When you’re young, the definition of travel is sensory and simple: the white-knuckle feeling as your plane takes off for the first time, earplugs in, synapses firing, the world outside the window becoming suddenly hyper-real. In middle age, it becomes more of a distraction from cubical drudgery, or perhaps a sun-soaked interlude before returning to the real world and bills and taxes. But at any age, it’s still a powerful way to see and learn more about the world around you, and yourself.
The act of going from one place to another, usually over a considerable distance: your daily commute doesn’t count, but your trip to Timbuktu does. It may also refer to a specific type of vacation, such as a sightseeing tour or an active adventure. The phrase is also used to describe the people whose profession involves travelling from place to place: an itinerant, or someone who travels for work.
Taking part in authentic experiences, whether it’s climbing a mountain or chatting with locals, is what makes a good traveler. It’s about embracing new possibilities, opinions and religions; trying out different lifestyles; and learning from others instead of being judgemental. It’s also about caring for and protecting the planet, as well as promoting self-reflection and global action.
For many, it’s the people they meet along the way who make a trip truly memorable. Whether it’s the guide who helps them navigate a new hiking trail or the bartender who teaches them how to make a martini, travellers are a constant source of wonder and inspiration for those that surround them.
Travelers learn in ways that can’t be learned in a classroom with four walls, from other people who share their passions and their fears; they discover things about themselves that would never have been possible at home. They learn about geography, history and cultures; they delve into the nuances of language and gastronomy; they observe wildlife in their natural habitats. They learn about themselves and their own places in the world, and they are often changed forever by what they have seen and done. This is the true magic of travel.