The question is why do we spend money on holidays.According to Google Trends, the country that is most interested in finding out where to travel is Singapore, followed by Australia. Over the past 5 years, the phrase “where to travel” has gone up in popularity meaning more people are wanting to travel. A study from US News & World report states that the top 4 countries to visit are Rome, London, Paris, and New York City. Why do we travel? Regardless of the cost of traveling, we tend to find out a powerful meaning to get away for a couple of weeks on a tropical island or a hot destination, despite the fact our bank accounts might not like it. Traveling is not only a form of getting from one place to another, it’s really a learning tool. Some people travel to learn other cultures different from their own. Others travel to discover their own culture they may have been away from. Naturally, people also travel just to get away from the daily grind and stress that ensues. Traveling should be incorporated into every person’s lifestyle. Why? It’s important to experience the planet we live on. It broadens our horizons (physically and literally), helps us meet new people, make new friends, taste new foods, and visit places we never would have expected! Sometimes, travel even bridges the mindset from travel to moving. Alot of people travel to a new destination for pleasure, enjoy their stay, think about the trip and what they experienced, and decide that the experience they went on was more enjoyable than their current lifestyle so they plan to move to that new country. Many people will get close to moving but do not because of family or other obligations.
It’s not the flying I mind – I will always be awed by the physics that gets a fat metal bird into the upper troposphere. The rest of the journey, however, can feel like a tedious lesson in the ills of modernity, from the pre-dawn X-ray screening to the sad airport malls peddling crappy souvenirs. It’s globalisation in a nutshell, and it sucks.
And yet here we are, herded in ever greater numbers on to planes that stay the same size. Sometimes we travel because we have to. Because in this digital age there is still something important about the analogue handshake. Or eating Mum’s turkey at Christmas.
But most travel isn’t non-negotiable. (In 2008 only 30% of trips over 50 miles were made for business.) Instead we travel because we want to, because the annoyances of the airport are outweighed by the visceral thrill of being someplace new.
Travel, in other words, is a basic human desire. We’re a migratory species, even if our migrations are powered by jet fuel and Chicken McNuggets. But here’s my question: is this collective urge to travel – to put some distance between ourselves and everything we know – still a worthwhile compulsion? Or is it like the taste for saturated fat: one of those instincts we should have left behind in the Pleistocene epoch? Because if travel is just about fun, then I think the new security measures at airports have killed it.
THE GOOD NEWS, at least for those of you reading this while stuck on a tarmac, is that pleasure is not the only consolation of travel. In fact, several new science papers suggest that getting away – and it doesn’t even matter where you’re going – is an essential habit of effective thinking.