Transportation > Reasons >
Why do we travel? The challenge  

Travel can be difficult, but difficulties are of both physical and psychological types. The physical challenge can be from exertion, as from mountain climbing or exhaustion from a long trip with middle of the night transfers. Psychological challenges can be of the purely logistical type - reading timetables in foreign languages and coping with official procedures whose irrationality is different than the irrationality of your own government.

Those are worthy challenges, but the core of travel's challenge is the mental one of going someplace others are afraid to go. So many are afraid to go almost anywhere - they've read of a death there ten years ago, or an illness near there and refuse to consider a trip.

The risks of staying put are always ignored compared to the risks of travel, and so one can be braver than 99% of humans by traveling someplace without even the risk of jail or combat.

I've climbed Angels Landing in Zion national park (photo at left) and I spent a week in El Salvador during the civil war. The former was much riskier, but the latter was a greater challenge and affected me much more.

Returning after facing and overcoming a challenge does put you in a different place and so when you return, you are not back in the same place you left, it looks different. You are different, you've breathed a different quality of air, you stand a little taller and you are - for a time - a little more noble and generous.

For another exortation to accept the adventure of normal travel, see this page on my Plaka web site.

Updated 12/28/03; © 2003 John P. Nordin