Why do we travel? – Ewen Munro’s Blog #12

The most obvious answer would be to escape our reality, to take a break from our daily routines. As humans, we create rituals for ourselves so that our lives can have some form of meaning, even to the degree where we only feel the mundaneness of our existence and wish to escape the lifestyle that we’ve fallen into. If travel’s purpose is to escape from our reality then the situation presupposes that we have to live dull, soulless lives to encourage us to want to travel and if such is the case, then how miserable must our lives be if the majority of our time is spent devoid of passion? And on the other side of that coin, if we were living a life of passion then why would we have a need to travel? While escaping our reality is a very viable answer, the answer doesn’t set itself up for a strong reason to travel.

Another answer could be to find ourselves; we have this strange paradigm where we feel the need to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves. The idea behind the method is to find a new version of ourselves, to redefine our self so that we may grow our understanding of who we are. The only issue with this method is, “what constitutes as the self?”, especially when we ask the question, “if ‘I’ am ‘I’ because ‘you’ are ‘you’ and if ‘you’ are ‘you’ because ‘I’ am ‘I’, then how can ‘I’ be ‘I’ and how can ‘you’ be ‘you? Since we live in relationship to our world, then our self, our ‘I’ is never actual, which means that when we do travel we’re never finding ourselves, we’re simply gaining a new perspective.

What also comes from the added perspective that we attain from travel is the sense of awe from witnessing something new. When we see something that we deem as beautiful for the first time, that more than likely surprised us, the romantic illusion makes us feel as if we’ve transcended ourselves, becoming one with everything else. But again, much like the initial answer of escaping our reality, the situation presupposes that our normal lifestyle is monotonous to a point where awe feels elusive, creating a need to travel in order to find awe, which again, the reason to find awe as a means for travel doesn’t set itself up for a strong reason to travel. The other thing with awe is that awe can be found anywhere and doesn’t necessarily require travel in order to be found. Why is it that others might find interest in our lifestyle, even desiring to be us when we can see the flaws in our daily lives? The question highlights that awe can be found anywhere and that it just comes down to our point of view and what we decide to take from what we witness.

We could also be interested in achieving a goal in relation to travelling. Many of us have a bucket list of interests that we want to fulfill: sights to see, things to do, moments to capture. But what is missed with this goal orientated form of travel is the potential embrace with the new aura since the focus is on the goal and not living in the atmosphere of the moment.

So why do we travel? Honestly, like everything else, it’s relative. Why one person travels is different to why another person travels, and it should be like that ‘cause if we all travelled for the same reason then we don’t open ourselves up for excitement, for the potential to be surprised, the travel would in itself become mundane, much like some of our realities. But it is in understanding that the reason behind why we travel is relative that we’re able to decide for ourselves why we should travel and in turn, where we should travel, what should we do while we’re travelling, how should we travel, and so on. Travel should be a joyous experience, lived on our terms, not matter why we decide to travel.

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