“You need a vacation.”
“There are so many places to see around the world.”
“Travel as much as you can.”
We’ve all been told these things several times. Often, we’ve even said it to ourselves. Traveling and exploring different corners of the world is a hobby and passion we’ve come to believe is an unavoidable necessity. But why? What do we gain out of seeing new places and meeting new people? Does it change us? And even if it does, do we really need it? Will our lives not live up to its full potential somehow, unless we travel?
The answer is multi-fold, and not at all simple.
In Sapiens, the bestseller by Yuval Noah Harari, he asserts that the desire to travel is not a calling embedded deep within us, but a by-product of the consumerist society we’ve been raised in. That we’ve been made to romanticise it and think we need it. He defends his stance by stating that a chimpanzee would never leave its territory to go on ‘holiday’. According to him, travel isn’t a natural, innate need.
Interesting take, but that’s not all travel is.
On the surface, the reason for traveling seems rather obvious – to leave mundanity behind. In fact, many travel hoping to do exactly this. There’s something about getting accustomed to a routine with the same people and places in it that feels like we’re missing out on the novelty of life and the experiences it has to offer. Get a massage, go to a gaming arcade, or stay at a hotel for hours, nothing really changes. But take a walk through a city you’ve never been to, and every sense that lives within you will light up in ways it only ever did when you were a child. Every new scent, the way your feet feel on the ground, how the locals greet you, it’s all guaranteed to make you feel alive. Freshness of the new trumps the monotony of the old. Doesn’t matter how much we love our lives back at home, monotony finds us sooner or later. To break it, we travel.
But there’s more. And this bit’s exclusive to humans. It’s the reason no other creature sets foot outside of what it knows. The reason the chimpanzee doesn’t leave its territory. And the reason humans know every piece of land on the planet. It’s the urge to unravel what is unknown to us. Have you ever found yourself wanting to experience touching a coral reef? Or skiing down a snow-clad mountain? Have you ever wondered how the air feels pressing against your face while you skydive? The sole fact that you’re capable of this curiosity is enough for you to at some point put it to rest. It’s why humans have scaled the highest mountains, ventured into the darkest waters, and charted out interstellar explorations. No other creature has this curiosity in them.
At the core of human desire is to not settle for what exists within, but to explore what lies beyond it.
Injecting life with freshness and satiating curiosity sound great, but those are still surface level experiences (even though the urge to explore is deep within). What does travel do for us on a more profound, permanent basis? How does it really change us? Here’s where it gets interesting.
The widespread 21st century belief is that travel helps you find yourself. This is not wrong, but it is incomplete.
It is not wrong because we do uncover parts of ourselves with travel. We learn what we’d be like when put into uncomfortable places and surrounded with unfamiliar people. We find the boundaries of our social skills living in hourly hotels with strangers from different cultures. We find languages we’re fonder of. We find ways of life we feel more aligned with. Every situation we encounter that we’ve never been in before uncovers a shade of our behaviour we haven’t seen before, and through this, we learn of the multitudes residing within us.
But if travel is about finding yourself, it’s equal bits about losing yourself too.
Speak to anyone who has travelled a considerable amount in one go, and they’ll tell you the one thing they feel most when they get back – lost. As people, we grow up with a certain worldview, but what we don’t realize is that it makes sense only against the backdrop of where we were born and raised. The minutest of our thoughts and actions are influenced by this worldview, whether or not we admit it. This serves us well for as long as we remain in our original surroundings, but when we venture outside, it breaks. We realize that there are more ways to life than one. And when we find them, we end up letting go of the ideologies that can no longer explain our diverse experiences to their fullest. Over time, we end up losing a significant part of what we thought defined us. We detach, adapt and evolve. We develop wider horizons for ourselves.
This is the magic of traveling – finding the Yins and the Yangs within. Travel makes you either forget or transform everything you knew about yourself, and unearths everything you didn’t. It sparks inner evolution.
You’re probably still wondering why we named this article what we did. It’s because travel can do ALL of this for you. It can break monotony, feed curiosity, help you unbecome, and then become.
That’s why you should travel.
P.S. When exploring new places, anything that restricts you has to go. Brevistay’s hourly hotel bookings are as flexible as your ever-changing itinerary, while also offering maximum safety and privacy. Whichever city in India you choose as your next travel destination, we hope to see you there!