Why do I travel?

Why do I travel?
Walk along the Esk
Walk along the Esk

We are discussing motivation in class this week. The big question asked, and attempting to answer is–Why do we/I travel?  What impetus spurs me to leave the familiar, my home, and wander out into something different?  Why have I always wanted to explore and discover?  Get lost, escape from humanity and the built places of society?  Why do others? Why do I or others strive to find that place for quiet contemplation or exhilarating thrills?  Why?

There are a host of tourism and psychological concepts that deal with trying to answer these questions.  But to really understand, I need to dig deep within myself.  I need as a researcher, or operations manager, or those working alongside our industry, to ask the right questions.  We need to get to the heart of something that might not be fully articulated.  Fully realized or explained.  Most times we will get straight-laced answers, but other times, not.  There is the mystique about travel.  There is still some form of mystery in the process.

Visiting the Lost Words exhibit at Edinburgh Fringe, 2018
Visiting the Lost Words exhibit at Edinburgh Fringe, 2018

Life is about experiences. A bundle of moments in time that define our lives. They have various forms of risk, levels of excitement. Some are more poignant than others. They leave more than a mark; they change us. They let us see the world in all its various colorful shades. The good and the nasty. The subliminal, cerebral, the intellectual, and the balanced, the physical, concrete. It helps us reach that inner psyche when other tasks might not uncover such breadth or depth.

Tourism and its processes suffuse the different layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Pearce’s travel ladder goes beyond that original work and takes it to the next level.

And yet, we are still left with a host of questions to answer.

Maybe life is about questions and subsequently learning. Rings true for that old cliché. Tourism opens the doors, even if it is just a jaunt across town to familiar places with family and friends.

Family picnic Prince Gallitzan State Park
Family picnic Prince Gallitzan State Park

That interaction is an opportunity to uncover those layers through moments of interaction. We travel to find new relationships, to strengthen existing ones. Not just with other persons, but the land in which we inhabit. To create or renew that relationship with a place.

It is complicated, and I don’t think I will ever have a true answer. But that is okay. At least, I’m asking the questions.

 

Bogged Down

Bogged Down
Airfest

The semester is coming to a close soon, and I can’t believe summer is almost here.  And that means everyone is chomping at the bit to escape the north of center.  I can’t escape just yet as there is so much to do.  Grading, making plans for teaching abroad, organizing courses in our LMS, and research.  My mind is cluttered and even to-do list aren’t helping.  How do you weave through the obstacles and not get bogged down?

The only saving grace is the upcoming travel.  Just the thought of it alleviates the anxiety for a precious few seconds.  And then that nasty gremlin lurking in my mind, sitting on my shoulder vociferous reminds me to stop skipping along the slip stream and come back down to earth.  The softer, sensible side counters, “Five minutes more.”  Snooze button engaged. Ignore ugly procrastination monster.

However did my grandparents, parents, and other ancestors, think on the importance of travel?  Pico Iyer discussed the necessity of travel in a Time Magazine (Iyer, P. (2002). The necessity of travel. Time, 159(21), 82.).  It isn’t a new thought.  MacCannell in his seminal work, The Tourist (2013), argues for escapism.  We need it.  We need it to recharge and refresh.  To learn about the wonders of our global community.

Frankly, the monster of need creeps up on me, and I grab it’s spiky ear, lead it to a box and stuff it inside, ignoring its grumblings.  I have for more than a few years now.  Routine has settled around my shoulders like a vice.  A never-ending loop.  I don’t mind though.  I enjoy seeing family, but I need new and shiny, even if new and shiny is a medallion hidden in my box.  Bring it out, shine it up and wear it again.  Everything old can become new again.

Scotland always lingers in my side-view mirror.  Always whispers.

Isle of Skye, Scotland
Isle of Skye, near Neist Point

And finally, I get to return to my second home after a long absence.  Home sounds good right now.

Breathe deep, savor the sweet smell of the Highlands.  The unpretentious landscape.  Will I find it as I left it?  Will it be the same genuine atmosphere as before?  God, I hope so.