Why is Travel so Important?

A lookout along the main road of Thailand facing a mountain in Amphoe phanom-Khlong Sok

A lookout along the main road of Thailand facing a mountain in Amphoe phanom-Khlong Sok

S Collins

S Collins

A lookout along the main road of Thailand facing a mountain in Amphoe phanom-Khlong Sok

Sadie Collins, Reporter/Photographer

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Recently, I was able to travel overseas to Thailand. And before that, Hawaii… a little more than several times. Alaska… too many times to count. New York. Massachusetts. Rhode Island. Connecticut. Vermont. California. Oregon. Idaho. Utah. Texas. Indianapolis. Arizona.. Honestly the list goes on and on. I have been so lucky to be a child of exploration. I was on my first plane at the age of two, and my first road trip before I had even turned one. Ever since, travel and adventure has been ingrained into my life. It has become a part of me, and as cliche as it sounds, it makes me, me. So thank you mom and dad for bringing me up as a child of aspiration and wanderlust.

Stepping out of the Bangkok airport there was a unrecognizable smell. A certain smell that can’t be recreated. It was specifically thailand. A smell so particularly related to that one place. That one area of the world that I would come to love. In the words of my brother, “the smells are conflicting”. It was neither bad nor pleasant. It was organic and earthy, the smell of humidity and life.

Since being back in the states, that smell is nowhere to be found. Nor can I recall that scent anywhere else. It is a smell that I miss, not because it was pleasant. And not because it was horrendous. But because it is a smell that I associate with those memories. Those unforgettable stories that deserve to be told.

When someone describes culture shock, do not pass it on with a second glance. It is true and it is real. Thailand was amazing. Yet is was dirty and poverty stricken and sometimes unsanitary. I felt over privileged and my heart hurt for many people. But the people were the friendliest people I’ve ever come across. Caring and considerate. My smile was beautiful to them, as I was told by a dozen different women in broken english and hand motions.

But as there is a culture shock of new places, you also experience a culture shock of coming home. Not only in the ways of our home life, but also in the way you think and perceive things. That trip, like all my others has altered who I am. And I encourage everyone to experience that feeling for themselves.

Growth and change. Ultimately, those are reasons enough to go. You become more worldly, and more intellectual about other nations. Experiencing new culture and life of other countries changes you as a person. Traveling educates you in a way that the classroom can’t. It allows for your individual growth as a person. You learn so much from witnessing the way others live and go through life. You learn to be genuine, and thoughtful.

And well, traveling is fun. You can’t deny that really. There is some type of feeling associated with adventuring into the unknown. Charting your own uncharted territory. It’s almost like a drug with an intense addiction factor. When you travel it’s like a release and a feeling that will continue drawing you back. You will want to feel that carefree spirit again. And the only way? Getting back out there and living life.

Traveling can be scary, don’t get me wrong. I am not naive enough to believe traveling is for everyone. Because it’s not. It can be a lot. The planning, the researching, the time off, the new place, the expensive. But don’t knock it until you try it. As my auntie Doi has said, “you must try it. If you don’t like it you don’t have to have it. But you must try it”(never once has anything she cooked tasted badly. She’s an amazing cook). Figure out what you like and what you don’t. And if traveling isn’t for you well okay. That’s perfectly fine.

Honestly, I could go more in depth on the benefits of travel and exploration. I could make it philosophical and educational. But I don’t want to. Travel for yourself. And discover for yourself the answer to “why is travel so important”. Figure out if and why it is important to you and who you are. Eventually you’ll find your purpose, and turning to travel can help with that.

“The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes,” -Marcel Proust










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