There is a lot to be said for being happy where you’re at. Content with one’s daily life, job, house, family, town, city, etc. A lot to be praised in being satisfied and stimulated internally without requiring external inspiration in the form of excessive geographical ambulation. Much to be admired in focused reality centered in local community. Even so, sedentary existence begets stagnation. Even the most centered among us benefits from at least a small reality shake now and again.
Travel represents disparate things to different people. Methods of travel exist in abundance. Ways of seeking new experience and adventure. Many do not necessitate physical departure or arrival. These days, it is easier than ever to access other worlds. To some, travel is synonymous with exploration. Exploration implies learning. Learning, growth. Both key in the development of fully realized individuals. Both readily accessible from any location, limited only by lack of imagination and effort.
Travel may also be done locally. Bliss garnered from the examination of one’s immediate surroundings. Pleasure derived in the discovery of a certain business, in the meeting of a neighbor, through a visit to a local museum or attraction. Significant gratification lies in the compilation of local knowledge, in the concentrated exploration of side streets, neighborhood parks, and trail networks in any given community.
For many, of course, travel also implies exactly that. Traveling. Moving. Fun and freedom. Distance and far-away places. Leaving the familiar behind. For some it may involve a temporary re-creation of identity, the occasional denial of everyday existence, perhaps even a lapse in personal ethics. In some examples the change represents the optimistic exploration of alternate personas and life options; while others afford darker truths temporary escape from repression. Travel originates from a desire for discovery and fulfillment. A longing to seek the self.
Perhaps the most positive aspect of travel to new destinations and experiences may be found in the exploration and expansion of individual (or even small group) comfort zones. The identification and understanding of the fears that control us, the anxieties which color our realities and actions and beliefs. As far as individual growth is concerned there’s nothing quite like fear and discomfort to discover who you truly are, to find out how one acts and reacts when presented with challenge and confusion and adversity. Be hot, be cold, be lost, be hungry, feel threatened. Opportunities for problem solving abound in unfamiliar settings. Self-awareness is achieved through personal response, both internalized and expressed. Only through occasional subjection to distress and discomposure and awkwardness will you ever know if you are the you you truly want to be.