I’ve been doing quite a bit of blog-reading lately, and it seems that much of it is telling me that the purpose of travel is to interact with other people. Or that, if I don’t want to interact with other people, it must because I’m limiting myself by saying I’m shy (and I need to get over it because I’m really not and no one is). Or that I must be an introvert if I don’t want to interact with others, and I need to either defend my choice not to put my best efforts into obtaining what others have defined for me as one of THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL GOALS or I need to still try to act like an extrovert to get the most out of my journeys.
Please stop telling people what the f*ck to do to make their travel meaningful and rewarding.
It is incredibly annoying.
Yes, I already know what the rebuttal to this is – “If you don’t like it, then don’t read their post. Perhaps I appreciate a different perspective and that is why I read their blog to begin with?
When I step out of the house, I don’t see every face as a new person to interact with, whether it be in my home country or somewhere else. I don’t wonder how I will make a new friend today. I don’t care to use strangers I don’t know as impromptu tutors.
If you do these things or you like to do them, cool.
If not, also cool.
When I step out of the house, I want to observe. I want to be in the background, seeing, thinking, reflecting, feeling, questioning, understanding. Actively seeking a way to engage directly with others is a barrier to that.
If you identify with this, cool.
If not, also cool.
I, too, thrill at the seemingly random and spontaneous ways in which connections occur between myself and others – sometimes, these are quite magical and lasting for both parties – but I don’t search for every opportunity to make one happen.
So rather than frame my travel based on a personality-type dichotomy or tell myself that I’m not doing it the right way, I ask myself this:
Do I want participation or observation?
One is not better than the other. It’s simply a matter of preference.
For me, 9 times out of 10, the answer is observation. That’s my happy place. So that’s what frames the way I travel. I travel because I want to see and to eat and to think. If I have friends in a place, then I’d like to meet them for a bit, as well.
And to be honest, I couldn’t care less how you do it. Maybe the question I ask myself is helpful to you, or perhaps you prefer some other way of figuring out how to get the most out of your travel. Possibly – and highly likely – you don’t care about any of that. You simply go and do. See and eat. Buy things. Walk and talk. Get on the bus with a group, get off the bus with a group.
There is no right or wrong in this regard.
I just care that you do it – travel, that is.
One thing I think every travel blogger and writer could agree upon is the idea that travel humanizes. It is much more difficult to hold a stereotype about a group of people, the place they live, or the way they live once you’ve come into contact with it and have seen or interacted with a real human being with real human emotions and needs that aren’t so different from yours. It is much more difficult to be willing to go to war against a nation, a religion, a culture when you’ve had a personal (affirmative) experience with it. The world and the politics that dominate it becomes more complicated as a result, but finding and understanding humanity in all becomes infinitely easier.
So, I implore you: please go somewhere, especially outside of your own country if you can afford it. Go when you want, how you want, where you want. Go alone (if it’s safe to) or go with a group. Talk to people or not. Eat the food; sorry, I’ll give no leeway on this one : D Do the touristy things or don’t.
P.S. I do actually like making friends, though! So please, leave me a message below, follow me on twitter, share your info, whatever! I’d love to learn from you, as well, how you like to travel. Thanks *^_^*