What is travel? What is the definition of travelling and what are the reasons people invest so much time and money into travel and travelling?
According to Wikipedia (the expert reference on absolutely everything of course) travel is ‘the movement of people between relatively distant geographical locations.’ This is a surprising definition to me as I always think of travelling as the whole experience of discovering a new place and its people, its culture and all its idiosyncrasies. This definition states it also encompasses ‘travel by foot, bicycle, automobile, train, boat, airplane, or other means, with or without luggage, and can be one way or round trip’ which signifies to me more the journey than the destination and an engaging experience involving all the senses and means I’ve been thinking about travelling the ‘wrong’ way this whole time.
Similarly, the Oxford dictionary defines this verb as to ‘make a journey, typically of some length’ or to ‘move, typically in a constant or predictable way.’
Another way to look at this question would be to ask: why travel? I feel this gives us some more inspiring descriptions. This Battered Suitcase says:
We travel to try new things, to meet different people, to discover ourselves.
This is certainly a lot more like how I feel about travel! Yet she also encompasses some of the more rigorous definitions given above with this:
Sometimes, though, we travel just so we can feel our feet move, step after step.
This wanderlust describes many reasons for setting off but doesn’t quite explain the reluctance to return home. The Solo Traveler Blog talks about the amazing experiences to be had:
We travel to be free: to explore, to escape our daily lives, to relax, to step outside ourselves and shake things up. We travel because we are curious. We travel to feel alive.
Similarly This Battered Suitcase also touches on this theme describing the desires of many:
We travel to see the extraordinary, to feel the wind at our backs. We travel with our minds open and our hair wild, our imaginations, too.
True Colours sums up her reasons in one beautiful phrase:
I choose to travel so that I can live my life to the fullest I can and so that in the end, I can look back and know that I really lived and experienced all that I could have.
She goes on to say:
Throughout each trip, I always come out the other end with a lesson, with something that stopped me in my tracks and taught me something important.
These lessons can be anything from learning a new fact about a different culture, finding a hidden gem in your own hometown or discovering something truly profound about yourself. In this way travel really can change you.
Travel has a way of teaching us in ways that perhaps nothing else can; it makes us look at our world and ask the tough questions as we wander through it.
The Solo Traveler Blog agrees with this by saying:
We travel to learn and understand: to learn about history, culture, and different perspectives. We travel to discover our differences and our similarities, and to develop an understanding of our place in the world.
In conclusion, I think Living in Another Language put it perfectly when they say:
Once you’re bitten by the travel bug you can’t ever shake it off. It’s there all the time, gnawing away at you, making you itch for more, and more, and more!
It really does feel almost like a disease! To be thinking about travel, to be reliving the memories of the last adventure or planning the next, watching travel shows, reading travel books and blogs, being inspired by travel pictures on Instagram and Pinterest – it really is like an addiction that can’t be beaten. But then who would want to be a ‘recovering travelaholic’ per se? Rather keep falling off the wagon and seeing more of the world with each tumble in a new and exciting destination…