What is your definition of travel?
So with this article, I wanted to touch upon the concept of traveling itself, as that is what my blog is about. I hope this will make sense, and that you will recognize your traveler-self in there.
According to the Free Dictionary, traveling is to go from one place to another, as a trip; journey. This definition is pretty straightforward, but I think that traveling goes way beyond this.
Do you think that going somewhere must be of a certain period length to be defined as travel? Do you have to actually leave your country to be traveling? What if you go to the next town?
I personally think that traveling happens when you are going anywhere, whether it is 1 hour from home, at the other side of the country, or abroad. However, I think that there is a distinction between traveling inside your country and outside (may be except for the U.S. as it is so big). When I went to Lyon for my studies, it was still in France, but at the other side of the country. I did not see it as traveling really, as I was going to live there for a few years. But still I have noticed differences in behavior and in mindset, to which I adapted and learned from. When I went to Germany or even the U.S. the differences were much larger. It was a completely different culture, and you feel different mainly because you are so far away from home.
Whether your travel distance is short or long, the purpose is the same. The difficulties and challenges might diverge, depending on where you go and how far the host country’s culture is from your own.
Getting out there
Traveling takes some courage. It means going out of your comfort zone, and getting out there, somewhere you do not know anything about. It takes guts to leave the known for the unknown, which is why some people are not into traveling. Some are born with the travel genes, and they are the ones who take advantage of all the possibilities offered to us. No, traveling is not something easy.
I think that we can all agree on what I think is the primary goal of travels: discovering. Whether it is for professional or personal purposes, traveling involves discovering new things. By going to foreign territories, you will discover a new culture, new people, new habits, and new customs. Something different from home, to which you are not used to. But different is good, and that is what strives most people to move around. I mean, discovering is simply about opening yourself to others, accepting and learning from differences, and tolerating. You will end you gaining so much experience and learning about yourself as well, which will allow you to grow.
Discovering a new culture, new people and new customs then means that you need to adapt. Indeed, we all have different education and opinions, but when you are in a foreign country, you are the minority. This means that you should adapt to the natives’ way of living. It is important not to impose your culture to the host country, as this could be seen as rude and disrespectful. Take advantage of this opportunity to be abroad to learn as much as you can from other people. They can bring you so much! When learning about their culture, you will also be able to share your culture with them, doing a two-way exchange. Do not miss out on what they can bring you, knowledge is what matters the most.
I think that another important factor of travel is to escape. When you have been somewhere for some time already, whether it has been for 10 years or 2years, the routine has been created. Your life did not get boring, but you still established an everyday life that does not change much from one day to another. The remedy to this everyday life for certain people is to leave, escape by traveling somewhere. Getting to discover some new places and people will bring you a feeling of freshness and will bring you new energy to come back to your life and go on.
Meeting new people
Besides discovering new cultures and exchanging with people, traveling also involves meeting new people. Whether it is short-term encounters or long-term friendships, we all find people along the road with whom we bond and create memories. Those memories are what matter the most, and something that we share with these specific people, making it very special. Enjoying travel with others makes the journey better. It also means that you get to learn even more from others, who will most likely help you learn about yourself as well. Its just great. I love going somewhere alone and just meet new people, exchanging, going out, sightseeing and having fun. Even if it does not last, and you know you will probably never see them anymore, you just make the most out of this moment.
The ultimate purpose of travel is freedom. I think that traveling results in the freedom of the mind and of the body. You are in free circulation, you are not worrying about responsibilities, tasks, or anything related to everyday life. When I think of this aspect, I mostly have backpacking or going around the world in mind. I would definitely see myself leaving with only a backpack and going from countries to countries. The only dependence that you’ll have will be transportation and housing, but that is essential to any travel. The feeling to just going somewhere because you want to is something exceptional. Not really having a goal, just seeing places and visiting, means for me to be free. You are free of movement– which I especially think of since as a European, it is quite easy to go from one country to another.
I have tried not to be too confusing in writing the different factors involved in the way I define travel. We can agree on the fact that travel is difficult to define! It is a small word, but it means so much! But now, I would be interested and curious to know how you would define traveling.
So, in your opinion, what does it mean to travel?
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