Some thoughts on the beauty of travel
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.
The notion of travel has grown to be a movement among modern culture, a trend in many ways. But do we have a firm grasp over its meaning or is it merely the craving for the novel, the unknown, the foreign? Most people nowadays have a liking for travel, they apparently want to explore distant landscapes, meet new people, eat foreign food, and so on.
The notion of travel has grown to be a movement among modern culture, a trend in many ways. But do we have a firm grasp over its meaning or is it merely the craving for the novel, the unknown, the foreign? Most people nowadays have a liking for travel, they apparently want to explore distant landscapes, meet new people, try foreign food, and so on.
They want to accumulate memories, create unforgettable experiences, and “find themselves” whatever that means. It has never been more convenient to travel by plane, you can practically go almost anywhere in the world in less than a day or two safe and sound, without having to worry much about anything else.
Curiously, though, the notion of arriving at the desired destination as quick as possible is typical and preferable. Airports are tedious, waiting times seem unbearable, cabin crew walking down the aisle every are a nuisance, turbulence rouses trembling, and so it goes. In spite of immense technological advancement and the freedom to move, discover, and fly in soundness, the in-betweens that permit arrival remind you of impatience, lack of forbearance.
You want to arrive as quickly as possible, you want eliminate waiting times, you want to remain undisturbed, you want to be let out the plane instantly upon arrival. In other words, you don’t want to deal with the implications of travel, under the guise that you are a passionate voyager. There is something rather suspicious about that, for the lover of travel is just as much absorbed by the destination as by the journey.
Interestingly, the word ‘travel’ originally means to ‘toil or labour’, to undertake a difficult journey, but modern currency has attempted to abolish the difficulty from the journey for convenience’ sake, making the point of departure and arrival the same place. In truth, by eliminating the distance, you eliminate the journey, stripping the concept of travel of its basic significance. It is the interval, the space between places that enables travel.
By quickening arrival, eliminating all hindrances, hurrying with the devil, there is no travel. The beauty of travel consists not only in arriving at new places and uncovering them, but in savouring your way there. It should never be the voyager’s aim to get anywhere in haste. Unconcerned with speed, you enjoy the expedition, with all its hitches and upsets.
In life as in travel, you move from place to place, what happens in between is cloudy, dark, void, inextricable, but necessary. The difficulty that lies in the middle is where substance is born, this should not be dispensed with or eluded under the impression that it must be done with. It is a mark of ignorance to reason it as such. There is tremendous gain to be sought in that instant, and it is opportune to acknowledge that your nature could be consolidated and ennobled.
You and I are voyagers, even if you never sat in a plane, ridden a train, or pushed a bike. You don’t even need to move to travel, only think. You don’t even need to think, only imagine. There is a voyager inside you that yearns to explore, but he is burdened by a sense of restlessness, impatience, folly, ignorance. He conceives great reveries but struggles to manifest, he endures great hardship but seldom learns, he enjoys great luxuries but hardly acknowledges.
You are not a voyager, because you are unduly conscious of time, speed, too ignorant of depth, presence. Don’t arrive empty-handed, keep your eyes peeled, ears attentive, head cool. Maybe, if you’re solid, you’ll summon wisdom and carry it to your destination in a timely manner, but no promise could be made. Sometimes, you ought to move slower, not faster, to reach the gate with your hands filled.
You see, speed has a place close to my heart, for I am one of his lovers, but we must distinguish the truth. It is one thing to engage in speeding without a hurry, and speeding to arrive somewhere quickly. Speeding down the highway is not haste, it is speeding for the sake of speeding, for the rush and adrenaline, for sensing death as your neighbour, not for the sake of arriving somewhere. Speed is danger, speed is exhilaration, speed is rapture, speed is ecstasy. It is a mark of the good life as I conceive it, but one should not confound it with hurry. Closer to it is a studied carelessness, which is necessary for enjoyment and presence. Those who can’t be put their mind away on occasion and take in the ecstasy of living are obstructed by something darker and more profound, a fear of living, which is more dangerous than knowing how to live dangerously.
Some fool or other, in a fit of blind arrogance, loses anything he gained by tripping himself before his own potential liberation. If you have something profound to teach, you ought to ensure that it makes its way home in one piece. It is not so much a contest of who’s the quickest, but who’s the cleverest!
Travel has a unique beauty, because it mostly deals with the novel unknown over and over again. The more of it that comes to consciousness, the broader is your awareness, the further away you can see. Depending on how discerning your sight, every foreign landscape has a compelling story to voice in private, the way you interpret it is your own, no other person can conceive it in the same light and shade.
As stories accumulate, comprehended sights become an extension of yourself, for they unravel something inside you which was previously obscured. That is part of its magic, it is imbued with a creative power that could move mountains and bring heaven down to earth - a heaven which may have been there since dawn.
Ultimately, what it may reveal is not that there lies a heaven in a place distant beyond one’s grasp, one you ought to travel to unearth, but a paradise within oneself; only it couldn’t have been acknowledged earlier, when one has not travelled away from the place he calls home to notice the obvious.
If you’re an avid reader and have been following my work, you know that I publish most of my writings at no additional cost – my intention is to spread my word among those who most need it, and I don’t want you to pay an upfront price for it. Nonetheless, I would like to invite you to become a paid subscriber and join a like-minded group of young men pursuing truth and conquering life. If this sounds like something you’d reap benefit from, you can upgrade today by clicking below.
Very cool read. The "touristification" of life is a problem we can all sense, but it's hard to really grasp. Looking into its origins, tourism itself (for leisure travel - something fairly modern!) is certainly a good place to start.
In my travels, I'm often disappointed with the lack of adventure - go to Rome in the summer and you'll be and feel like a tourist. Everything is prepared for your arrival. You are spectator in all of it. On the other hand, adventure for the sake of adventure is sometimes equally empty...