Yesterday I was talking to a friend about her moving to another country as part of a career promotion. She expressed her excitement yet also her trepidation. We shared stories about our past travel experiences, our memories and our aspirations.
This prompted me to revisit a question I had asked myself some time ago: What does the word travel suggest?
For me, like for many others, travel means to go on a journey, to move to and from somewhere, and to return home. But it also means to move through somewhere, to move forward, backwards and sideways, to move up and down on our journey through life.
What the conversation with my friend also reminded me of is that travel means to move not just physically but also in our thoughts and emotionally.
We are physically involved in our travels, leaving behind our homes, able to engage with all our senses in the experiences that come our way.
We are cognitively involved by reflecting on our past, on the present and the future, able to view the world from different perspectives.
We are involved emotionally by getting in touch with our feelings during our travel experiences, able to extend and receive empathy and tolerance that fosters connections with ourselves and others.
When we travel we are involved in body, mind and soul
My friend and I realised that we had travelled for different reasons pursuing different purposes during all our life's travel projects.
Have you ever reflected upon your own travel projects and your own reasons for travel?
Have they perhaps included any of the following?
Going on overseas holidays for leisure and recreation
Visiting friends or relatives
Completing your education as an international student
Leaving on a ‘gap year’ after finishing high school or university
Going on a pilgrimage for spiritual or religious reasons
Taking advantage of special health and medical treatments
Spending time in a second home, also referred to as a holiday home, outside your permanent residence
Travelling to pursue business or professional related agendas
Taking up a work contract as an expatriate
Searching for a new life as a migrant or refugee.
What about someone else you might know? Have they been or will they be travelling for any of the reasons given above or possibly any other purposes?
I believe it is important to remind ourselves that we are all travellers
on our journey through life.
We embark on our journeys for different reasons depending on the dynamics in our lives and the needs and desires we hope to fulfill. Deep down we are all looking for happiness and peace, whatever that may mean to us individually.
No matter the reasons for our travels: in the end we are all visitors interconnected in our globalized world as expressed below:
We are all visitors to this time, this place.
We are just passing through.
Our purpose is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love,
And then we return home.
Australian Aboriginal Proverb
Travel of any kind encourages us to learn from each other; to build our appreciation of the beauty of diversity and to realise our common aspirations, hopes and dreams.
As travellers we go out into the world before we once again re-immerse ourselves into our daily routine lives, taking on the role of residents and hosts in the places we call home and places others refer to as travel destinations.
All of us have the opportunity to extend our welcome to all people we encounter, people with different backgrounds in distant lands and at home.
We are all connected to that which is central to our human story:
To take care of ourselves, each other and our environment that we all share.