Travel is one of those intangible things in life which can be bought and experienced, but cannot really be quantified in monetary value. At the same time, you can lose what you gain from travel, just as easily as if it were a material possession.
But the biggest gainz (gym joke!) that are obtained from travel are often spiritual or mental gains. That is, if your trip didn’t consist entirely of shopping and eating. This actually brings me to an interesting point, a sidetrack if you’ll let me; perhaps not so surprisingly, different cultures travel in different ways. I’ll keep this sweet and simple, and I think this example is also the only example that is required: previously when I was doing research for a 6-week trip to Taiwan, I consulted the ‘Western style’ guide book – Lonely Planet. Within its pages were hundreds if not thousands of suggestions of places to visit; temples, lakes, mountains, real sightseeing places – and the occasional night market here and there, or a restaurant recommendation. Then I consulted a guide book which I can only describe as ‘Intensely Asian style’ – which essentially consisted of mainly recommendations of where to eat, where to go to eat, what to eat, and when to eat. Oh, and shopping too. Barely mentioned were the significant landmarks of cultural importance, or any suggestions to ‘go to xxx and see the sunset’.
If you haven’t realised by now, the priorities and focus are completely different, and this I would say, is due to cultural differences – Asian travel culture is very shopping and food-focused, while Western travel culture is very much directed towards exploration.
Anyway – with this piece, I wanted to flesh out why we travel. Obviously, the reason varies between individuals, and we all have our own reasons, ranging from escaping reality, to self-discovery, to eating every food possible (or as much of a single food as possible – six bowls of ramen in a day, anyone?), to having amazing experiences (hiking and seeing waterfalls, getting lost in a creepy abandoned children’s theme park and finally making it out alive).
Importantly, one thing that has been playing on my mind recently is also that a lot of us are fortunate enough to travel. We have the wealth to be able to step away from our jobs and spend money on plane tickets and go to a different country and explore it – all the while, millions of people can only dream of doing this as they struggle for their daily existence. This realisation has humbled me and really made me see the locals of any place I go to in a different life – everyone has their own story, and often I am so fascinated about what goes on in their life, as mundane as it is to them. This is something that I will expand upon later, but for now, I think I’ll conclude that travel is a privilege – it’s an opportunity to expand your perspective, receive new experiences, meet new people, see what this world has (not necessarily offer), and most importantly, have fun!
So follow us as we share with you the places we’ve been, the places we’ll go, and the places we are.
Photo credits: taken by skyline at 高雄火車站，高雄市，台灣 (Kaohsiung Train Station, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan)