Why do you travel?

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Mar 26th, 2010, 10:55 AM
  #1
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Why do you travel?

I am doing a project for my Cultural Anthropology class and would love some input on the following questions I need to address: Why do you travel? What do you hope to gain from international travel experiences? Do you have any experiences that you would like to share that have changed you in some way? This can be annonymous, I just need some opinions, thoughts to make my project successful. Thanks!!!
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Mar 27th, 2010, 02:17 AM
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Good question Gabriella, but I guess my answer would be the same as most people and that is to enjoy experiences, be it cultural, social, artistic or visual that you cannot experience at home. I would never live in any other country than Australia, but I am passionate about certain European destinations for what they have to offer and I try to visit them every few years. I refer to London, Paris (my favourite) Venice, Rome,Florence and Tuscany, Capri and the Amalfi coast, and in the USA, New York and San Francisco. There are of course others including many Islands in the Pacific that I have been fortunate to visit, but those mentioned are at the top of my list.
Without a doubt visiting Italy and France has made a dramatic change to my lifestyle especially my attitude to food and the ingredients used to make a meal. e.g. Olive Oil was not in our pantry until we visited Italy.
I hope you receive many more replies, but these are just a few thoughts to get the ball rolling.
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Mar 27th, 2010, 03:36 AM
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I can't imagine life without travel.

I'd never have seen the ocean! I'd never have experienced hiking in the Swiss Alps, four wheeling in the the deserts of Oman, riding a camel in Saudi Arabia, or the poverty and chaos of Indonesia. I'd never have been bowled over by the smell of a durian, used an eastern toilet or sampled a shisha. I'd never have experienced the joys of Middle Eastern and Indian food and witnessed the realities of Ramadan. I'd never have hiked on a glacier or walked in a rainforest or eaten a white bread, cheese and pickle sandwich. I'd never have petted a koala or seen a whale or been freaked out by a huntsman spider. I'd never have been on a plane, or a train or learned to drive on the left.

I've lived in five countries on three continents and visited a whole lot of places in between.

I absolutely cannot imagine what my life would be like had I never traveled; had I not experienced the cultures, religions, food and people of the many places I have visited.
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Mar 28th, 2010, 12:14 PM
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To me travel is such an "eye opener" - - the chance to learn about how people in other parts of the world live. Also, as an American it has made me realize what an excessive society I live in. To be happy do you need all the stuff we Americans have? Big houses, multiple cars, 24/7 bigger is better shopping???? NO! Travel has opened my eyes because I have been in places where the locals have very little compared to us and you can tell they happy; in fact, happier than most in the US.
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Mar 29th, 2010, 11:27 PM
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You might find this rather too long to read right through, but it may give you an idea about why I like to travel. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...st-verbose.cfm

In some ways, it’s the intellectual exercise of finding out about a place, and then going there.

A different travel experience was when I rode a bicycle around a fair chunk of Australia. That was about discovering the territory inside my own head. If you click on my user name, you’d find a report about it.


Cheers, and good luck with your assignment.

Peter
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Mar 30th, 2010, 06:02 AM
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Someone wiser than me said something once about how travel breaks down prejudices and opens your mind. I'm forever amazed at how very different people can be when they live somewhere else and have grown up in another culture. And even more surprised to discover how very similar we all are.

Once I have returned from a new country, I always feel that place has left a permanent mark on me. And I'm not just talking about the beautiful, touristy places, but also the grittier, more confronting places as well. Travelling has made me think differently about many things - more so than reading about them or watching TV could ever have done.
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Mar 30th, 2010, 10:40 PM
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For me it all comes down to learning. There is no greater fun than discovery.
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Mar 31st, 2010, 12:07 AM
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Curiosity, mainly, the urge to experience at first hand places I've only ever seen or read about at second hand. Different people, sights, smells, sounds.

I have a friend, one of the "see Australia first" brigade, who vaguely disapproves of my interest in foreign climes. "How much of Australia do I need to see before I'll be released to see other places?", I ask him. "I could spend my whole life traipsing Australia, and sure, I'd never run out of different trees, rocks and country towns to see, but having visited every state and territory and even lived in a few of of them I reckon I've done my bit. Time to hit the road."
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Mar 31st, 2010, 12:50 AM
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in the same vein as many of the others..

