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The Destination, The Journey or The Sharing?

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a discussion of travelling motivations... is it the experience or the sharing of that experience that drives us to travel?
5 years ago, October 1st 2008 No: 1 Msg: #50383  
More and more the idea that technology is fundamentally changing the way we experience the world is gaining ground. Are we motivated to travel overseas by genuine interest in the experience, or is it something more superficial like the sharing of pictures with family and friends, social status from travelling the world or ego boosts from posting our stories and pictures online? Does our time spent writing crafty travelblogs and looking for the next great photo detract from the direct experience of exotic places far from home?

Finally, how many of us would travel at all if we could not share pictures with family, write travelblogs for strangers or tell stories of our adventures to family?

http://xkcd.com/77/


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5 years ago, October 2nd 2008 No: 2 Msg: #50566  
B Posts: 5,099
Nice edit on the cartoon - I hope that we travel for the sake of the experience - that sharing it is just an added bonus.

But I know for me - back in 2002 writing my first entries in my travelblog - it pushed me to make the most of some situations - my friends back home wanted to see photos from the top of the volcano - not just the bars at the base... not the reason for doing something - but a little extra push to make sure. Reply to this

5 years ago, October 2nd 2008 No: 3 Msg: #50567  
Hello Stephen

Are we motivated to travel overseas by genuine interest in the experience, or is it something more superficial like the sharing of pictures with family and friends, social status from travelling the world or ego boosts from posting our stories and pictures online?



I think there is more than one way to get an ego boost. I dont think people spend the time and money they do on travel just to get an ego boost.

Finally, how many of us would travel at all if we could not share pictures with family, write travelblogs for strangers or tell stories of our adventures to family?



I would. I started travelling before internet blogging sites existed. I have been travelling on and off for 20 years and did not upload a blog on the interenet until this year. My first ever internet blog is here on TravelBlog, uploaded on Feb 5th, 2008. I started travelling in August 1988. I could count the number of travel photos I have taken on the fingers of one hand. My parents, siblings and many friends disapproved of my travelling when I started and many of them still disapprove. My ex was pretty much the only one who would be interested in my braggings but one could say they were topics of mutual interest rather than braggings because he has plenty to brag about himself travelwise. My current boyfriend likes to do some armchair travelling through me and I consider that to be good luck rather than the usual.

Much as I love to go on travel sites and travel talk, I passionately love to travel and would do it regardless of anybody else.

Mel
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5 years ago, October 2nd 2008 No: 4 Msg: #50568  
I kinda wonder if people are turning travel into work these days. There is so much advice about how to do it and what to do these days that many may not be following their hearts. Travelling should be largely subjective. Nobody should be able to give another a travel itinery.
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5 years ago, October 2nd 2008 No: 5 Msg: #50602  
For the record Im not just talking about the internet- I mean letters to home, postcards and any mention of your travelling to friends or family. All of this communication carries social benefit. If you family objects to your travel there are friends who admire you, or travelling companions you meet who are impressed with where you have been...

But if travelling is subjective, isnt having a travel itinerary a matter of personal opinion?

If someone is travelling on a very limited time frame and has just 2 weeks off from work for the entire year, sometimes its best to have an itnerary instead of being laissez-faire for those precious 14 days. All of my vacations are time restricted like that.

For example, it would be fun to go to the Big Island of Hawaii and takes things as they come, follow my heart and take it easy. But, I would also get way more out of my 7 days off by scheduling the trip with activities- Sport Fishing, Helicopter Rides, SCUBA diving, kayaking, etc...

When I went to New Zealand, I would have had incredible memories, met cool people and had a good time if I didnt follow an itinerary... but would I have been able to go on 2 days of SCUBA diving, on a all day cave tour, overnight backpacking, all day river rafting, helicopter touring a glacier, canyoning and hot springing in just 13 days? Absolutely not!

I had 4 days in Santiago after my Torres del Paine trip a year ago. I didn't make plans, I met my good friend and hung out around town, went to the zoo, clubs, restaurants, etc... no plans really. then I see blogs on Termas Colinas/El morado, SCUBA diving around Quintero- and think, "Why the hell didn't I go THERE?!" Because i didn't think about it, plan for it, have my bus tickets, etc... For me, some planning gives me the best experience. Some people cant plan for themselves and need an itnerary. I dont ever want to see pictures of a place 8000km away after the fact and then wish i could visit- knowing I was 20 km away from it on vacation but didn't know about it! If you dont have the luxury of an extended piece of time off, each day is precious.

Travelling is whatever we make it- 7 days of sitting at a beach, or 7 days of non stop excitement and activity. If you see some travelling as work, does that make the experience any less valuable than "following your heart?"
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5 years ago, October 2nd 2008 No: 6 Msg: #50603  
I believe it's a bit of both -- there are probably just as many people out there traveling for the experience in it's own right, but I have also met quite a few individuals from the later camp which travel over-seas, do all the "must do" photo ops and then return, quite accomplished that their picture of such and such monument proves that they were there.

