Why Do We Travel?
"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."
Most anyone who is asked the question "would you like to travel the world?" will answer yes, but most people never will. Excuses always come up and important problems present themselves in our daily lives, and the "I want to travel now" soon transforms into "I'll travel when I find the time." But then do we ever really find the time? Is there ever a moment in our lives where all of our other responsibilities are put on hold, our health and funds are sustainable, and there are no job or family/friend problems that need our assistance? Probably not. But that should not mean we should not still travel.
It used to bother me that my parents did not share the same burning desire to travel to different countries all over the world. I used to get angry that they weren't feeling the same thing I was feeling because I couldn't express to them why they should feel that way. And then I started to wonder...why do people have the desire to travel? To see different places, sure, but why do we want to see those places? I don't have the answer to this question, but here are my thoughts -- people always say they travel to find themselves and discover who they really are, I too believe this to be true, but I think it goes even deeper than that. I think that traveling is all about learning -- applicational learning, and with that comes challenge, and sometimes even hardship and fear. We are taken out of our comfort zone and thrown into a completely new environment where we must learn to adapt. It may be physically straining, or culturally foreign, but it is a chance for us to learn not only about the wonderful places we are seeing but also a chance to learn more about ourselves. And it is during these vulnerable times that we can come to be more in touch with who we really are.
Sometimes it seems that your whole life changes while traveling, but when you return home, life is still the same. And life will be the same -- your job and family and friends will have continued their daily routines as usual while you were away, and it is easy to feel like you really didn't change at all, but know that you did. Traveling, no matter where, takes you outside your comfort zone, broadens your perspective, rejuvenates you and makes you appreciate things about life that you didn't before. Even though the change may be subtle, it is definitely still there.
There are different kinds of people in the world, and some may want to travel everywhere possible while others may never want to ever leave their home. I personally believe everyone should experience traveling abroad at least once during their lifetime, and they shouldn't let money or trivial responsibilities always stand in the way. In a world with so many beautiful and breathtaking places, I truly do not think our creator intended life to be lived in one place.
Early Mornings in Nyhavn
So why do we travel? My answer is this: we travel for the sake of adventure -- the chance to conquer something new, experience new territory, discover ourselves and escape the routines of everyday life. But traveling should be more than just an escape, the lessons we learn as a result of our experience should be incorporated into our everyday life. I believe the experience of traveling can save us from monotony, remind us of the beauty in the world and refresh our entire outlook on living. I think it makes us grateful for the things we have and closer to others of differing cultures and backgrounds. But most of all, I believe that traveling shows us what we truly want out of life and who we really want to be.