There are some obvious and expected reasons on why we like to travel – appreciate cultural experiences, family bonding, and adventure.
But the Rebecca Solnit quote above is the main reason why we travel.
And distant places give us refuge in territories where our own histories aren’t so deeply entrenched and we can imagine other stories, other selves, or just drink up quiet and respite.
There is a beauty in consistency and comfort. A wonderful knowing of what happens next in the place we call home. But sometimes I get attached to the story of who I am in the place that I have lived all my life. Sometimes my imagination atrophies because my senses are accustomed to the same exposures. And when my imagination is no longer used to its fullest potential, empathy wanes and life beyond my bubble is a thought conjured in casual conversation.
When we travel, we are stretched. We are stretched to think differently and even speak differently. Our beliefs in what is essential are tested. Our troubles are set into context.
When we travel, we awaken our wonder and our curiosity. Nothing is taken for granted. Ordinary things like shelter or food becomes a new experience. A trip to the market for food becomes an adventure.
There is an excitement in the risk of leaving home unprepared for every unexpected scenario. On our travels, we have had to be resilient and flexible sometimes with sick children and the odd cancelled flight. But when we have needed help while abroad, we have been met with the most loving kindness from strangers. It has made my children believe in goodness.
The bigness of the world is redemption.
This is why we choose to travel.