You’ll read so many books and articles nowadays talking about the perks and uses of travelling. Here in TripZilla, we’ve written quite a couple of those articles ourselves. The benefits of travel are unquestionable!
Also read: A Traveller’s Problem: Why We Have To Stop Travel Shaming
But what we can question is if we truly need (leisure) travelling or if we simply want it.
As much as you’ll learn from different materials about what travelling can do for you, it doesn’t necessarily follow that travelling is a need in itself. In fact, there are always naysayers who will lay down the hammer just to break the spell of romanticised wanderlust. Passionate travellers will be the first to disagree and say that one needs travel to reawaken one’s zest for life and to make personal discoveries not found in any other way except travelling.
For most of us, the answer to the question of whether travelling is a need or a want isn’t up for debate. We already “know” the answer. But as both writers and travellers in TripZilla, we’re down to play the devil’s advocate for each side.
What makes travel a want?
1. The influence of the Internet
Ah yes, the source of almost all desires. The Internet and social media show us everything we can have and everything we don’t have. It taps into our fear of missing out on whatever is the current fad. The Internet makes us hungry for more. More possessions, more opportunities, more experiences, and inevitably more travel. If you’re careful enough not to get consumed by this treasure trove of information, seeing our wants on the Internet isn’t always a bad thing.
Most of the time, we enjoy watching videos and reading articles on Facebook that feature places we’re interested to explore and all sorts of things we’ve yet to dip our toes in — things that will let us appreciate our world better, little by little. The Internet not only awakens our desire to travel but encourages us to open ourselves up more too.
When we’re sick of our daily routine, we just want to escape from it all, don’t we? And it would seem that travel is the best remedy for severe boredom, whether at home or at work. Booking that ticket and hotel in a different town or country could be the most rejuvenating and spiritually enriching thing that we could do for ourselves.
A different scene or culture will allow you to learn more about a new place and even yourself. There are so many mountains you can climb for self-improvement apart from that pile of paperwork and emails you usually struggle with at the office.
3. It’s a reward (and a break)
Speaking of the office, some of us want to travel simply because we want to reward ourselves from all the hard work. This isn’t only limited to working stiffs, but it also trickles down to students. I’ve heard of a lot of parents promising their kids a ticket out of town after their graduation. Travel is a great reinforcement for people who have performed well and lets us look forward to a vacation after working our butts off. Want to give yourself a tried and tested motivation? Travel!
4. We just want to
Sometimes, we just want to travel, regardless if we’re influenced online, by friends, or if we’re motivated to. The desire to travel can come so abruptly that even we can’t explain why we want to. We just do. We want to witness whatever’s out there, be taken by surprise by the things we don’t know, and fall in love with places we never planned on getting attached to. It happens, and when it does, some of us get on a high so strong that we can’t wait to plan our next adventure the moment we get back to our usual nine-to-five.
What makes travel a need?
You can read all about your destination online and watch videos about them on YouTube, but it wouldn’t come close to the actual experience of the place, its culture, and its people. If you want to immerse yourself in a foreign country, you will need to travel and play tourist. You’ll understand cultural differences better this way, and respect these differences a lot more when you realise that you can coexist with people of different cultures. After all, you’re basically at the mercy of their hospitality.
Also read: 10 Things I Learned from 10 Years of Travelling
If you’re planning to brand yourself as a certified-traveller who’s a credible source for travel tips and stories, of course, travelling would be a need regardless if you travel for leisure or work. As much knowledge as you gain from blogs and documentaries, if you haven’t set foot in new destinations, you’re only reliable to a certain extent when you talk to friends about travelling. Travelling is an investment that has more to give than just the experience and knowledge, remember that.
3. When you’re too cocooned in your life
Others feel the need to travel in order to keep up with what’s happening in the world or when they feel like their world is getting smaller. While everyone else has experienced their own adventure — whether big or small, in their local city or abroad — you’ve been stuck at the drawing board. You could call this travel envy or perhaps being several paces behind is a personal standard you just can’t accept. This is also where perspective comes into play. Not everyone will have high regard for travelling, but if you do, travel becomes a must.
Also read: The Ugly Truths About Travelling
I personally don’t think that travel is a need if your profession doesn’t call for it. Sure, travelling the world gives others the impression that you’re more cultured or knowledgeable than the average joe about certain topics, but I would argue that this doesn’t always apply and that there are more relevant things a person ought to spend their time and energy on.
I know this all depends on one’s priorities, but if you’re looking for a break or something to quell your boredom, there are a lot of alternatives you can turn to that isn’t as painful to your wallet as travelling can be. File for a leave and have some “me time” at home, binge-watch on Netflix, play board games with your friends on the weekend, or visit a pet cafe. True, travel can be a better outlet than most, but it isn’t a must. To me, it’s only an option — a luxurious one at that (no matter how budget-friendly you try to be). Having said that, there’s no shame in wanting to travel luxuriously, just as long as you do it responsibly.
If I could give any advice to any aspiring traveller though, it’s to observe travelling in moderation. Because believe me, the wanderlust hype is real. I actually liken it to Pinoys’ obsession with K-drama or K-pop. Once you’re on the bandwagon, it’s hard to get off. More importantly, don’t get carried away to the point that you see travel as a means to establish your status or because you want to prove something to someone else. The point is to enjoy the journey. Take your time. Wait for the next adventure. Block out anyone else’s standards and pace of travelling. It won’t kill you.
However, I also understand that those who see travel as a need have special reasons of their own. We’ve heard of travellers who were able to rediscover who they are while living a life on the road. Of backpackers who were able to conquer their depression and improve their overall mental health by hopping from country to country. We’ve heard of those who only understood the real value of money when they took a leap of faith, packed their bags and never looked back. Sometimes, we don’t realise that travel is actually the lesson we never knew we needed. The want or need for it is not just a matter of perspective, it’s a matter of experience, and the lack of.
So, when a person claims that he or she needed to travel to realise and discover a part of them that was lost, who am I to judge? Who is anyone to judge? No matter how we see travel, we all have our reasons for doing it. Whether it’s a need or a must, if we can afford it then we ought to do it for ourselves. We ought to do it for the love of travel, and we ought to do it for this world that is ever full of surprises.