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  • Joanne Herd

The desire for real: Why we actually travel

Updated December 4, 2023

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~St. Augustine


Why do we travel? What is it in us that makes us want to experience the world, while others seem content to stay where they are?

The desire to travel does not seem to be restricted to one type of person. It’s not about whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, an artist or an accountant, a detailed planner or someone who believes in taking life as it comes.

It’s not about skin color, race, or income. For some of us there simply exists a need to see the world, and it has been part of us for as long as we can remember.

But why, really, do we do it?

Why we travel: We travel to explore.

To learn about cultures, people, and places that are different from our normal lives. To explore our own thoughts, beliefs, and sense of self.

Through travel we expand our horizons, both literally and figuratively. By seeing and doing new things we begin to think differently.

Why we travel: we desire to experience something real.

In a day and age when we have millions of videos and photos of exciting destinations in our pockets, there still exists the need to go.

To touch. To taste. To smell. To feel.

We need to experience the world and people around us, to be reminded that even when our lives feel like the center of the universe, we’re really just a small thread in the fabric of civilization.

Why we travel: to engage, both with others and with ourselves.

Through travel we connect with the past, the present, and our desires for the future. We escape the everyday world we normally inhabit and the mental ruts we easily fall into.

Travel allows us to exist, in some ways, outside of our daily lives. To see our world from a new perspective. To take it apart, imagine it different, and believe it can changed.

That, I believe, is why we travel. To explore, experience, and engage. And in the end, to come back from every journey a little bit different from who we were when we started.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” ~Anthony Bourdain


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