Looking at the world through the lens of social media these days, it seems that the concept of travel is constantly being glorified. It seems many consider it the only way to spend ones’ youth or the only way to truly break away from the daily grind and find yourself. Don’t get me wrong – travel is wonderful and something that everyone should have the opportunity to do at one point or another, but it’s important to remember that many people don’t even enjoy traveling – it can be uncomfortable and stressful after all.
As someone who has spent a large part of their mid-twenties on the road for various reasons and living out of a suitcase, I have experienced the many joys and headaches of travel. Here’s why I travel:
For work – This is a pretty straightforward reason and not a very glamorous one. Every week I throw my undershirts and dress socks in my rollerboard because I have to get on a plane to wherever my current project is. Being away from home sucks, but this regular travel has allowed me to do some more rewarding travelling in my down time.
To discover new places – Seeing and experiencing a new city is thrilling. The architecture, the people, the parks, the food, the nightlife: they all come together to make a place unique. Immersing yourself in other cultures can help you expand your own boundaries and think about things in new ways. All of these experiences are an integral part of fulfilling life for me.
To experience what’s not different – Seeing a new skyline or hearing a new accent sparks wonder and curiosity, but identifying a similarity in a foreign culture to your own can be just as gratifying. Art, drink, food, family, and the great outdoors are things that I’ve found are valued highly no matter where in the world you are. Being able to share an experience and relate to others in faraway lands helps me feel connected with this world and all people in it.
To connect with people in new ways – Almost as important as where you travel to, is who you travel with. The stress and joy of travel brings out traits in people we didn’t know were there – both bad and good. Being able to experience this wide range of emotions with loved ones while exploring a new world together is unforgettable.
It helps me appreciate home – It’s hard to describe the feeling of a plane approaching the airport of your hometown after being on the road for a while, but it’s somewhere between contentedness and joy. For all the wonders you see during your adventures, returning to the places and people (and animals) that you know will be awaiting you when you return is a wonderful feeling. It also gives you a chance to measure your favorite museum or your favorite watering hole up against some of the best in the world and realize just how great you really have it. Getting out and seeing what the world has to offer helps you appreciate the world you have built for yourself.
A final note on travelling: it doesn’t require going long distances or even getting on an airplane. There are wonders to be found around every corner – you just have to go looking for them. Weekend road trips or overnight stays can be some of the greatest adventures so don’t discount them. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and may our paths one day cross.
Written by Peter Letarte, great friend, past roommate, and one of the most well travelled people I know @Swan_Song12
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