TRAVELING THURSDAYS

The Why Behind Travel

It’s everywhere. The travel pictures on social media could not be more perfect. The locations could not be more luxurious. The people portrayed exemplify idealistic forms. But, at some point everything begins blending in. Everything begins looking like the next. People everywhere are trying to fit an idealistic mold of what travel should look like.

No longer are vacations simply to relax and unwind. They have now become opportunities of joining the crowds in order to fit certain molds just to post these experiences on social media. Gone are the days when families traveled to strengthen their bonds and are now replaced with itineraries and lengthy checklists. Nowadays, the purpose behind travel may no longer be to become open minded and more acceptant of cultures around the world, but is rather replaced with bucket list items.

The idea of a bucket list wasn’t around until recently. The idiom referred to hanging up animals for slaughter, who would then, in their death throes, kick that beam. Back in 1999, screenwriter Justin Zackham was thinking about that phrase when he began composing a checklist that he called, “Justin’s list of things to do before he kicks the bucket. The phrase grew in popularity when people realized that if they were to die today, there were still many things they haven’t tried yet. Feelings of missing out motivated people to experience as much as possible; for if the time for death came, they wouldn’t have any regrets. Unfortunately, without meaningfully healthy motives behind each item, these peak experiences might actually leave you feeling empty.

The glitz and glamour of travel holds little meaning without identifying why people travel. Some people travel because they truly need time to get away from it all, sip a cold drink among the palm trees, let loose and be themselves. Once broken down, the reasons for travel are almost always because of wounds, old or new.

Perhaps, its because someone was labeled close minded, and now wants to prove to themselves and to others that they are actually open minded. Or, perhaps the monotony at home is just too much and they are looking for adventure and excitement. Many memoirs and movies have portrayed travel as a means of healing through grief and major life changes.

Ever wonder why some travelers attempt to get away from the crowds and go down the path less traveled? It might be because they are searching for more meaning out of their travels. Hanging out with the locals, getting to know strangers just met along the way, or educational tours, give the traveler a sense of connection.

Social media portrays the perfect and the unbroken, but past the initial “oohs” and “ahhs”, the audience is once again left searching for their next rush of adrenaline all within seconds. The unblemished is slowly losing footing, as people continue to search for raw authenticity and something more relatable.

It’s important to look deep inside oneself to identify the purpose, or the why, of travel. At the end of the day, it won’t matter how many places were visited, how many bucket list items were checked off, or all the food that was tasted, not unless there was true meaning behind it all.

What is your “Why?”

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