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Why We Travel

There are a whole host of reasons why we travel and why we should.

I think it probably started with our ancient ancestors wanting to know what was just over the next hill, if there was better hunting just in the next valley. The explorers of more recent history were anxious to find the “new world” in hopes of riches, but also to experience the vastness of the world and marvel at its wonders.

In the last century, all young gentlemen of culture did a Grand Tour of Europe to become more well rounded… to understand cultures and business better.

I guess it really isn’t too much different for us. Traveling expands your horizons. Rick Steves says, “Travel broadens your perspective and takes the hometown blinders off.”

In “Innocents Abroad” Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people sorely need it on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

We love travel because it provides us with a chance to experience cultures other than our own. Some people have to travel for business. The worst reason to travel is to check a country or continent off on a list, but even then people will learn something.

The point is, you can only learn so much from television, the internet, and books. To really get a feel for a country, you have to throw yourself out there and just experience it. Maybe you’ve heard that old saying, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

When you travel, you get the sights, the sounds, the tastes… and the smells! Rudyard Kipling said, “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”

You can’t appreciate a penguin colony by seeing it on TV… You have to smell it! Hear those birds braying, have them pecking at your feet.

We can list some reasons for why we travel:

Travel lets us escape the everyday grind and recharge our batteries.
Travel broadens our perspectives.
Travel allows us to better appreciate what we have.
Travel proves that nothing is ever quite the same as being there, not the internet, not TV, not books.
Travel changes us…

The people and things we encounter when we travel help to eliminate prejudices caused through simple lack of understanding. Those encounters teach us to be more tolerant of other customs and religious beliefs. Not only do YOU learn; you can be an ambassador and others can learn about you.

This is important. Whether you like it or not, everything is interconnected world-wide these days — politics, economy, science.

Why we travel may be programmed in our genes, but the reasons we should travel are to make the world a better place. A nobel goal for learning and having fun in the process.

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