While blogging on the internet is relatively new, the practice of journaling and documenting what you see on your travels certainly isn't. It's a great way of teaching and learning about places you yourself havn't been. It's just the medium that's change. Instead of using ink quills and sketch pads we're using internet cafes, laptops and digital cameras. Sure, if you spend half your trip in said cafe I could see that the blogging would certainly interfere with the act of travel itself, but many jot down thoughts on note pads and then later transform those photos and thoughts into blogs later, when time permits.

This past summer we were resting in our tent when the group next to us gathered around the campfire to read a story to the kids. What they were reading was a travel memoir from their grandfather about his time camping across the country and travelling in his youth. What a great gift for future generations to be able to connect with the thoughts, feelings and experiences of those before you! Travelblogs can easily serve that same purpose.

They can, of course, also serve as a platform to brag about how much you drank and how many countries you saw in 10 days. Like its mentioned above, travel is subjective, and always will be. One hundred years ago expeditions into the desert were "exotic" and "rare" and now looking back at the accommodations many of those early explorers used many of us would chalk it up to "luxurious group travel." To me, it's those that judge others travels as more or less worthy that are really after their own ego boost, effectively classifying their deeds as "real" and others are "fake."
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5 years ago, October 2nd 2008 No: 7 Msg: #50604  

If you family objects to your travel there are friends who admire you, or travelling companions you meet who are impressed with where you have been...


Well, it is nice to be admired now and again, but it would not justify the amount of money and time I have spent on travelling. There arent really people who do all that travelling just for the few friends who do actually admire it, are there? That would be just weird!

But if travelling is subjective, isnt having a travel itinerary a matter of personal opinion?


Indeed, it is my personal opinion. Those who want somebody to lay out an itineray for them are more than welcome to post that request. I wont object. Even though they would not be satisified with my ''follow your heart'' response there are others who will likely give them what they prefer.

"Why the hell didn't I go THERE?!" Because i didn't think about it, plan for it, have my bus tickets, etc... For me, some planning gives me the best experience.


It is always wise to do some research in order to get the most out of a trip. I generally do and make a loose plan.

If you see some travelling as work, does that make the experience any less valuable than "following your heart?"


Only if one travels the way others think one should, rather than following ones own personal tastes and desires. Reply to this

5 years ago, October 2nd 2008 No: 8 Msg: #50605  
I discovered that I actually like having blogs. What I like about it, is it gives me a look at myself from the outside, almost as if I am reading someone elses blog. I dont often get to see myself from that prespective. Looking at myself from the outside I actually admire myself and the things I have done. It is as if I can focus on what an adventurous type of person I am and what I have done when I read about my best experiences condenced into a blog without the more mundane everyday things diluting them. Not sure if that makes sense to anybody but me.... Reply to this

5 years ago, October 3rd 2008 No: 9 Msg: #50643  
B Posts: 9,686
For me planning is also a way of not only making sure I fit more in while I'm away, but of sucking more out of the whole travel experience in general - lengthening the journey if you like.
I use 'planning' in a loose sense - general reading on the destination as well as specifics like flights, accomodation. The longer the trip, the more 'wander and soak it in' days I can allow for.

Before my trip to Peru a couple of years ago I spent many a late night just researching and generally reading about the country. I look back on my photos now, and every time I am reminded about what a great trip it was.
Back before blogging and digital cameras I used to make albums sometimes, which although have been shown to others, were made for myself.

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5 years ago, October 3rd 2008 No: 10 Msg: #50644  
Great topic!

I've almost died twice during my travels - it made me realise that it would be a waste to spend the rest of my life in one place ("destination"), knowing that I have been given chances to keep on living. I'm fascinated by different lifestyles and stories. So that's my motivation for travelling, to experience as much of the world as possible.

My writing and travelblogging comes from both an inner need for attention (I am a slave to my blog stats!) and from not wanting a good story to go to waste ("sharing"): I love to have something to show for my travels. If I didn't write about the people I've met or take photos of the places I've been, then no-one else would know about them apart from me.

I don't think I'm as philosophical as I seem in the first paragraph or as arrogant as I seem in the second - it's just how the words came out!

J Reply to this

5 years ago, October 3rd 2008 No: 11 Msg: #50681  
I can honestly say that I travel for myself and not for the sharing of experiences with my friends and family. I have literally travelled all my life and possibly that is why I love travelling... I grew up with it, I haven't known any different. My parents travelled with us, they lived and worked abroad for extended periods of time and all that has of course rubbed off on the children. I am fascinated by the world, the different cultures, nature, history and everything else.

