Why do we travel?
Why we love to travel and why it is so good for us
There’s something incredibly exciting about the entire process of packing your bags, locking up your front door, and heading off to a vacation. All of us, no matter who we are, crave for some travel – a trip once a year or more – that gives us a break from our routines and lets us explore a new location, city or a country.
And while the pandemic certainly put a damper on many travel dreams, and disrupted the travel and tourism industry, did you know that in 2019, the number of international tourist arrivals worldwide had peaked? According to a research study published by Statista Research Department, there were nearly a 1.47 billion international arrivals back then!
Why do we all seem to share a such a deep-rooted love for travel? While the reasons may differ from person to person, there are some motivators that are universal in nature. We would love to add to the list, so if you have something in particular that is behind your drive to travel and explore the world around you, please feel free to reach out!
Seeking change and adventure
Life can be predictable and sometimes a tad boring. We all seek a little adventure to break the monotony of routine. Travelling to different places gives us just that. Whether it is about navigating a charming, cobbled street or an unfamiliar alleyway, trying out a fragrant curry or a full-fledged thali meal, or even conversing in broken French whilst in Paris – a trip holds the promise of something new and exciting. Remember the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which Ben Stiller trades his dull life for adventures across Greenland and more? We all have a little bit of Walter Mitty in us and that is why we love to explore! It doesn’t matter what the landscape is – ancient valleys and secret waterfalls, or compact city squares and bustling marketplaces. Change and adventure can be pursued just about anywhere in your travels.
An opportunity to relax and rejuvenate
Sometimes, it is all about relaxation though. Most of us lead busy lives, with demanding jobs or routines and want a week or more where we can simply unwind. It could be about not having to make breakfast or dinner or do the dishes or just the idea of waking up to a lakeshore or a beautiful cityscape – anything that you fancy. Travel can be relaxing – you don’t have to tick off every item on the tourist map, and you can make your travel about breakfast in bed or afternoon swims in the lake if that is what your heart desires.
Celebrating our relationships and special moments
A lot of us travel to mark and celebrate the special moments in our life – be it birthdays, anniversaries, wedding, graduation and more. In doing so, we are building even greater memories, and strengthening our relationships. And it is not just about our relationships with the significant others in our life, from our friends, spouses, partners or parents, it is also about getting to know ourselves better. Plus, there’s no greater pleasure in life than to share a new landscape with those that you love and cherish.
The perfect escape
Sometimes though, we travel because we want an escape. From a stressful job or scenario. To give ourselves a change of scene when we have experienced a loss. Or even to escape or trade dull weather for sunny skies. Travel has healing properties and no matter what you are seeking to escape from, it may often help you to come back to your life with a renewed energy and focus. Even a new perspective.
Discoveries and learning
Travel can also be about a desire to learn something new. It could be about learning a foreign language, getting to understand a different culture or trying your hands at a fascinating cuisine. When you gain insight into new customs, diverse ways of living, faith and traditions, you are equipping yourself with knowledge that goes beyond a classroom. Isn’t that the reason that when we were in school, field trips and holidays to places of historical significance were considered a part of our education?
Memories and stories
Most often than not, we travel because we want to create, for ourselves and for those that we choose to share our travels with – some great memories.
And by memories, it is not just about getting that perfect Instagram shot or a Facebook post. It is about making memories that come from shared experiences and adventures, even those that didn’t go quite as planned. With travelling, we are also arming ourselves with a repertoire of stories and anecdotes – narratives that we have heard from fellow travellers or local people, tales and folklores of a place that we have visited as well as stories that we have created ourselves by having authentic experiences.
It could be about seeing an elephant for the very first time – an elephant that is in a jungle or walking the streets with a mahout on his back and tinkling bells around his neck, about witnessing an incredible sunset, of trying unfamiliar but delicious food straight from a street vendor…memories and stories that come sprinkled with a little bit of adventure.
Looking for better versions of ourselves
When we travel, we learn more about the world around ourselves, the different people, animals and birds that inhabit it and this in turn may give us an opportunity to be more humble and grateful. So many travellers say that travelling has made them more accepting, flexible and indeed raised their empathy quotient. This may happen because the more we travel, the more we appreciate the diversity of languages, cultures and customs around us as also the commonality that binds us all. Travel truly has the power to transform, and that is why people across the world vouch for its empowering benefits.
Here’s a little something. Let us know if you belong to a group of travellers who love to travel because it gives you an opportunity to sample, explore and relish different cuisines.
With food shows like Celebrity MasterChef or Rick Stein’s India and many others in the same league, we have grown to understand and have a healthy curiosity for the various kinds of recipes, ingredients and cuisines that are available across the world. And travel gives us many avenues to pursue this love of good food and world cuisines. So many cities across the globe now offer food tours, leading tourists to the best produce, local markets, restaurants, home chefs and hidden gastronomy treasures. It is no wonder then, that a love of good food can be a major motivator when it comes to packing your bags and heading off on a plane, a cruise or even on a motorway!
Here’s to safe, sustainable and happy travels for all of us – not just for the festive season but for the coming year too. And please don’t forget to write to us; we would love to hear your stories.
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Prerna Shah is a media and content professional with over a decade of experience in both print and digital. Based currently in Dublin, Ireland, she pursues her passion for storytelling by creating engaging and authentic content on a variety of topics and issues, and also by maintaining a personal blog.