Nowadays, you only need to turn your attention to any of the screens in your life – from TV to smartphone – to be confronted with the images of foreign cultures and countries. The first Tomb Raider film with Angelina Jolie took the viewers at the heart of the exploration of Cambodia. More people saw the famous Ta Prohm, the temple that is squeezed in a tight embrace with the roots of the vegetation at Angkor Wat – in one week at the cinema than tourists came to see it in 10 years.
If you want to visit Paris without the tourists, you only need to look for the magical and positive world of Amelie Poulain, which takes you through Montmartre, the Sacré-Coeur, and the cosmopolitan Latin Quarter. For something a little more in depth, there are dozens of vlogs that can guide you through a day in the city. There is so much that is already available on our screens that it is only fair to ask if we still need to travel to satisfy our curiosity. After all, if you want to see the Taj Mahal in the sunset, there is already a photograph of it. The breathtaking Hollywood sign in Los Angeles has already its own hashtag on Instagram, with over 650,000 posts on this day. In short, there is nothing we can’t see; and we don’t even need to travel to see it.
However, the travel industry has shown no sign of slowing down. On the contrary, even though every monument, landscape, and local sight are directly accessible, more and more tourists travel throughout the world. With a global GDP of over $7 trillion, global tourism is by far one of the world’s fastest growing sectors. It also one of the largest sectors. This begs the question of why. Indeed, why do we continue to embrace travel when we could simply sit down, relax, and watch?
Some people love sitting and watching
It is fair to say that even though we maintain an active attitude towards traveling, the typical travel journey still includes a lot of sitting and watching. Indeed, finding the inspiration for your next trip doesn’t just happen out of the blue. More and more enthusiastic travelers – or modern tourism explorers as it seems fair to describe them – take the first step of their adventure online. Vlogs are not only a valuable source of information for holidaymakers, but they offer new inspiration by bringing the viewer at the heart of an experience. In short, we travel because travel vloggers make us feel like it is the only thing that matters. Addictive vlogs invite us to new adventures. Welsh couple Kinging-it is a brilliant example of how to create something information and funny that hooks viewers – and makes us want to book our next trip while watching!
In a new travel relationship, where the audience is the passive traveler, and the vlogger is the active adventurer, travel channels satisfy the needs of a broad group. From the vlogger’s perspective, not only can they travel and see the places they dream of, but they can also make money by sharing their experience. As for the viewers, most find the inspiration or the courage they need to book their holiday abroad. It’s a win-win for everyone!
We travel because you need a break from life
Travel envy is the sentiment that guides your finger on the mouse after you’ve watched an educational vlog about Australia or Iceland. At the heart of travel envy, there’s a voice inside your mind that tells you that you NEED to see this place. Need is an odd feeling that can also drive a different type of travel; namely, the people who travel to escape their everyday life. Life can be a stressful mess at the worst of times. Whether it’s your boss who’s been putting too much pressure on you or your relationship has gone berserk, you might feel like you NEED to go away. Travel is also the appropriate response to this universal need for escape. Think of it as a way of recharging your batteries. You want to book a holiday in a place that offers new scenery and gives you the time to find yourself again. If you’re going to leave your worries behind, there are some magnificent spots in the world that can make you forget your day-to-day life for a moment. Treat yourself to a luxury spa holiday in Spain, or unlock your inner peace in a meditation sanctuary in Thailand. Sometimes you travel to reconnect with yourself away from your stressful routine.
You can dramatically change people’s lives
Stress, as it happens, plays a significant role in our travel plans. While, for some, traveling is a way out from stress; for others, travel is synonymous with stress. If you have a disability, for instance, traveling can be a painful and challenging experience without the appropriate support. And that’s because everyone has different travel needs, that an expert who understands how to manage and organize a trip accordingly can make a significant difference. If your interest is in making the experience of traveling accessible to all, then finding out how to become a travel agent is the best way of changing lives. For someone who has been stuck in a wheelchair all their life, finding a knowledgeable agent who can ensure they get to see the Taj Mahal or a red sunset over the savannah, the experience is truly life-changing. It’s not just a matter of seeing something new, but it’s also about feeling part of the same world than everyone else. At a time when handicaps, old age, illnesses, or even single lifestyle are perceived as flaws in a society that is suited for them, making travel safe and accessible to all is a lot more than a luxury; it’s a matter of social integration.
There’s something deeply exciting about discovering how other people live
Social integration is, ultimately, the art of being one with a community. But as you travel and experience different cultures and perceptions of the world, you discover that social integration is not the same everywhere. In the giant melting pot that the world is, we love to watch micro-cultures and try to understand what brings them together. When you go to Paris, there’s nothing more exciting than sitting at a café and observing the people walk by. They’re all different. They may not all be French. But there is something that connects them; there is a sense of cultural belonging that runs like an invisible thread between everyone. It’s not something you can describe in words, but you can feel that those people live and belong here. Typically, the local culture is a mixture of learned behaviors and aesthetics that are typical for the area. As a traveler, renting accommodations such as an Airbnb apartment can help you to connect the dots. Sometimes, you need to spend a day in someone else’s life to better understand them. The simple aesthetic says a lot about their values and their needs, and it provides an insight to the local community. A traveler is nothing more than an observer who wants to grasp the meaning of each community. You need to live like a Parisian to know what it means to be one.
You travel because you create
According to science, traveling opens your mind. As Mark Twain once put it, “broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetation in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” The fact is that traveling increases the ability of your brain to make deep connections between disparate elements. It is linked to the process of multicultural engagement, during which you get to explore how someone else interacts with the world. Seeing how the understanding and relationship with people and things vary depending on your location, your language, your religion greatly affects the way you think in terms of what is normal and what isn’t. Normal is what you are used to; it is a limited and single-minded view of the world. But when you experience new understanding and alternative thinking, your brain can create a different pattern of thoughts. Travel is the bread and butter of a creative career. You can also have a virtual travel experience with travel blogs like TravelCroc
Maybe it’s in our blood
Lastly, we need to remember that traveling has always been a part of human history. Our ancestors used to travel with the season, following the warm weather and ensuring that they could maintain their food supply even in winter. Empires such as the Roman Empire were acquired, built and integrated through travel too, because that how you learn new skills, enroll new talents, and explore new resources. Travel is an ingrained part of our past, and maybe, it’s the very reason why it remains a vital element of our identity. We travel because that’s what we’ve always done, and that’s what we’ll always do. In a way, humanity is not ready for a fully sedentary lifestyle.
In conclusion, there is no life without travel, whether we need to escape a stressful situation, or we want to feel socially integrated into a modern and mobile society. We don’t travel to see things. We travel to experience the world and ourselves and to become one with our surroundings.