Human nature and the desire to travel

8 Dec

There’s a thought that’s been on my mind for a long time.

In today’s world, we can open up google chrome, firefox, or internet explorer, and bam! We are connected not only to the rest of the world, but to its historic treasures. We can look at famous works of art up close on google without being in a museum. We can look at other cities on google street view. We can read all about the history of Spain on wikipedia. We do not have to go to Spain to learn about it. Though it won’t compare with Spanish food in Spain, we can cook it at home or find it in a restaurant. To be immersed in Spain, we must go there, but to simply learn about some statue or Moorish palace, we can learn about it on wikipedia. There are even projects to develop avatar robots that can be controlled from many miles away with the brain alone.

And yet those of us who love to travel and truly care about the places they visit know that we still feel the desire to get on a plane and go there. And then, another thought occurred to me.

In today’s world, if someone wanted to, they could work as a freelance web designer or affiliate marketer from home, have food and appliances delivered to their home, spend their free time playing World of Warcraft, and never leave the house, and still be able to live a life.

However, it would be a pretty depressing lifestyle to most people.

So then I realized, we don’t travel because it’s our only method of learning in today’s world. We travel because we are humans who naturally want to take ourselves places. We like to go to art museums to see art that could be seen online for the same reason that people go to concerts with music they could listen to at home. People have an innate human desire to just get out there.

So really, travel is just a larger, more elaborate exploitation of that desire. We travel for the same reason we sometimes go on outings to museums when we could learn just as much from home. We enjoy the outing. It’s just that when we take ourselves overseas, we take ourselves further away from home.

The desire to travel is completely valid even in today’s digitally interconnected world. We are, deep down, a species of people who, for the most part, like to, at least for some time, explore.


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