Why We Travel

Can everyone just take a few minutes out of their day and read this article?

Generally speaking, I feel like I adjusted back to my pre-travel life fairly quickly after I returned from studying abroad. Maybe it was because I was in college and my life was still changing at a relatively constant rate. I had new classes and roommates every few months, new concepts to grasp each day, and long breaks from school to refresh and recharge. I suppose I didn’t realize it at the time but in a way, I was still traveling. My physical journey had just been replaced by a mental one.

Then I spent another year abroad and was constantly being exposed to something new and different every single day. New languages and cultural norms. New food, new friends, new experiences. I could practically feel my mind expanding.

And here I sit, more than six months after returning from one of the greatest adventures of my life, and I can’t help but feel as though I’ve fallen into a rut. I’m restless and I can’t stop thinking about traveling. I wake up at the same time every day, eat the same thing for breakfast, drive the same route to work, sit at the same desk, blah blah blah. Being the type of peson that absolutely thrives on change, the minute my life becomes even the least bit routine, my brain goes straight into “auto pilot” mode. I’ve been fighting an internal battle for too long now, telling myself I can’t write anymore because I’m not creative and I can’t find inspiration like I used to. That being said, you can imagine my relief after reading the article mentioned above. There’s actually some scientific evidence to help explain this feeling of being stuck-in-a-rut. Of course, nothing in the article actually came as a shock to me. I already knew why travel was so beneficial and why my mind, body and soul craved it. I knew why I traveled…but it’s not just me…it’s we.

A few excerpts:

“When we escape from the place we spend most of our time, the mind is suddenly made aware of all those errant ideas we’d suppressed.”

“The larger lesson is that our thoughts are shackled by the familiar. The brain is a neural tangle of near-infinite possibility, which means that it spends a lot of time and energy choosing what not to notice. As a result, creativity is traded away for efficiency; we think in literal prose, not symbolist poetry. A bit of distance, however, helps loosen the chains of cognition, making it easier to see something new in the old; the mundane is grasped from a slightly more abstract perspective.”

Seriously, read this article.



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