Why do I like traveling?

Diving down into subconscious reasons

Reading through the notes I wrote while I was traveling for the first time I can not help myself but wonder at the feelings surging through me. A sense of wonder fills my chest and my mind drifts away... Far far away into the jungles of Sri Lanka and the mountains of Nepal. Reading the words that I wrote back then, I am reliving these adventures and am happy again.

Memories are something amazing. I do not know why or how exactly but they lie there, all the time, forgotten and outside of consciousness almost as if not there. Hidden somewhere in the depths of the mind. Except for a few select ones, which are part of our conscious awareness right now.

But a short piece of film, a photograph or a piece of text, from back then can act as a trigger. Flooding the brain with all those things lying there in the depths of the mind. Bringing me right back there, to the time I was out there in the world. Somewhere far from home. Alone, except for the company of a good friend.

Memories, that can make you happy.

However... the question remains: Why do I like traveling? And I think it has to do with that phenomenon of remembering. With the formation of memories of things which shook my feelings strongly enough that I can remember and keep them for the rest of my life.

Traveling is very good at provoking this type of experience. It makes for very very vivid and exciting memories. Things so memorable that it is very easy to resurface them again.

Traveling therefore is a way of change. It changes who we are through the experiences we make along the way. And then remembering that these things happened and being happy for having had that experience can change one yet again.

I like that thought. Traveling is a way of building memories that make you happy. Memories that enhance the understanding of who you are.

Media as a way of telling stories.

Another thought that waves around in my head is about the role that photography, writing and film-making (and other kinds of "documentation" efforts) play because they are an important aspect of traveling. Without them memories can fade more easily and grow cold. It will become harder and harder to retrieve the experiences and the feelings stirred up back then. Photos, texts and videos help remember them because they build up a reservoir of external evidence of what has happened. They are like time capsules for experiences. Transmitting adventures through the depths of time.

But they do not only act as a reminder but also as a way of communication. Of showing others, as a means to share the internal change, as a way to share the experience itself. Those media are used to communicate the change that happens and to show and tell the stories of adventures. To let others take part in the mystery that is traveling. The mystery of other cultures, of human connections and friends made and of the lessons learned.

Learning from other peoples adventures.

And I think in this regard most humans are alike. That is to say that the behavior of storytelling is an important chunk of what it means to be human. It is deeply integrated into us. This ability to tell stories, to communicate to other people the experiences we made and what we learned from them.

Besides traveling, this is what makes books and movies and photographies relatable (in a way one can think of them as journeys as well). Our empathetic side can fantasize ourselves into the stories that other people tell. For a short moment we can escape our lives and simulate what it would be like to live theirs. This gives us the ability to use the experiences of others in a very similar way to our experiences. By hearing a story it is almost as if we had lived through that experience ourselves.

We can be inspired and decide whether or not we want to go on adventures similar to theirs and let ourselves be changed in those same ways. Or different ways. But after the adventures, one thing is almost sure, we will be there to tell the story. And inspire others. And that is wonderful.

Subscribe to Live and Learn

Twice a month. Quotes, photos, booknotes and interesting links. Bundled together in one heck of a Newsletter. No spam. No noise.