Why travel?

To those people drawn to travelling and going on adventures (whatever an adventure is to you) and knowing the world: could you explain your enthusiasm?
Lately I’ve been surrounded by speeches of that nature and I just can’t empathise with it. I’m curious.

This is a fascinating question, although very broad. Could you somehow narrow it down a bit?

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For me, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in my own head and keep doing the same things over and over. If I let myself do that for too long, my creativity (and honestly motivation to do anything) start running down. Even though travel and change and adventures are stressful for me, once I am doing them I find myself having a lot of fun (even when things don’t entirely go to plan) and discovering new aspects of myself. I find that limits I thought I had aren’t as solid as I assumed. I find new people, new points of view, and new challenges. The process of planning a trip, executing a trip, and recovering from the trip help me discover and affirm the best parts of myself and find ideas for replacing or shoring up those parts of myself that aren’t the best version of me.

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Mmm, I could but I rather you (or anyone) took that liberty and adapted it according to your own criteria. Reply whatever you feel is most relevant. Does that make sense to you?

Woooo, super interesting!! I get the getting wrapped up in your own head thing, though I don’t quite share it. I think I have this natural tendency (for the moment being) to always dig, dig and dig, in search of the different “truths” that I could apply to myself and my life, so I rarely feel… Stuck. But I totally get the idea, and I’m more than aware of the fact that it may happen to me, at some point in my life, so. Nice to read.
Either way, the part of uncomfortable adventures being stressful but fruitful resonates quite a lot, especially based on recent records: I didn’t enjoy the experiences themselves, but they also gave me a more solid sense of the resulting truths I stumbled upon—granted, I never consider anything to be entirely certain. This is a philosophy that mostly helps me let go and be more okay with pretty much everything, though other times it’s awfully frustrating. I keep trying to stay with the first bit, ha. Never allowing that uncertainty to stop me from doing or feeling, though. Important.
I specially loved the “recovering from the trip” part. Time helps perspective and insight kick in :slight_smile:
Anywho, thank the stars for the human capacity of turning pain into gain. It’s like broccoli. While you’re cooking it, the smell is terrible and you wonder what good may come from it, but then, once the smell is gone and you’re eating it (in a nice bowl and with some nice olive oil and stuff, specially), it tastes just fine and it’s great for you.
Thanks for the answer!

My world is experientially small. My IT world is huge. I’m in coastal South Carolina but I talk professionally with folks in “exotic places” all the time. Just like with everything else, hearsay is not the same an actual experience. My desire to travel is to grow my experiential world to match my IT world but minus the IT. If I ever get the opportunity to travel it will be months at a time.

I think that last one caused Mr K a bit of angst. My one pure social trip “beyond my world” was to hang with Fluff (who uses Mr K as a chauffeur), Mr X and Mr Bacon for one of the most glorious weeks of my life.


If I want to learn about a place, nothing beats going there. The heavy Scots Gaelic accent that sounds identical to Irish except for idiom? I wouldn’t know if I hadn’t been unable to communicate with a waitress in Inverness except by pointing. The deep thread of courtesy that runs through English culture even in the heart of London? I wouldn’t know if I hadn’t dropped my suitcase while in a crowded stairway in the Underground during rush hour.

Discomfort? I’ve had plenty. And I’m always anxious about making flights and connections. But I wouldn’t want to have missed the gut-wrenching majesty of being at sea in a North Atlantic storm. Or hearing Vivaldi performed in a Viennese Gothic cathedral. Or sharing my husband’s reminiscences of being in divided Berlin as a young man while we looked at the remains of The Wall. Or even learning how much I despise the repetitive and fashion-driven monstrosities that are Baroque architecture. (Austria, Germany, Britain, or Russia, they’re all cloying and interchangeable.)

There are many more examples.

Hubby and I are discussing another trip. It might be South Pacific, or the Mediterranean, or South America. I’ll be stressed for a week before we arrive, and for hours as we leave, Nonetheless I’ll go and learn.

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Mark Twain.
“Why travel?” :open_mouth: Why not?
Take care,

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Well said.

Sadly, Mark Twain was wrong about travel. While it CAN weaken “prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” hold on our souls, it doesn’t always prove fatal.

