Why do people travel? People have always traveled, but the reasons for it have changed their shape (but now their nature) throughout the centuries. Originally, people have started traveling, migrating, mainly out of bare necessity: to find better soils, better natural resources, better life conditions. Another reason of traveling is represented by the military campaigns and interventions that have the goal of conquering or preserving lands and resources, ultimately for the same above mentioned goal: better life conditions. Besides these strictly material/economical/political determinants, there’s also a spiritual cause illustrated by the religious missionaries.
Nevertheless, in the last century, with the rapid development of technologies, new slightly different shaped reasons have emerged that determine people to choose to travel, such as getting a better (and sometimes cheaper) education in another area than the one in which you were born in or getting a better paid job abroad. Essentially economic, these two options imply either a new establishment in a geographic space, or returning to one’s original birth area after the tasks/contracts are accomplished.
Ultimately more and more people travel worldwide for short periods of time for mere entertainment and fun, engaging in touristic activities of all sorts (moral or immoral, legal or illegal). What I personally notice is a special, newly emergent category of people that travel for either self discovery/self fulfillment or escape/runaway. Usually young, University graduates, traveling on a budget, mingling with the locals of the culture they are visiting, they are in a search of the missing experiences that no books can ever provide! They are a sort of educated nomads, wanderlusts that see the world as their playground, always insatiable over experiencing new cultures.
Overall it seems that if, in the beginning, traveling in the shape of migration was a necessity for supporting life itself, it has become now a conscious choice (not yet financially accessible to the whole World population) for personal development.
However, no matter what traveling represents to you, bottom line it could be just living life itself, traveling has always been and always will be an enactment of the eternal myth of the hero’s journey. Each of us is the main character of his or her own life in which we are free to choose based either on fear or on love. Our only true purpose is our evolution. We are in competition only with oneself. In this journey we encounter a lot of threats, a lot of dangers, a lot of traps, but also a lot of rewards. We think we control, only to realize that life itself happens to us. Only when we choose to see with our heart we really make dangers disappear and we are able to see the truth. Ultimately, the journey shows you how connected everything is. There is no separation. You lose yourself in the process only to have your identity reborn having the whole meaning of the Universe within.
So, when you are on your path and you feel stuck or disconnected, don’t give up, it’s just a phase, go on and just remember that we are all stardust. And you don’t have to take my word for it, listen to Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson: