What Does Travel Teach Us


CulturallyOurs Podcast What Does Travel Teach Us

What Does Travel Teach Us

Show Details

In this episode we talk about why, as humans, we all crave to travel and explore new places and experiences. We also hear from other travelers on what life lessons travel teaches us in the grand scheme of things.

Show Notes

Karthika explores the concept of travel and why as humans, we all crave to explore new adventures, places and experiences. She also shares some life lessons as told by other travelers on what travel teaches us.

The Transcript

Raise your hand, if like me, you too are itching to get away from life for a bit – especially this time of the year. Traditionally the holidays for me and my family are a time to go back home to India to spend time with friends, cousins and just be around family. Some years we have even just loaded the car and hit the road to explore mountains, ski slopes and outdoor adventures.  Going somewhere where things are new and fresh and exciting, where getting up in the morning for a day of adventuring is something to look forward to.

As we near almost half of this current season of CulturallyOurs where we explore the world with the eyes of a local, that feeling of wanderlust seems even more intense. As I chat with folks around the world, I realize that like me, so many people out there are looking for an escape. Now as my guests have shared, while Travel might not be a thing that we can all enjoy in the near future, that doesn’t mean we cannot dream and hope for that extraordinary trip or adventure that will get is feeling great and feeling alive, right?

Even the most travel averse of us has to be feeling like a little escape is absolutely needed to get through all the stuff we have had to deal with these past few months with the pandemic – am I right? Have you ever wondered what is it about travel that offers that sense of escapism from our reality, our mundane. Why is it that so many of us are quick to hop on a plane or drive hours on end to put ourselves out there experiencing something we have no clue about. Almost taking a big risk to see what sort of adventure we will find ourselves in.

In line with our Season 05’s theme of exploring the world with a local where we get a glimpse of life, lifestyle and culture of places around the world from a local’s point of view, today on the CulturallyOurs podcast, I want to talk about travel in a broader context – why do we as humans crave to travel and explore and more importantly, what does travel teach us?

So come join me on this episode of CulturallyOurs.

Sometimes there are things in life that are absolute chance like scoring that parking spot closest to the office when you are running late for a meeting or making the express train just before the doors close. And then there are other things you have to work for like the type of person you become. We often get inundated with stories about the paths we should take, the things we should do, and the ways in which we should measure our successes based on views and attitudes of what society perceives as success, desires, needs and wants. And no matter how true our compasses may want to point north, we sometimes falter. We sometimes lose sight of the authentic lives we long to live filled with happiness, love, a good attitude, and a little more time.

So is this perhaps why so many of us are yearning for a life unlike our own?

A lot can be said for the fact that many of us wear far more hats than one, even if we only have one job. Many of us find ourselves burning the candle at both ends day in and day out. Too often we tap out our creative resources without taking the time to pause, refill the tank, and be a little selfish before we can actually be selfless stewards of the primary thing that matters in life – our experiences. Often too late we realize that we ran out of time to do those things that really matter and exprience the things that really gave us joy.

One of the easiest ways to avoid this feeling of remose is to travel. And travel can mean so many things to so many people. Travel doesn’t always mean exotic far away locations. Sometimes even that weekend getaway close to home is exactly what the doctor ordered as a way to reset, relax and renew ourselves. In fact I was just speaking with a friend the other day, a past podcast guest actually, and I was sharing an idea of how she can take a break by booking an overnight stay in a hotel in downtown Chicago, just to get a sense of being away from the same day to day routine. Sounds like a great idea doesn’t it? Even I am tempted to treat myself to a night away before the year ends.

The more we travel, the more we become observers of humanity. We turn to travel because it reminds us humans are human. We’re going to be out of our comfort zone a lot — like riding a night bus for the first time and taking a leap of faith to trust people we don’t necessarily know. But that sense of trust somehow, oddly, gives us hope. The hats that we wear are replaced by those that we eagerly become in order to understand that what we see around us. We become amateur sociologists, anthropologists, overnight linguists, wildlife lovers, photographers and even chefs. Nearly anyone who’s ever had the chance to see foreign and not so foreign lands will tell you – at the end of the day – we are all looking for similar things. Traveling takes us out of our every day, changes our routine, and gives us the chance to see even the most mundane with the greatest wonder. How many times have you sat down to have a cup of coffee and ‘people watch’ in a foreign place but don’t seem to have the time during your regular Starbcuks coffee run?

Travel forces us to deal with the uncomfortable, the unplanned and the awkward. Lost luggage, missed flight, stolen phones are all part of the process of traveling. They happen despite our controlling mindset. Such experiences teaches us patience, understanding and empathy. It requires us to surrender to the fact that it doesn’t matter who you are and what you do, it’s more about finding the time to be present. The world really is a small place, culturally diverse and infinitely connected.

I asked a few of my friends, fellow travel writers and travel photographers on why they travel and what does travel teach them. We travel because deep down we know the following things are true, no matter how much we might want to deny them.

  1. Life is too short to do all the things that we might want to do
  2. What you own shouldnt own you
  3. People everywhere are kind
  4. We are more alike than we are different
  5. Listen more than you speak
  6. Seek to understand and not to judge
  7. Slow down – one step at a time is a great pace
  8. Collect experiences and memories not things
  9. You are stronger than you ever think possible
  10. Everything beautiful does not need to be bought
  11. Change is always a good thing in the long run

What have you learnt from traveling? Why do you do it? We would love to know what life lessons traveling has taught you.

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