Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thoughts on Travel

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.

I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it.

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the idea of living.

Iwatayama Park, Arashiyama, Kyoto
Iwatayama Park, Arashiyama, Kyoto

I travel to learn. It's as simple as that. As a human, I am the ongoing result of a lifetime of experiences. Everyday, we grow and develop as individuals as we build on the foundation of experiences we have lived. However, without traveling, there are entire worlds that we will not interact with. For me, this is the sake of travel. It matters less where we go—what is important is the act of traveling, or travel for the sake of travel. Anywhere that is new to us, anywhere we have never seen or experienced; these locations are the best opportunities to learn.

Most likely, the best learning experiences come from interacting with the previously unknown. We fill in the gaps of our knowledge as we try new things. This unknown is a strong factor in contributing to our learning process as humans. Naturally, this includes the unknown about another's culture, customs, and ways of thinking. However, it also includes the unexpected events that occur while traveling. While life surprises us everywhere including our own neighborhood, it is safe to say that while traveling, these occurrences are much more numerous.

We can plan out every minute detail of our trip, but in the end, things will not turn out as planned. Some are good: the spontaneous invitation to a new friend's house for dinner, getting lost and discovering an alley untouched by tourists, or even just deciding to say hell with your schedule and enjoying the rest of the afternoon in the shade of a cafe. Others will be... less fortunate, such as the time you get conned into something you never intended or the moment you realize you missed the last train. However, regardless of your luck, it will never fail to provide an experience. Even when it may be the worst feeling in the world, in hindsight, it will likely prove to be your most valuable lesson.

This leads into the last concept of learning—personal development. By definition, when we learn, we grow as individuals. How we live our lives is the result of the collective knowledge acquired over a full lifetime. However, unlike the learning that goes on in a classroom, travel provides an education impossible to learn through books or memorization. We grow the most when we are out of our comfort zone, and the easiest way to push ourselves is to travel.

Through travel, we learn about ourselves.

We learn that we are much stronger than we could have ever imagined. We challenge ourselves in ways we would never normally consider whether it be eating things to be polite that even locals scoff at, or getting over a fear of swimming in order to see the Great Barrier Reef up close. In addition, we develop a heightened sense of perception to our surroundings. Like children, everything in the world becomes new again: sights, smells, sounds, even the simple act of crossing the street becomes an endeavor.

Travel is not permanent. Eventually, we will return to our everyday lives, whether it be back at home or develop new habits living abroad. However, just as we cannot un-live an experience, what we learned on our travels never leaves us. "It is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the idea of living."


  1. One thing's for sure, you can never go back once you've gotten a taste of what lies out there.

    Enjoyed reading this!

  2. Just came across your blog and I love it. Do continue to update us with more of your interesting stories!

  3. @Krampus Thanks for the comment. No kidding. travel is a drug. A healthy but expensive drug...

    @Kanyu I'm glad you like it! I appreciate the feedback.