Why are you traveling?

Even if you’ve just skimmed through this blog, you’ve probably gathered that self-development is very important to me. I gobble up new books, podcasts, products, and information like it’s my day job. You also may have noticed my ever-growing Bucket List of places I want to visit, things I want to do, and experiences I want to participate in. While on a weekend trip to the East Coast, a good friend questioned my true intention behind wanting to experience these things. He did this simply by asking, “Why?”
At first, I gave the typical answers you would expect out of a young adventuress: “I want to have as many experiences in this life as possible,” “I want to immerse myself in the culture,” “There’s a whole world to explore,” “I want to understand the way these people think,” etc. Then, we really delved into the underlying reasoning. I’m going to share what I discovered with you, but honestly, my ego does not want to – it would rather hide in its little shell and maintain a good appearance. Anyway… 
Why I wanted to travel:
  •  unconsciously seeking self-expansion 
  •  to be seen by others as someone who is well-traveled 
  •  to try and enhance my sense of self-worth through these experiences
  •  to try and find myself 
  •  to impress others 
Why I want to travel Now
  •  Use this life to its fullest
  •  See the beauty this world holds 
The underlying reason behind us seeking all these experiences is to expand…and it is totally illusory! The only way we can truly expand is internally (e.g. through meditation). Travel and having exciting experiences isn’t at all wrong, it’s just vital to recognize the real thing we are seeking cannot be found through it. No matter how many stamps I get on my passport, how my times I jump out of a plane, or how many items I cross off of my bucket list, I will not be fulfilled. There may be a temporary high or a brief sense of accomplishment from these experiences, but we will be left wanting more. 
Why is that you travel? I’d love to hear about any similar realizations you’ve had or any completely different ideas you’ve thought on the topic! 

26 responses »

  1. Both of your “before” and “after” reasons are just like mine 🙂 I was talking with a workmate last night about winning the lottery. I realised I wouldn’t do anything majorly different with my life if I had millions of dollars, the things I’m doing would just be easier to achieve. I think that means I’m in a pretty good place 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. When I set off on my first adventure my reasons for travel where very similar to why you wanted to travel. I agree that you will never quite be fulfilled and you will always be left wanting more (which can be a dangerous thing) however, I think that you can ‘expand’ through travel experiences.

    Experiencing different cultures and hardships along the road, can expend you considerably as a person. Before I left, in truth, even though I hate to admit it…I was a spoiled little girl, primarily concerned with clothing, myself, my aspirations and not much else with no understanding of the world.

    After seeing the hardships that others face and more importantly having experiences such as living on a bus, loosing my money and actually starving for days, sleeping in bed bug infested hostels and coming out the other end alive I definitely grew as a person.

    When I returned home, people couldn’t believe how much more considerate I was along with less materialistic and selfish. A certain amount of growth does come from within and travel can never complete you but it can definitely be a fantastic catalyst for expansion.

    My reason of travel has changed over the years from the ones that you first listed to:

    I want to test myself
    I want to see beauty
    I want no regrets

    Thank you for this post Andrea It was deffnitely thought provoking. x

    • I love hearing about your similar development and totally appreciate your mention of testing yourself through travel.

      It’s so beautiful to read about your personal development and how much more centered you’ve become. You rock!

  3. Definitely a question you’ll hear a lot. For me it’s because I’m restless. I want to be challenged & entertained on a daily basis. Staying in one place for a few months is all I can handle before I get bored.

  4. I have been following your blog for a couple of weeks.
    We are in exactly the same situation. I like that, and I feel this post.

    For me: I want to see and experience everything.
    The Earth surface area is 150.000.000 km².
    The average home size is around 200 m² at best.
    So why stay at home, when the world is 750.000.000.000 times bigger?

    I will leave in august – september. Equiped with only a VW van.

    • Steven, thanks for following along!

      I totally love that you can resonate with my current experience. I so agree on wanting to experience the entirety of the world!

      Where are your journeys taking you??

      • Thank you for writing what you already wrote.

        Where? Well, when I will drive out of the parking lot here, I might take a left… Or a right… I don’t know yet 🙂
        I am now in Belgium, I can go any direction I like

  5. Hi, superb post and very interesting and helpful.I and my wife love to travel .This June we are going to Alaska .As college year l studied in Europe .Thank you for liking my post ( Loving my woman /my wife.) Have a wonderful day.jalal

  6. Great post Andrea, and I’ve definitely noticed that about you! I travel because I grew up in a closed-minded household where exploration, knowledge, creativity, and dreams were push below a labor job. Once I tasted a bit of the world, I knew this is what I needed to do to live a life fulfilling to myself. To meet people, experience the culture, see the world with my own eyes, inspire others to do the same. After losing both my parents, I want to show people how to fight through similar hardships to accomplish their dreams!

  7. It’s nice to see a fellow traveler who is becoming spiritually awakened too. There are many who wander because they are lost, but it sounds like you have found some great insights!

    The reasons that I’ve traveled have changed a lot since I started when I was younger. I went to Wyoming, West Virginia, and New Mexico to challenge myself physically and mentally along side my friends. I’ve been forced to travel by the Army, and there I learned a hard lesson, what it feels like to be forcefully uprooted! Traveling can really suck when it’s not on you own terms. But now I’ve done a complete 180 degree shift in my whole life purpose (brought on by some very hard self realizations). My last California trip in September really affirmed everything I’ve been evolving into in the past year. Now it’s like standing in the sunshine, and I adventure to allow my self to collide with the world! To go out there with friends and family or all by myself and let all the little hidden things seep into my life and who I am. This has helped me understand who I am much faster and on a deeper level than before! 🙂

    I’m excited for the deep spiritual and martial arts training and fun times I’ll experience with my friends on our Colorado Rocky Mountains/California Wedding expedition happening in 10 days.

    Best of luck in Europe! I hope you like it there and make tons of awesome friends ^_^

  8. Travel to me is so many things: freedom, adventure, learning, getting away, adapting, growing, knowing myself better, knowing others better, gaining perspective…. I could go on and on. How I view life when I travel is the same lens I want to view life no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Love your blog, Andrea! Cheers!

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