A Travel Philosophy; What are you Travelling For?
We all have different reasons for traveling, but most of us don’t think too deeply into them. We say we want to travel for adventure, to learn, to explore, but are those the real reasons we continue to travel? Or are those the ‘acceptable’ answers society has determined are reasonable reasons to travel.
Society sets norms for us – house, kids, money. Travel is a luxury we add on top, it is the bonus we get for achieving the norms. But choosing to travel – taking a year off, living abroad as an expat, or adopting a nomadic lifestyle – Isn’t acceptable according to societal norms. It’s only ok if we want to come home – to first travel, and then conform to the societal norms. As if travel is a crazy period in life that we just need to express and then continue with the expected.
But we need to look deeper. Why are we traveling long-term? Truly.
Are we traveling to escape problems? Are in search of a meaning to life? Are we traveling in the hope that our problems dissipate in our absence? Are we hoping that if we indulge in global gastronomical delights we will finally be full?
Are we traveling to meet new people? Or are we secretly hoping that “new people” means somebody to love? Are we roaming to find a love we haven’t yet found in our home countries? Or are we hoping that love abroad will be different and that we are only lovable by those who have different cultural norms? Does that mean we are traveling because we feel we do not fit into the society we come from? Is this ok? Or are we simply running away from a life we didn’t understand?
I travel for the love of travel. What does THAT mean? What is the love of travel? It certainly isn’t the love of long, antagonizingly bumpy roads or the love of crowded dorms, with 20 other people snoring and passing gas, disturbing your precious sleep. But that is what comes with travel (for some). So what is this Love of Travel?
The people, the cultures, the food, the learning, the experiences; The love of travel is all-encompassing.
But is it?
We have to make sure we have looked deep inside ourselves to understand why we are traveling. I’ve never thought I was running away from anything when I left Canada. I always felt I was moving towards something. I’ve accepted certain life paths I choose to follow – but they are broad spectrum paths– I want to wake up each day feeling alive and I want to meet somebody who will make me smile. These things are simple, and can be adopted in many ways. But I choose to find them through roaming this earth – I’m moving towards other people to gain a greater perspective on the things I don’t understand. There is a lot I don’t understand, and a lot I never will. I accept this. But ultimately – I travel because I want to be happy.
Happy isn’t being wealthy. Happy isn’t being comfortable. Happy is waking up each day having something to smile about – feeling that my life, each day of it, Is an opportunity to learn, and that travel is my medium for achieving this.
As I sat on the couch in Kranj, Slovenia, my couchsurfing host Mojca, made me stop and truly think. We’d been discussing philosophies for days – numerogoly, sade sati, physical manifestions of emotions – and finally onto travel. We both have a deep rooted need to travel. The more we talked, and the more she divulged her perspective on life, helped me better understand this philosophy of travel – and helped me reflect. Actually reflect. Not just thinking “I should think more about that”, but actually spending the evening baring my soul to a person I just met because I felt she had insight that was obligatory for my knowledge. And she shared it. And I understand one more thing.
So truthfully – why do you travel? Are you secretly running away? Are you scared of facing something? Are you in search of love? Are you in constant need of a new adrenalin rush?