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Why We Travel

“Thus travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty.”


This passage is interesting to me because it describes travel in a way that I had never considered. Most people, myself included, only think about what can be learned about the place to which you travel. Yes, traveling teaches us about new people and cultures that we would never see at home, but traveling can also teach us about ourselves. Being in a foreign place with foreign people exposes a different side of ourselves that we would never have been able to see. You learn how you deal with a difficult situation and how you behave in a new place and how much change you can handle. You may be a very different person when traveling than at home, or your experiences while traveling could turn you into a whole new person. The new environment provides an opportunity to learn something new about yourself that you might never have discovered had you stayed in the same setting and never experienced a new place. A whole other aspect of yourself could be suppressed if it is not given the chance to emerge. Iyer’s fresh, thought-provoking outlook on the learnings of traveling made me view traveling in a new way.