Is there a way to travel correctly?
We're bombarded by a constant stream of curated and edited photos, drafting a fantasy of self-realization and exploration. But travel really isn't what it seems to be. During a photography trip to Iceland during the winterim of my sophomore year, I found that travel equated to people waiting in lines to take a photo; exploration meant trampling over restricted vegetation regrowth areas; and solitude meant crowds and tour buses every 15 minutes followed by a swarm of drones littering the landscape.
Travel is supposed to be an incredible opportunity to learn more about the different perspectives of the world, as well as learn just how small we really are in the grand scheme of things. As such, it's vaunted as a surefire way to simply put, become a better person. On dating apps and profiles we see people saying that they're "well traveled" and "cultured," but really I wonder if their travel is just checking off bullet points on a bucket list of countries. I know that this is a gross generalization and most people are not like this, but as I watched tour bus after tour bus unload in the parking lot, and people line up to take a selfie before piling back into the bus to their hotel - I really couldn't help but wonder. With a selfie-obsessed culture, we're losing the lessons of how small we are in the world since selfies make us the subject of every photo.
It's the hardships of travel that help us grow and realize what we're capable of. From figuring out public transportation in a foreign country in order to make the most of being stranded, to hiking alone in pitch darkness through bear country to photograph the sunrise at the top of a mountain - travel is a chance to break free from the scripted safety of life and convention.
Everyone does seem to drive the same road, seeing the same sights. But a little bit of effort goes a long way. Even a short quarter-mile walk in Iceland to a waterfall resulted in almost complete solitude. I'm nowhere near perfect, but I hope my photography allows me to give back to the world and inspire people to preserve the beauty of nature.
‘Why are you surprised that traveling does you no good, when you travel in your own company? The thing that weighs on your mind is the same as drove you from home.’ … Do you ask why your flight is of no avail? You take yourself along.” - Socrates
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things. air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky. -all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
You realize that a vacation only serves as a dopamine hit of cultural experience, as the built-in time constraints don’t allow you to truly understand the tapestry of a foreign place.
We tend to grossly overestimate the pleasure brought forth by new experiences and underestimate the power of finding meaning in current ones.
Who we are inside a venue matters far more than the venue itself. Instead of having the wanderlust of travel guide our search for meaning, we have to look within and embrace the only thing that is present now. The only thing that actually exists today.
- travel as escapism!
Is it better to travel now or later?
As a college student, the dollar goes quite a ways - I can live frugally, and experience things that have more impact during this impressionable period of my life.
But should I save my money now, or see where it can take me?