“Why do you travel?”
This question was casually asked of me recently.
What a silly question, I thought. How could you possibly need to ask? Why would you not travel?
But it was still with me the next day. Although it seemed such an obvious question, no one had ever asked me, so I had never paused to consider it.
So while it was on my mind, I posed the question to the members of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. As I had anticipated, a wide variety of thoughtful responses came back to me from across the world. As I sorted through them, a few themes began to emerge, many echoing my own feelings.
We travel to see and experience: to see the landscapes, the art, the architecture. We travel to experience new things, to meet new people and to consider new ideas. We travel to taste the food, the wine, the exotic and the everyday of local cuisine.
We travel to learn and understand: to learn about history, culture, and different perspectives. We travel to learn about others and, just as importantly, about ourselves. We travel to discover our differences and our similarities, and to develop an understanding of our place in the world.
We travel to be free: to explore, to escape our daily lives, to relax, to step outside ourselves and shake things up. We travel because we are curious. We travel to feel alive.
For me, all of these reasons fit. I tend to plan my travels around food and wine, which provide my entry point to a culture. I learn about the land from which the food grew, the people who nurture it, and the traditions associated with sharing and enjoying it. I challenge myself and find my boundaries. I discover new flavors, learn new techniques, and incorporate them into my life at home.
Traveling solo, I feel that I experience travel more intensely. My senses are heightened, I have fewer distractions or reminders of home, and I am entirely open to new experiences.
Do any of these themes resonate with you? Why do you travel?