I don't talk that much with my friends at home about my travels and I can't remember the last time that I actually showed them my travel photos. Partly this is because I know that it can be very boring to have to look at other peoples travel photos and hear the stories about every single photo... If you weren't there it is difficult to bring up the same enthusiasm as those showing you their photos and telling you their stories... And since I know this, I don't 'bother' my friends with it... They actually have to more or less drag it out of me... This has also partly to do with my upbringing though, because my mother was quite aware of the fact that when we were young, what we found normal, the other kids might see as bragging and subsequently tease us about it. So she always told us not to talk about our travels or our life that much, and that has rubbed off and still lingers on.

The reason I put up the travel blog was for my friends and family, they wanted to see some photos while I was travelling. Before that I would send mass mails and before the advent of mass internet I would send nothing to my friends, and my family would get a postcard and a phone call every now and again. The funny thing I find is that all those friends who were bugging me to put up a travel blog so they could see photo's don't really look at my travel blog anymore... The sure as hell don't seem to read my blogs, some look at the photo's...

But I keep on writing the blogs and putting on the photos because this way there will never be that awkward moment, when you are back, that you feel like you should show them your photo's and tell about your travels, and they feel like they should ask about it, while both parties don't really care. Now they can look at my blogs at ease, whenever they want to, don't feel the obligation to have to ask about my travels or the photo's and I have the same... Because when I am with my friends I don't especially feel like talking about what I have done, I want to know what has happened at home and have a couple of drinks and fun... Don't get me wrong, my friends find it great what I am doing, but of course they have their own lives and their own interests. It is hard to keep interested in me and my travels, it is just my life... I have a friend who is playing in a band, that is his life and interest, but he also won't sit a whole evening with me telling about his guitar or new song because I also can't keep the interest going. It will come up, and I will ask about it, and vice versa about my travels.

When I am travelling and with other travellers it is different of course, then there is a mutual interest and I will talk more about it. Just as my friend can talk a whole night about a guitar when he is with other people who are in his business... Though both of us agree that we would get very bored if all we had were friends who were into the same stuff as us and our only topic would always be the same.

Lastly I think I write the blogs for myself mostly, kind of like a diary. Though of course like everybody else it is nice that other people read it and when you get a nice compliment on your blog it is always good for the ego :-)
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5 years ago, October 4th 2008 No: 12 Msg: #50804  
I have a friend who is a psychologist and last week she send me something to read because she is doing research. She wanted me to read it and say how it relates to my love of travel.

It is quite detailed so I will try to sumarise. It explains quite a lot about why travel is so important to me. Apparently there are 10 cathegories where people experience giving and receiving love. If those are not balanced it effects the others and throws a person off balance making that person feel less satisfied. People need to attend to all these cathegories to feel fulfilled. Travel for me provides a means to attend to several of these cathegories and thus makes me more balanced. Of course others have different ways to fulfill these needs.
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5 years ago, October 5th 2008 No: 13 Msg: #50827  
B Posts: 102
Nice drawing. I wish I had some level of artistic ability.

There's joy in the idea of sharing my stories and photos. There's joy in the fact that something I did (and my telling of it) was worth someone's time to read - and often that someone isn't even someone who knows me. And there's some joy in knowing that my travels carry a certain positive status in the opinion of others - though there are some who don't have such a positive opinion.

That being said - those things were not the primary motivation in my travels...but rather are an added bonus.

Quite often I would be going through my experiences with the blog in mind and how I would relate it all through a story. There were also times I wondered if it was reasonable for me to be spending so much time at internet cafes sorting out my photos and writing/editing/re-writing my stories. So at times the blog took over a bit.

In one of my trip summary entries I wrote about that I had the thought at times to take a certain period of my trip off from blogging to see how the experience would differ. In the end, I never could get myself to do it...I always wanted to relay and share the stories/experiences. Did I really want to share...or did I really want the attention that stems from my sharing? I don't know...perhaps some nice therapist will explain that to me some day when my blogging withdrawal has driven me nutty...

In the end though, I don't think the blogging component ever detracted from my experiences. If anything, it made me more reflective, more observant, more purposeful (at times), and perhaps even more adventurous at times. Yay for TravelBlog. Reply to this

5 years ago, October 7th 2008 No: 14 Msg: #51072  
I definitely travel primarily because I love it! I revel in the moment, in the experience, in the excitement of new things, new people, different places. I love the person I am when I travel - more interesting, more daring, more open, simply happy. Especially removed from the material stuff that bogs us down back home.

Does travel afford social status - or does an impressive CV, a few investment properties and a family?

Ego ... perhaps a little? Anyone who has ever met me knows I love telling a tale *grin*. And I'll admit, a posted comment on a blog puts a smile on my face! As Marc said - it's an added bonus!

I think blogging does enhance the experience, rather than detract. I think blogging makes me more motivated to uncover the history, the story and learn something more about the destination.

I'd definitely still travel.

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5 years ago, October 7th 2008 No: 15 Msg: #51090  
B Posts: 102
Ellen - don't worry about that material stuff bogging us all down. Based on the where the economy is going...pretty soon we won't have anything left!

(I say that in jest...I think/hope) Reply to this

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