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The Psychology of Travel, Part 2

A Good Place for my Morning Coffee

After my article last week looking at why travel is a basic human desire, I decided to play journalist and interview a few travel enthusiasts. My journalistic task was simple because I only asked the one question I was looking at a week ago.  I asked 40 friends from around the world, “Why do you travel?” and compiled a few of my favorite answers:

  • Freedom! New people, new experiences, new perspectives, fun, challenge, mirror (for self), adventure! (Netherlands)
  • For me it’s all about new experiences. And those experiences do not have to be bungee jumping or elephant riding. Usually they aren’t. They’re about meeting people. Seeing things from other perspectives. Getting away from your own comfort zones. (Finland)
  • The food. (Australia)
  • Porque me encanta conocer nuevas culturas. Recorrer y conocer nuevos lugares para mi es aislarse un poco de la rutina. Es enriquecerse con otras experiencias de vida, el arte y los paisajes. (Colombia)
  • I like to travel because there is so much out there in the world that is amazing, fantastic and one of a kind. I travel to step out of my comfort zone. (Thailand)
  • I travel because I’d like to know where I live and who do I live with. And the answer so far, has not dissapoint me at all. (Mexico)
  • COLOUR, SCENT & SOUNDS. (Netherlands)
  • Because we realize we are everything and nothing at the same time and are reminded of how fleeting our lives are. (USA)

The majority of answers involved some combination of leaving our comfort zone and having new experiences and meeting new people. But, can’t we meet new people everyday in our home cities on the train or in a café?  Can’t we go on day trips to have a new experience outside of our city?  And I know for a fact while in the US, I can easily get out of my comfort zone by traveling 30 minutes south from my Chicago apartment.

It is only fair that I ask myself the same question that I’ve spend the last two weeks thinking about.  The reason I travel is not only

A Good Place for my Morning Coffee and a Brainstorming Session

because I like the way my brain feels, but because I need to.  I wrote about the brain last week and how it mysteriously becomes a little bit more creative while traveling.  I wholeheartedly believe this is true.  Aside from that, my love for travel really is a necessity. When I am stuck in one place for too long, I start to feel uncreative and unproductive.  No, I am not unhappy when I am in Michigan or in Chicago (my two “homes”). On the contrary, I am very content.  My friends make me happy and I miss nights in Chicago drinking whiskey with my best friends  and autumn apple orchard visits in Michigan.  But, all of the missed whiskey and orchards is worth it.  Travel is so much more than having amazing photographs to show friends and family or having a long list of country’s visited under my belt.  Now that I am out of Chicago and thrust into Colombian life, I feel a sigh of relief..  The creative ideas have been flowing (yoga teaching, business ideas, and lots of writing, of course).

So, I want to know why you (go.girls and fans of go.girl) travel.  It’s not as easy a question as it seems!

I don’t think I will ever have enough answers to the question of why we are drawn to save our money, take huge risks, and throw ourselves into new countries that are often intimidating to get this combination of leaving our comfort zone, experiencing new things, and meeting new people… but, I am going to continue to ask it and research as much as humanly possible.

nicole
A self-proclaimed people-watcher, Nicole has been searching the world for the best spots to do just that. Her love of observing people (ideally with a cup of coffee and book in hand) has brought her to Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica, and a couple of other places. After finishing her undergraduate degree in June from DePaul University, she decided to uproot her life and try out the people-watching (and coffee) in Colombia. She’s currently trying to make a home in Medellín studying/struggling with Spanish, practicing yoga, job-hunting, and having a daily battle with getting lost.

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    1 Comment

    1. Why do I travel? Because it helps me realize how big the world is and how much out there I still have to learn and experience. I travel to visit friends and the people that I love. I travel to experience something new and unique that fills me with wonder. I travel to share with others about how fantastically interesting other places can be.

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