Why we Travel
ANGHARAD THOMPSON REES
“What’s the point in travelling?” A well-intentioned friend once asked. “You may as well not go, because when you get back, everything’s just the same as you left it.”
But it’s not, is it? For those of us who travel – we know – nothing is ever the same again.
I almost envy the people who seem content with their regular lives. They feel no itch upon their feet to explore. They feel no desire to pull themselves into unknown adventures and chaos. They feel no need to leave behind all that they love all in the name of discovery.
I said I almost envy them. But not quite…
“The Travelling Bug Bites those with Adventure in their Souls”
Travelling and holidaying are not the same thing. And while some are content to escape the reality of their lives for an annual two-week vacation to some hotel resort, some of us need more. You see, I find that unlike a hotel resort, travelling isn’t about escaping reality – it’s about creating it…
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous
I will never forget the first time the Travel Bug bit me on my behind and infected me with wanderlust. I was 13. I had never been on a plane, I had never really wandered far from my hometown, and then suddenly, I was in Cyprus. Despite the heat, when the plane doors opened and the exotic warm air enveloped my pale skin and filled my lungs, I froze. Eyes wide. Heart pounding. The smell of a new country astounded me. And it still does, over 20 years later.
If I think about that first trip abroad, I can almost taste the air again. It’s stained in my memories, along with the realisation it brought to my young mind – that there’s another way to live. Life was no longer about my hometown. It was about the world.
Finding our Place in the World
It may sound like a cliché, but when we travel the world in search of new experiences, we inevitably find ourselves or at the very least, our place within in the world – perhaps within the Universe. This idea first struck me when laying on a beach at midnight looking up at the stars in the Southern Hemisphere. I realised, I had never before seen these stars, and I had never before seen the moon shine from this side of the world. It gave me a whole new perspective on the phrase ‘The sky’s the limit,’ because suddenly, there was no limit.
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”
MARY ANNE RADMACHER
And this is what travel does – it breaks down boundaries and limitations. It changes your perspective, your mind and your views. It helps you grow whilst reminding you just how small you are in the enormity of the world. It grounds you, lifts you up and changes everything. These moments are not just snapshots of travels. They’re not just snapshots of life. They are life.
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
For some of us, home may be a suitcase packed with hopes and dreams of a new adventure. For others, home may be filling our lungs with the first breath of air from foreign lands. But for many, home will be the place we started, and seeing it again as if for the first time with brand new eyes. This is what I was thinking after returning home from another trip when my well-intentioned friend asked:
“What’s the point in travelling? You may as well not go, because when you get back, everything’s just the same as you left it.”
And I smiled softly, sadly and fondly – wistfully aware of the inner transformation the world had shown me. Instantly, I remembered Eric Roth’s quote: “It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed, is you.”
I looked around myself, content to feel both the familiarity and newness of my hometown. I laughed with friends and family, shared my stories, shared my adventures and then, when my head rested upon the softness of my familiar pillow, I dreamt of new horizons and the next adventure under the ceaseless skies.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”
You see, there’s no cure for Travel Bug than travel Herself, and once we’ve been bitten, wanderlust continues to sing in our blood and pull at our heartstrings. Curiosity will not be sated. Adventure will not be ignored.
This is why we travel. We travel to create the life we want to live. We travel to make dreams become reality.