So Why Do You Travel?

by Janis on October 19, 2010

Why do you like to travel?

To relax?

To escape from your daily routine?

To spend quality time with your travel companions?

Or, do you travel for personal growth, or intellectual stimulation? Do you like to explore new cultures? Or is it a combination of these and other reasons, depending on the trip?

A stimulating blog post

A blog post I read early this morning made me stop — and consider — our motivations for travel.

Princess Cruises recently launched a new blog— 50 Essential Experiences: The Travel Bucket List, written by long-time Princess employees. 

This morning’s blogger was Alan Buckelew, a 33-year Princess employee who happens to be the company’s president and CEO.

Mr. Buckelew’s post is a very personal and touching story about his return visit to Vietnam, 40 years after serving there in the US Army’s Fox Force recon platoon.  

Mr. Buckelew’ reason for traveling to Vietnam on a cruise: for closure on a tough but defining part of his life….  Read about it here.  Judging from the comments, the post resonated with many readers.

 We like to travel for many reasons.

Travel, for us, is fun.  Well, non-business travel, that is, although we both try to make the best of business travel as well.

For pure relaxation and getting away from our daily routine, we enjoy Caribbean & Mexico beach vacations and cruises.

For celebrating life milestones and reconnecting with friends that we don’t get to see very often, we like wine trips exploring California’s Sonoma County, in a vehicle where we don’t have to drive.  

We enjoy visits to San Francisco – the city where we met and fell in love – for romance and reconnection with our favorite old neighborhood haunts.  

The mountains, fishing holes, family and friends around Anchorage, Alaska, where Mr. Jones grew up, beckon, even in the cold of winter.  (Although fishing at the Kenai River, and long days of sunlight make summertime visits a higher priority.)  

While we enjoy returning to our favorite places, we mostly use our vacation travels to explore and discover parts of the world where we haven’t been before.  The funny thing is – the more places we visit – the longer our “must visit list” of new places seems grow.  We’ve been to nearly 70 countries and still are hungry for more.

This kind of discovery travel provides us with intellectual stimulation, from history lessons to personal connections with the places we’ve visited and the people we meet. 

If you make the 36-hour trip on the Trans-Siberian railway from China to Mongolia, for example, you can’t help but have a different appreciation for Genghis Khan.

Visiting Auschwitz in Poland gives one an unforgettable view of the Holocaust.  Sailing through the Bosporus Strait with New Zealanders who lost their grandparents in WWI provides a history lesson unavailable in any book. As does visiting the Blue Eye — a former communist leader retreat in Albania or Stalin’s Dachau near Sochi, Russia.

Sailing into the Polar Ice Cap caused us to think about global warming from a new perspective. Visiting vegetable farms in Mexico provided an expanded view on immigration issues.

Then there’s the food, wine, and cultural activities to explore. From Italian espresso to Singapore hawker stands to wine caves in Reims to the art collection in St. Petersburg’s Hermitage – travel exposes us to things that we didn’t appreciate before we experienced them in new places.

So what about you?  What motivates you to travel?  Relaxation?  Intellectual stimulation and/or personal growth?  To find your past – the lands where your family immigrated from?  Or, like, Mr. Buckelew, are you looking for closure?   

We’d love to hear about your travel motivations.

Please share in comments.

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