Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why We Travel



                            Market in McLeod Ganj - 11 June, 2009


I've always wondered why people travel. And what the whole point of travelling is.

People didn't always travel for leisure, did they? In ye olden times, most people only travelled because it was a means to get things done, for civilian work or military purposes. Travel was never an escape, it was a necessity. If anything, it was just the rich who travelled, to experience something new, a change in scenery perhaps, or an activity to kill boredom.

Maybe that was it. The only people who did travel for enjoyment, did so because it wasn't a necessity for them. Maybe when something becomes a necessity, it's no longer enjoyable? So in order to enjoy travel, you had to have the luxury of not being forced to partake in it? Reasonable? 

Over time, travel spread to other sections of society. As more and more people got the means to travel i.e money, and the time away from work, travel became a popular pastime.

Still, many people don’t travel today – they're happy doing what they always do – going about their normal everyday jobs. These people, you will observe, are mostly involved in traditional occupations - farming, fishing, etc. - that involve a lot of time. Also, the people in these occupations just don't seem to want to travel. They are happy as they are, with no urge to see the outside world. Contrast this with modern professionals who might be busy, but still dream of travel.

What separates the traditionalists from the modernists? The non-travelers from the travelers? Do some people get the travel itch? Or is it peer pressure? Or something else? It's difficult to say. Maybe all people get the travel itch, to some extent, and some just suppress it, while others act on it.

But what exactly is this travel itch. What makes people travel? What motivates them? Is it the desire to see or experience new things, peer pressure, an opportunity to give yourself bragging rights? Some people travel to experience new sights, sounds and smells. I guess that's O.K. Many people travel to just take photographs. I can identify with that. But what about going that extra step, finding out about the story behind the photo? I'm talking about new wholesome experiences rather than just sights, sounds and smells. It seems few people want to do that. Travel for most is travel for the sake of change.

I think I've identified at least 3 trains of thought above - the evolution of travel, why some of us don't travel, and what travel really is. 

Your thoughts are welcome.


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