1 - love to see and explore new and unique places. the feeling of discovery is quite amazing and fulfilling. and when you are in a really special place - wow! there is nothing like it. I am truly in God's house when when I land in an awesome and inspiring locale. Makes me feel bit like Christopher Columbus setting out to conquer the world . For me this has been things like the top of the Jungfrau in Switzerland, a castle on Lac Leman where I am amazed at the frescos on the wall, the Amalfi Coast / Pompeii, a small cathedral in Sienna where the spirit of St Catherine is tangibly felt, a game park in Africa, the tango in Buenos Aires, skiing in Vail....
2 - meeting new people from different backgrounds, but then encountering the realization of how warm and welcoming most people in the world seem to be. we love giving and sharing with others. I was lost in Milano once and spoke no italian. This lovely italian man noticed and sought to help me out. Trouble was - he spoke no english. But he recognized the name of my destination and gave me perfect directions simply because he wanted to help! Gestures can be a hugely effective method of communication. With his hands - "One, two, three - get off the bus at the third stop. turn left and cross the road and go straight for a short bit." And to top it off, he made sure I got on the correct bus. Hugely amazing experience and I was truly grateful! I was dropping in on a friend, unannounced, to say hello for his birthday. Ended up staying with him and some graduate school colleagues for 3 days having a great time.
3 - it gets my head out of the stresses of work and let's me forget it for awhile. Nuff said.
4 - it's almost like food. I have to have it. It nourishes my soul.

good luck with your class!
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Mar 31st, 2010, 05:41 AM
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Good for you Neil_Oz! I think it's fantastic to see as much of one's own country as you can, but despite having seen some wonderful parts of the world, I never love Australia quite so much as when I return after having been away for a long time.
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Mar 31st, 2010, 03:16 PM
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Wooders, it may sound odd, but one of the pleasures of getting back to Australia is being met by our customs and immigration officers. You don't want to take too many liberties with them, but compared to the suspicious, grim and grumpy officials in most parts of the world they (and I should add their Kiwi counterparts) are almost a welcome-home committee.
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Mar 31st, 2010, 03:42 PM
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So true Neil. They're even kind to us yanks.

Hearing a US Immigration official say 'welcome home' always makes me smile, and with any luck I'll be hearing those words again in less than 48 hours.
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Apr 2nd, 2010, 12:10 AM
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"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." St Augustine
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Apr 2nd, 2010, 05:24 PM
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I love the St. Augustine quote.

As opposed to addressing “why” I travel, I’ll speak to how I’ve been changed by travel. There’ve been two major shifts in my thinking …

On one trip I visited Italy and Greece. In Greece, as I toured ancient temples it hit me on a new level that the stories of Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes and the other Gods—stories that I’d enjoyed as fanciful myths—actually comprised religion. For centuries, millions of people really believed that Zeus turned his bride into a cow; Apollo turned Daphne into a tree; Hermes had winged sandals; and Athena sprang full grown in armor from Zeus’ forehead—and had no mother. All of these Gods played major roles in mortals’ everyday lives and had to be worshipped and appeased.

These stories were as true to those who believed them as are the pages of the bible are for those who now believe that a man born to a virgin was the son of God and as such was able to walk on water; turn water to wine; rise from the dead – and more.

Then I visited Rome—where ancients had their own Gods and goddesses in whom they had complete faith. While in Rome I visited the Pantheon—and later that day, the oldest synagogue in the city—where completely different beliefs were held as ultimate truth. My next stop was the Vatican—where yet another set of beliefs were held as irrefutable dogma—and where wealthy patrons paid for magnificent artwork to buy salvation from the fires of hell – and a ticket to everlasting peace in heaven.

A few months prior to this trip I’d visited Chichen Itza and stood at the spot where Mayan warriors were sacrificed to appease yet an entirely different set of Gods.

I returned from the trip to Europe changed, in that it seemed impossible to me that the followers of countless religions could each be so certain that theirs’ is (or was) the one and only truth—the sole explanation of creation and of why good and bad events happen during this life and beyond. Of course I’d known that there have been different religions throughout the ages—and throughout the world—but standing in their sacred places made it so much more real.

I became more certain than ever that no religion can lay claim to having the answers—and frankly, it became harder for me to understand how modern, intelligent people could choose to ignore all of this—and remain unshaken in their belief that their particular God(s) and stories are the sole true one.

By the way … I’m writing this on Good Friday. Happy Easter ;-)

How else has travel changed me? I visited Volcanic parks near Rotorua, New Zealand where geothermal activity is constant, sending plumes of steam and smoke spewing up from the earth. Then, that night I lay out under what looked like ten thousand stars beneath a sky so clear the Milky Way looked as if it had been painted with a brush. On a level that was deeper than anything I’d previously experienced I could feel that I was indeed on a giant rock that had once been a ball of flaming gases—and was still in the process of cooling. As I looked up at the heavens my perspective shifted and I experienced my part in the scheme and a deeper connection to it all. It shifted from intellectual knowledge to a gut level sensation. It was a profound, cherished, spiritual experience.
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