Travel: Why do we do it?
Today I wanted to talk about travel and tourism, particularly long-term travel, and some of the reasons people do it. It’s a concept that for many is an exciting one, a chance to experience life-changing moments and yet to some, the whole idea of leaving their comfort zone is terrifying.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
It’s generally assumed that most people, at some point in their life will have an urge to travel. Whether this is a brief getaway, or a more adventurous jaunt on their usual annual leave from work or a much more sobering event like emigrating and uprooting all that is familiar, to start a new life overseas. Regardless of what kind of trip, everyone will have some reason for doing so.
Over the years I’ve spoken with and exchanged stories with many people I’ve met on the road and have been privy to all kinds of unusual reasons. In general though, the main reasons I’ve found are a little more expected and natural.
Escaping the norm
Those who live the dreary treadmill of a 9-to-5 existence in cold countries generally build up a craving to escape mundane and familiar. A two-week all-inclusive getaway to a sun swept oasis is perfect for escaping it all and topping up the tan.
Some people have family members who have moved overseas. Visiting them after prolonged absence is more often than not a great pleasure for all concerned. The real beauty is that while you catch up on old times and share news, you get to experience a new culture and experience their new way of life. Many people who visit family overseas are often torn between attempting a similar move themselves or returning to the familiar and keeping within their comfort zone, and by comfort zone I don’t mean tucked snugly into the window seat with a travel pillow.
Sharing new experiences with friends
For many, a Gap Year, a year out or round-the-world trip can often be described as the best time of your life. The experiences that people go through or situations they get themselves into (usually with reckless abandon) go one to generate memories that last a lifetime.
Discovering new countries and cultures
Some people love a challenge. They love the excitement that comes from not knowing and crave the unfamiliar. There is no better way to achieve that than immersing yourself in a new culture. To experience the feeling of being isolated, simply from placing yourself in a land that speaks a different language, holds unfamiliar currency, practices bizarre customs and rituals and offers some of the most incredible sights, sounds, smells and of course culinary delights, is truly a gift.
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous
Living the Nomadic lifestyle
Many who have travelled before tend to repeat the experience. There are some however who choose to make a more permanent situation out of it. Some feel it’s an addiction and it’s quite understandable to see why. Of all the people I’ve met on my own journey, it’s the long-termers who generally have no desire to return to their previous way of life. They see it as a backward step, they see it as a completely bizarre notion. Even posing the question generates a bewildered look. Travellers of this ilk generally choose this way of life after becoming completely disillusioned by what’s going on in the real world, and have made a conscious choice to remove themselves as completely as they can from it in order to pursue a simple, wholesome existence.
They’re often completely at peace, and move from place to place at the rate that is comfortable to them, meeting new people and experiencing new things. All this provides enough sustenance to keep the momentum going, however laid back it is. They generally allow layer upon layer of experience and moments soak into them and after a while they become completely at peace within themselves and with their environment. It is often said that those most likely to survive change are those who are most likely to adapt. I imagine a lot of people living in the ‘real world’ would really struggle to understand individuals of this calibre.
Whatever the reason, travel is still a truly humbling experience, one that is guaranteed to broaden the mind, though in my case travel broadens the behind.
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Thanks for reading! Until next time..