What are our reasons for travelling? It’s a question you get when meeting people in hostels all the time. It’s a question our families ask when we head off on our latest adventure to an exotic location. Most of the time it’s easy to give a routine answer. ‘I’ve always been interested in the culture’, or ‘I’ve always wanted to see the *famous attraction*’. Maybe it was just that we saw some cool pictures on social media and had to see the destination for ourselves.
All of these are great reasons for travelling and they’re almost certainly true when you offer them up as your answer. Sometimes, though, the reasons run deeper.
Travel gets us away from our reality. For a couple of weeks on the road we can be who we want to be and do what we want to do. We can get away from everyone who knows us and try on a different persona without judgement. The causes for this are many.
Maybe some people take the Eat, Pray, Love route. After a breakup with a loved one a trip around the world can be a perfect tonic. It allows independence away from that person, it allows time to think about what happened and how you’ve changed. It can even provide a rebound relationship without the judgement of those at home or the risk of running into an ex at the shops.
Everybody’s reasons are different
Maybe some people are bored. They aren’t happy in their job and instead they dream of doing something else that challenges and fascinates them. When feeling unfulfilled, travel can be a way to fill that gap. It can offer challenges and new experiences that are the complete opposite of day-to-day office drudgery. I know plenty of people who sit in their office and dream of running away.
Others will argue that that’s exactly what this is; running away. Running away from your problems to avoid dealing with them. And, honestly, there might be an element of truth to that. But that doesn’t mean running away to the other side of the world can’t be the antidote to your troubles at the same time.
Travelling and challenging ourselves gives us a great chance for self reflection. Maybe you realise that breaking up with that person was the right thing to do and you’re better off for it. Maybe travel leads to the realisation that quitting your job will make you happier. These are the things you can think about and consider in greater detail when you’re in the middle of a South American jungle, or gazing at the stars above an African savanna.
Travel might not solve all your problems. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t. Not everyone can gain the same enlightenment and sense of self that Elizabeth Gilbert gained. But that’s OK too. The worst case scenario is that you didn’t figure things out but you had a great time trying.
There are many reasons for travelling and exploration. Maybe, for some, they are trying to run away. That can be a good thing, even if it takes a little heartache or boredom to get there.