Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Why Travel?

As of today I've officially been traveling for six months. I've been fortunate enough to visit South Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam and Laos. There have been lots (and lots) of ups, along with a few downs but overall this trip has been everything I had hoped it would be and more. I've seen and done so much: Taught English to the coolest kids ever, witnessed a landmine detonate, learned to make spring rolls, became a certified scuba diver, strolled through the biggest fish market in the world, hung out with hot tubbing snow monkeys, learned to ride a motorbike, sang Single Ladies with Vietnamese men on a night train, swam in a nearly pitch black cave... to name a few.

Hitting the six month mark got me to thinking more about why so many of us are fascinated by and compelled to travel. Everyday people pack their bags and leave everything familiar behind to head into the complete unknown. But why exactly? What is so great about traveling?

To get an answer I decided to ask some of the people I've met along the way, from all over the world, this question:

Why does travel appeal to you/why do you travel?

Here is what they had to say:

"I travel for many reasons, but one is to gain life experience and to learn to understand humans better. The more countries you go to and cultures you have experienced, the more you realize how much of the behaviour of people is social conditioning. And you start to realize that that's a fact even for your own culture."
- Martin, 30, Germany

"I guess because I hope I can find assurance on the other side.
I hope to find friendly faces, new stories, certainty and unpredictability, opportunities to trust myself, awkward situations, the interesting and unknown. I travel to experience other realities and become more accepting and tolerating, to understand and help understand. I deal with the art of getting up early to catch a flight, packing the essential and not taking that bag i really like, leaving stuff behind in the middle of the journey, being away from friends and not knowing if the taxis are ripping you off or if you'll have free wifi on your next stop. And I keep doing it and will continue to do so because it's all worth it, because so far I've found all those things and many more, some that I'm not capable of imagining from the gate I sit comfortably in every time I'm on to something new, because to travel is to imagine. I find happy people every time, and I find myself happier as I visit more places...that's assuring enough."
- Roxana, 25, Mexico

 "Why do I travel? Why wouldn’t I?! I love interacting with new cultures, seeing some amazing scenery/buildings/animals, plotting my own course, meeting hundreds of new wonderful people and a lot more. I’ve visited Brazil for 1.5 months and Southeast Asia for 2.5 months and hope to visit a lot of more countries/continents the upcoming years."
- Bart, 26, Netherlands

"It is an awesome way how to open yourself to the world... get to meet great people, get to know yourself better. learn how to be independent and be able to see and understand the world which is very different from yours... giving you the chance to understand your own world better. Very exciting, new places, new people, new cultures, gives you a chance to challenge yourself, can change your priorities and values in life."
- Zuzana, 26, Slovakia

"Travel making new chance... anytime. Meet new people meet new things. That is a reason of I like travel. But sometimes we miss eachother. But that's ok... Cus we have a good memories. It's a power of live."
- Choi, 35, South Korea

"Why do I travel? Well it is a good question with a multiple ways of answer. First of all, I travel because I understand that is the only way of really know other people, other countries and other cultures, with different ways of living and seeing life. Sure, I can read a book or search in the internet but certainly it is not the same thing and those who travel agree with me for sure. But I can’t lie, when I travel, my goal is not just know another things or people. It is also to know me better, to understand my real me, my boundaries, what I like to do, getting out of my comfortable zone. Meanwhile, I know that is not a cheap thing to do, but it really worth’s! We just have to do it, to accept the challenge and live! Live with the new, enjoying the good and learning with the bad! Just do it!"
- Sara, 22, Portugal

"Traveling is like drug ,addictive... traveling makes you who you are, takes you out of your comfort zone and brings you to new places you didn`t even know you would love... travel to open your eyes, to be more aware of the rest of the world , to be more compassionate for other people's destiny, to be more thankful for what you have, to feel the happiness with every single muscle of your body... traveling connects you with people that share the same horizon as you do and gives you new ideas for life... travelling is the only way you find out the true path... travelling is my love and light."
- Yvetta, 21, Bulgaria

 "I like to travel to see and experience new things, to get out of my comfort zone and to put my life into perspective. I also have a love of history so it's interesting to go to different places to hear the stories of the past and see how it impacts the people today."
- Conor, 22, Australia

"I have always had the desire to travel. This because I want to go explore, leave my comfort zones, see the world and meet its people. Since I have started traveling I have met some truely amazing people and seen some unforgettable sights. These are the things that make traveling worth while for me."
- Ben, 23, UK

As for me?
"Although there are too many reasons to count, I think the main reason why I travel can be summed up in one word: people. My most memorable and meaningful travel experiences involve the countless people I've met along the way. I love meeting people from foreign countries, hearing their stories, learning about how they live or at the very least, exchanging a smile with them. Traveling and meeting people from around the world remind me that I'm part of a much bigger picture."
- Me, 23, Canada

We all have different motivations but the bottom line is we can't imagine a life without travel. It's not always easy but it's always worth it. So what are you waiting for?!

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