The pretentious side of me wants to simply respond, "If you have to ask, then you would probably never understand." But the compassionate side of me sees that as too easy and could be applied with any concept. Travel addiction is no exception. Maybe we can shed some light on this simple concept that is a conundrum to the home-bodies and comfortable alike. For the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with not traveling in my opinion, if that is where you get your inspiration and growth, that is your choice and I completely respect it, but this post is about why people do travel :)
So for those of us who can't get enough and love to travel, why do we do it? Ask yourself. What is it?
I have come to find, this question is not so easily answered when considered deeply, but is actually incredibly easy on the surface. On the surface, we simply love to travel for a change of pace and change of scenery. We want to see somewhere new and beautiful. We want to relax. We love to get away from our usual lives. We need a break from the repetition that is our life. We weren't allowed to choose the body we were born into, but we are allowed to choose what we do with it. More specifically, where we go.
On a less superficial level, travel provides a plethora of challenges and benefits that are hard to describe with words. Many of us just want to feel completely alive, and we wish to duplicate that feeling of ecstasy that comes when dopamine is released during great moods. We wish to get that hit of adrenaline that a new unknown adventure provides us. We want the thrill and excitement that comes with abandoning our mundane work life in order to explore something new and potentially life-changing. The paradigm shift happens when one realizes the incredibly apparent benefits of traveling somewhere unknown. For American's, I don't mean heading a few hours to the lake, but really putting yourself in a situation that makes you incredibly uncomfortable and feel empathetic to your surroundings. The feeling of "Wow, my life is fucking amazing compared to the way these people live." The feeling that where you are is exactly where you should be at that certain time. The feeling that the infinite moment that is now will never end and bliss will be unlimited. The feeling of "Man, I really miss my bed, drinkable tap water, and toilet paper. Toilet paper is nice." The gratefulness that comes along with getting out of your routine to challenge your perspective on life in a way that will provide you with lifelong memories that will constantly remind you how amazing your life is.
So why do you travel? It's different for everyone.
All the foods! All the feels. The new smells. The new sights. The new challenges. The culture shock. The chance to learn some of a new language. The stories we gather along the journey. The discomfort that brings along appreciation of comfort. The people we meet. THE PEOPLE WE MEET! The deep hostel conversations lasting for hours with people you may, unfortunately, never see again. The times our eyebrows raise in fascination to a new experience. The times you realize you're being ripped off; The times you realize you'll never get ripped off like that again. The history upon the ground you are walking. The memories of this moment. The opportunity to branch out and connect with a vast world many of us will only ever experience a fraction of. The escape of the societal concept of "reality". The attempt to experience a more nomadic lifestyle. The search for meaning. The need to understand. The will to learn. Growth. The ability to look back and say "I wanted to do that, and I'm glad I did."
This is why we travel. Happy traveling my fellow addicts, keep it up!