Why do you travel?
What is it that pulls you away from home and hearth and all of the things you love into the unknown and often uncomfortable? I asked that question of a couple hundred avid travelers and was overwhelmed by the responses. Some were intensely personal, others were broader in nature, and there were common threads woven through.
Here are a dozen reasons why people travel, but the real question is:
Why do you?
Kate Voyage of rtw Travel Guide: I travel to have endless summers and to find places I love enough that I want to keep going back to them over and over again.
Christine Kaaloa of Grrrl Traveler: “When I was an artist, I started traveling abroad to inspire my creativity, seeking out countries whose art I found exciting and which made me think and see in pioneering ways. Eventually, I realized what I was really connecting with (the real inspiration behind the art) was a people, culture and lifestyle, all vastly different from my own; and yet, the same, in heart and the desire to find meaning and beauty in existence. Now I travel to experience this connectedness and feeling I’m a part of something greater and more extraordinary, than who I am. I used to travel so I could feel inspired to create; now travel creates me!”
I used to travel so I could feel inspired to create; now travel creates me!
Tracy Antonioli of The Suitcase Scholar: “Constantly seeing new things, meeting new people, navigating new roads–it keeps me from becoming too comfortable. A long, long time ago I wrote a promise to myself that I’d never become too comfortable. Being comfortable–being complacent–does not lead to growth. No one has ever said ‘Gosh, I’m so happy and comfortable–think I’ll try something new.’ I need to always challenge myself, and I’m simply not going to become a better person while sitting on my own couch.”
Karen Presley Dawkins of Family travels On a Budget: “I’ve always loved travel, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and seeing the places I’ve read about. I started blogging because I’m pretty darn good at traveling on a budget! I keep traveling, honestly, because I’ve learned that the more I discover the more there is to learn… I want to discover it all (though I know I can’t)! I’m also mildly addicted to making new friends wherever I go.”
Rachel Campbell of TreePot Travels: “Travel is one of the few things in life that can give you absolute freedom. With travel you have the option to choose your own path and can change it at any moment. Working as a nanny, I was constantly in charge of others. It was my job to make sure that my charges were being taken care of. I then realized that instead of taking care of others, I needed to take care of myself. That realization is the reason why I started to travel and why I continue to for a very long time.”
Travel is one of the few things in life that can give you absolute freedom.
Lisa Egle of Chicky Bus: “I started to travel because I wanted to see the world, and I continue to travel because it’s what makes me happiest. There’s a certain magic I experience when I go somewhere new–a child-like curiosity, a desire to take risks and a giddiness that comes from being spontaneous and going with the flow.
I especially love the random travel moments that occur, especially those that lead to encounters with the locals. To me, they’re the heart of any culture. So sharing a conversation or meal with them…staying in their home and being part of their lives, even if just for a short time–these are the gems, the moments that make travel both amazing and gratifying in a way that nothing else can.”
Larissa Milne of Changes in Longitude: “Due to a dire family situation, our lives had spiraled out of control and we needed a time out from life. We thought it would just be a year to heal and move on. Somewhere along the way, in Perth, Australia actually, we realized that instead of taking a break, we were making a break from our former life. That philosophy has kept us on the road for 2 1/2 years so far as we seek new lives as travel writers and global explorers.”
Somewhere along the way we realized that instead of taking a break, we were making a break from our former life.
Cathy Goldner of Solo Travelers Alliance: “I travel to see all the beautiful and wonderful places in the world and to experience new situations, cultures and food. Travel renews me and brings great joy to my life. Traveling solo has made me much stronger, confident and interesting.”
Alyssa Adina-Lori James of Alyssa Writes: “I travel because I want to experience life in places different from what I know. I studied culture and language in university, so I don’t want to just see things – I want to participate in different societies and communities. What I get out of it, I won’t know until it’s over.”
Annalyn Belle of Travel Turtle: “My comfort zone is being outside my comfort zone. I’m interested in learning about new places, and then I want to see them, and then I want to learn more. It’s a vicious circle. I’m really into hearing the languages, tasting the food, and getting the sense of place. I travelled a lot growing up and I’ve always had an interest in other cultures. I just can’t get enough.”
Barbara Weibel of Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel: “I travel for so many reasons, but perhaps the most important is that I believe our only chance to create a more peaceful, loving world is to get to know one another on an individual basis. We may wear different clothes, eat different food, speak different languages, and practice different religions, but at our core we all want much the same thing: to have food to eat, a safe place to live, to be free and loved, and to have a better life for our children. By traveling and writing about my experiences, I hope to eliminate fear of people whom we see as different from ourselves.”
Every culture has a different definition of happiness and contentedness– I want to learn about them all and apply those ideas to my own life.
Kristin Francis of Souvenir Finder: “I travel because it gives me a chance to ‘try on’ a new culture and lifestyle. I am fascinated with the way people live around the world and find myself wondering what it would be like if if I lived in a stone cottage in a tiny village deep in the Scottish highlands or in a smaller European city where life is a little slower than where I live In New York. Every culture has a different definition of happiness and contentedness– I want to learn about them all and apply those ideas to my own life.”
Let’s hear from you – why do you travel?
To read more about people’s why’s, check out the following articles and resources:
- What is Your Why?
- A Dozen Reasons Why
- Long-Term Travel: What’s the Point?
- Why Travel Long-Term? An Open Letter to Loved Ones
Photo credits: Shutterstock