THAT TRAVEL MAKES YOU RESTLESS is hardly an epiphany to many who have found themselves back home after a long journey, only to discover that home doesn’t quite fit as snugly as it did before they left. This was a truth I finally twigged to, years late, over a peanut tea somewhere in Addis Ababa. And one that feels as if it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Following the blogs of many long-term travelers, it’s interesting to see how journey after journey slowly come to form an arc of sorts. A broad direction that the travelers themselves are not always aware of until many years later.
When I first went overseas, it was magical, but not a part of any grander scheme. Just an isolated, fun experience of all things new. As time passed, now studying journalism and making arrangements for documentary projects in places I’d never normally have gone, it is clear that the restlessness that came from travel would lead from one journey to another, to wanting to tell stories, to write, and ultimately to journalism.
For others, travel has lead to art – to wanting to describe the strange and the new in images or words. Making readers think about themselves as changing, learning beings.
For some, it’s become an engagement with helping those less fortunate. Beyond ethically-fraught participation in voluntourism, there are many travelers who have been drawn into investing their time and resources heavily into making a difference in places far from home.
Then there are travelers who enjoy the thrill of the extreme, pushing each new adventure a little further than the ones before it. And the travelers who increasingly seek solitude – travel-as-pilgrimage over travel-as-raucous-event.
Maybe, as you travel more and more, it’s just a matter of refining your tastes. Or, looking back, perhaps it was an inevitable spiral to some fulfilling present. Each new experience that you sought out being just a little step closer to something that, when you find it, you realize you were indirectly heading towards in every destination choice and every decision to live a little unconventionally.
So where is it that travel has taken you? And, with the benefit of hindsight, could the long arc that brought you here have ended any other way?