While I was living in Xiamen, I found myself spending an afternoon in the company of an expat engineer, working for a well-known company setting up the production line machinery in their huge new factory.

He and his partner were accommodated in a suite in the Holiday Inn Hotel. He told me that while he was at work—the company providing a chauffeur driven car to take him there and back—his partner never left the hotel. While he was not at work and they were together, the only time they left the hotel was when they took one of the hotel cars to one of the other international hotels in the city to have dinner in a change of restaurant!

The exceptions to prove Mark Twain right? :laughing:


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They sound like my mother. :smiley:

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I suppose I should explain that a bit. Mom was born, raised, and died in Enid, Oklahoma, USA. She complained about every place she visited that wasn’t Enid. All visits were as brief as she could manage and she avoided environments that differed from Enid as much as she could. The people spoke wrong, everything was dirty (even in Boston!) the food tasted funny, the weather was bad, etc., etc.

Did she learn from her travel? I couldn’t see any evidence of it, except perhaps that she wanted to avoid travel as much as possible.

Perhaps Twain’s observation only applies to those who travel with an open mind.


I didn’t go into details with him … it rapidly transpired that we had virtually zero in common, but yes, they do seem to resemble your mum.

And yes, I agree with what you say about Twain’s comment and “open mind”, but with a wry thought that if you truly have an open mind, you shouldn’t have any bigotry or prejudices needing to be exterminated.

On the other hand, in Xiamen I encountered a fair number of expats whose prejudices etc. suffered no extermination, but they clearly were not of an open mind!



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Mom was an “ex-pat” for a while.
In southern Texas.
All your comments apply.

Maybe it has to do with the purpose one has in travelling. Mom never travelled to learn, to meet new people, to have new experiences. At most, she wanted a cool photo and a souvenir, or a lucrative job so as to make a profit on the journey. She was too terrified to learn, and covered her terror of all that was different with contempt, anger, denial, and avoidance.

I learned my love of travel from Dad.

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Confucius he say, “Nowt t’ do wi’ me, pal.”

I’ve never liked to travel. Each time I leave my home, I feel like it is the last time I’ve been there. There was a time one of my cats came to me while I was leaving, and he asked me one last hug. I never saw him again.

Traveling makes me feel ill. I’m enthusiast when I can find some local cooking, but most often I arrive late to a town, and the only thing open is a place frying hamburgers. There is never a place to go to a toilet. The hotel room or the apartment is usually dirty and noisy. And a couple times I’ve been robbed while traveling.

When I can survive a trip, I like to stay as long as possible. So, I don’t like to be a tourist, one of those who only learn how to say goodbye in thousand dialects. I have always to find a way to live a place for at least a few weeks. I want to go to the farmer’s market, meet the bartenders, go to a local theatre, know the walk on the riverside or the seaside. But since most places are the same, with the same TV shows and the same clothes in the shop windows, I tend to be annoyed very soon, and can’t wait to leave.

I do love airports and train stations, though. The best ones have clean bathrooms and do offer you a free coffee. I like to listen to the announcements in the local language. I like to see people from all around the world coming and going in from my seat in the waiting room. Why travel, when you can have the world do the effort for you?


I’m getting old… Not Mr X old, but more an early Vic-K old. Mrs and I are making plans. Plans to “see things”. Plans that say “seeing things means living there for a bit”. So I’m learning to sail. That way we can take our house with us.

We took our house with us when we returned from Bangkok to the UK in 1974 … we had a 12-seater LandRover which we turned into a motor-home ourselves.

Bangkok —> Penang
Penang — Chennai (then still Madras) by ship
India —> Pakistan —> Aghanistan —> Iran —> Turkey —> Bulgaria —> Yugoslavia (still unified) —> Austria —> Germany —> Belgium
Ostend —> Dover by ferry.

You couldn’t do it now! People here would ask me, “Weren’t you afraid of breaking down in India?” My answer, “No. I was afraid of breaking down in Germany!”


Mr X

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Ours is a bit more circuitous. North up US coast. Newfoundland -> Greenland -> Iceland -> Scotland -> London (winter over). We are still arguing over what’s after… I’d go right to Barcelona and spend a year there. She’s more about France and Italy. From there it’s back to the US via Canaries and Caribbean. Then we have to see if we still have the wanderlust.

Of course I think she’s humoring more than anything right now…