Luke Armstrong | Feb 17, 2023
It’s like asking, “Why do you get dressed in the morning?” The answer depends on where you’re going that day, what you’re doing, and why.
People travel for different reasons. So rather than sink into abstract speculation, let’s get to the heart of it. I asked some of the most well-traveled folks I know why they do it, and here’s what they came up with.
From: Mike Dalager
One main reason that I travel as much as I do is to learn. It’s true what they say, experience is the best teacher. Trying to know or understand different cultures and their art, music, language, the landscape of a region, and every activity in life would require a lot of books to read or lectures to attend. But to experience these things by traveling goes far beyond the justice a book can do. I think a Beatles' lyric says it best: "The farther one travels, the less one really knows." You can read all day or sit in your house and think you actually know what the world has to offer, but in reality, if you take one step outside the door and actually go and experience life, you will come to the realization that there's always something more to learn. The best way to learn is by getting out and doing it!
From: Christina Gomes
I travel because it's in my bones, sealed in the spirals of my DNA. I'm called to trace the lines on humanity, and to seek the extraordinary. There are over 7 billion ways to live a life. Over 7 billion peeps I could meet. I'm just trying to make some of them my neighbor at one time or another, for a short time or longer. I feel like I was meant to explore the depths of humanity. I only know my human existence, but I'm curious about how others live, what they eat, how they spend their days, and the best way to do that is to get out of the bubble of my immediate surroundings and put myself literally in the shoes of others. Literally, sometimes I try on their shoes.
From: Julia Sunshine
It was about 4 years ago that my life completely crumbled before my eyes. My three-year-old relationship ended a few weeks before my birthday. Then in my first month in a new apartment with new roommates, one of them had a heart attack and died. I came home hours later and called 911. It was my first brush with death in this life. A week later I was out on my rollerblades and crashed. I was found screaming, not able to say a word, on my knees, not able to feel my feet. From then on, I lived with chronic pain that doctors and chiropractors weren’t able to remedy. I remember the moment I decided I wanted to travel . . . I was out on the streets of Montreal, with a cane, doctor-prescribed morphine in my blood, and a flask of red wine, I asked myself ... is this life? What’s keeping me in such an impossible existence? Deep in my heart, I knew this wasn’t it. This wasn’t life. I dreamed of healing and connection and I wasn’t finding that in Montreal. So, I went. I saved for 8 months, and bought a backpack, a tent, and prepared myself to go for the first time on a solo journey to Costa Rica. I knew one person there. Now I know so many. It’s funny how life goes. After healing my body these past 3 years, I have confidence there is true transformation to be found on the road. I believe in my power and acquired knowledge and deepened my talents to now help others grow, heal, and evolve. For me, it’s my hero’s journey. This is why I travel.
From: Annie Erling Gofus, Tripscout
I travel for all the obvious reasons: food, people, and to satisfy that itchy feeling you get when you're in one place for too long. But since reflecting on how travel has formed me into the adult I am today, my list of reasons to travel as grown. Food is still at the top of that list, but sharing meals with strangers in a city half a world away has taught me many things: the courage to go somewhere unfamiliar, humility to ask for directions when I'm lost, and empathy for people who seemingly have little in common with me except our humanity. Travel opens your eyes in unexpected ways (and introduces your taste buds to unexpected flavors)!
Luke Maguire Armstrong is the author of "The Nomad's Nomad." He has spent the last decade traveling, writing and designing, and funding philanthropic programs around the world.
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