I was a boy (starting around 6-7 years old), our family used to go on long road trips, sometimes between Adelaide and Melbourne. For me, it was the joy of moving, rather than exploring, and I loved watching the Australian countryside pass me by. The other joy was visiting a new town as it was something new and it was a new place on the map that had now been reached. These aspects of travel were the most important, rather than discovering what was in each place. This instilled in me the joy of moving and the ease with which I adjusted to it.
When my two youngest brothers came along (when I was 9 and 11 respectively), it was difficult to fit the family of four kids and two adults in a car. This was before the days of "people movers" and other large vans, so suddenly, my travel halted for a very long time. Much later, when I had my own car, I drove around Australia (21,000km) on my own to discover my own country in fuller detail (prior to discovering the world) - it was a real joy to drive through the countryside and to drive into new towns - but the culture was much the same, thus there was more to discover elsewhere.
At the age of 24 and I attended the World Expo in Brisbane, and the seminal moment of attending the Spanish Pavilion occurred. It was here that the idea of visiting Europe for the purpose of attending the 1992 Barcelona Olympics to see the Opening Ceremony, going to the 1992 Universal Expo and running the bulls in Pamplona. I saved for four years and intended to go with three other friends, but they all withdrew from the trip and I travelled for one year through Europe and Turkey (in the pre-Schengen visa days). And sure enough I did see the Opening Ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics, visited every pavilion at the Seville Expo and did run the bulls.
Now, discovering the attractions and sights of new places and learning about the culture and history behind them superseded the joy of moving and of just visiting a new place. However, the most important moment during this 12 months was my journey to Turkey. This was the first time I had visited such a different culture and though I was overwhelmed at first, in the end I embraced it and longed for more similar destinations.
Upon my return, I worked in the family company, this proved to be a bad move as far as travel was concerned, due to the lack of holidays, so my travel was restricted to Australia. I had made plans to visit the Pyramids for New Year's Eve on the new Millennium but that was thwarted by spending far too much money on the Sydney Olympics (and another Opening Ceremony) and by the fact I had decided to get a job in the public sector that would allow me two important benefits - paid long holidays and a secure income.
With this situation now in place, I finally visited the Pyramids on New Year's Eve in December 2002 - two years late, but better late than never. This trip through Jordan and Egypt really built on the joy I had in Turkey a decade before, and it was this trip that sealed my love for travel based of visiting and understanding different cultures, now in my eyes as important (if not more so in some cases) as sightseeing.
Thus I now travel to search for different cultures, attractions, history, people and food - and these are usually the five criteria which influence how much I enjoy a destination.