An insight into why we travel.
Travel began it’s humble beginnings as a necessity.
Groups of Homo sapiens would wander from natural resource to natural resource in order to survive.
But I’m talking about the leisurely activity of travelling, of tourism, of wandering.
The word tourist popped up in 1772, but the traveller was around well before that. As early as 1660, upper-class Europeans would embark on what was known as the Grand Tour. A coming of age and educational right of passage tour around some of Europe’s most culturally rich and classically antique cities. This spread to the middle class once rail travel was established and steamships made the journey easier, with the introduction of Thomas Cook’s first tour.
The word travel, originates from the French word, travail, meaning to toil or labour. The link was made because any form of travel in the middle ages was seen to be a difficult journey. But thankfully, the word in modern times, musters an entirely different reaction.
Travel has become the better part of most people’s lives. People work all year, with their only solace being the days of holiday. Their opportunity to travel. To take a break.
Whether the goal is to lay by a pool or explore a jungle, our free time is primarily used to visit another country, another culture, another world.
Why do we have this urge to experience the lives and surroundings of others?
Why put ourselves at risk in unknown habitats, just for the right to live under it’s rules for a short period of time?
There are a number of reasons.
It is human nature to question, to constantly search for the answer. It is this yearning for information that makes travel so appealing. Our curiosity about the world makes us go out and explore it.
To answer some of the bigger questions in our head, we journey out in search of empirical evidence to back our beliefs.
We always assume other people have it better. Travel grounds these thoughts and shows how other people live. It makes us appreciate what we have back at home in our automated lives. The privileges we take for granted are sorely missed and we can appreciate the positions we are in.
It is also through comparison, that we can absorb the better parts of other people’s culture, into our own lives. Seeing the close knit families, makes you finally pick up the phone to estranged loved ones. The healthy eating, makes you change your diet. The laid back lifestyle, makes you take a step back from live and reduce your stress.
Different ways of life, with different points of view and different solutions for problems. Take the best from each experience and integrate it into your life.
New situations call for new experiences. These all get added to our memory and form part of our knowledge, making us wise. This might not make sense right now, but trust me, this actually happens. The more you experience, the more situations you have a back catalog of reactions for. Not only this, but some experiences serve no practical importance at all. They just look pretty in your head in retrospect. Like sunsets or that amazingly tasty coffee.
The main reason we travel is enjoyment. We look to find new, exiting and fun things to do.
Not that we are all on some hedonistic jolly. It’s just that our time away from usual life, should have enjoyment involved.
Moments that make us smile. Conversations that make us laugh. And pictures that keep us in hysterics.
(Like the above…)
As for me, the way I see it, I am on my island of experience.
I am limited to experience what this island can hold.
To grow, to learn, to live, to laugh, I must go beyond my island.
Out into the ocean.
That is why I travel.