Why do you like to travel? I get asked this question a lot. I never quite know how to answer because I don’t like to travel. I don’t like airplanes. I like sleeping in my own bed. I don’t like living out of a backpack. I get terrible motion sickness. Paul Theroux, one of the greatest living travel writers, likes to point out that the root of the word “travel” means misery and hardship because he hates to travel, too. Travel truly is awful: waiting for planes. trains. buses. feeling dirty. exhausted. frustrated. out of place. helpless. mute. purposeless. broke.
Enter my favorite quote regarding travel: “Travel is limiting the comforts of the body to gain freedom of the mind.”
I don’t travel for sightseeing or lazy days on the beach. I travel for the challenge. To introduce myself to entirely new ways of thinking. Entirely new ways of living. To clear my mind of the mundane thoughts that so often fill our days, and focus on the deep powerful presence of life.
Some people view long-term travel as a form of escapism, and for some it may be, but I view it as diving head first into life, and emerging with an experience that will benefit you (and those around you) for the rest of your life. It’s a personal investment. I suppose the short answer to the question “Why do you like to travel?” is that I want to develop myself, become more informed, more confident, more tolerant, more secure.
My next post will be from Russia. I have a one-way ticket leaving St. Louis on Monday and arriving in Moscow on Tuesday. I know one word of Russian.
I can’t wait.