The Eternal Wanderer: Why We Travel

It will be big, a revelation, bigger than anything you’ve known before.
You have to go.
It will make sense eventually.

We wake up restless. Our rooms look the same, our lives look the same, even we look the same, but something has changed. We cannot remember. Like a dream that slips through our fingers while we desperately try to hold on to its essence, we can no longer draw the connections. What remains is a feeling: We’re on the verge of something big.

This is the beginning.

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We travel to understand. We don’t know what we’re looking for, but we know there’s something to be found. It may be right in front of our door, or far away in a distant land. It’s not a chase, but an adventure. We know that we may never settle, that an answer only ever makes room for new questions. What grows within us is a desire, a yearning, a passion for truth. There is no end, only new beginnings.

It’s like a curtain’s been lifted and we finally see what could be. We can’t make sense of it completely, but we got a glimpse and we’re striving for more. We wander, we explore, we talk to strangers, and we turn to the stars. We feel small and liberated all at once, and we marvel at a perspective we might have never considered before. Clues are everywhere. People, places, and moments in time. They all relate with one another. And there’s this hunger that’s burning within us.

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Moments are our favorite treasures. We collect them vigorously, carefully storing each one of them on the ever-growing shelves of our memory. We share them willingly. Stories are being told, passed on from one to the other, over generations and cultures, conquering time and spatial limitations, each one making up another piece of the puzzle. We soak them up as we become part of them. How the world shapes us, how we shape each other! There is a bond that links us all.

Not seldom we’ll seek refuge in nature. It’s where our influences are pure and majestic. It’s where we can breathe deeply, a place that measures wealth by diversity rather than the monetary numbers unfolding in our bank accounts. Standing on the edge of a mountain cliff, somewhere far above the valley where our bodies are merely the size of a grain of sand in a desert, we pause to look at the bigger picture. We’re tiny, oh so wonderfully tiny, compared to the world, the universe, and everything that comes thereafter.

Why are we here?

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As we sit on the beach with our feet dug into the wet sand while the sun, a glory fireball, slowly sinks towards the horizon, we let the water’s rhythm flow through our bodies. It rocks us gently. Back and forth, back and forth. No matter how busy our lives are, no matter where we’ve come from or where we’re headed come tomorrow – it is moments like these that put our lives in perspective.
We are so different, we are the same.

Months and years later we look back on how we’ve grown. There’s the Facebook reminder – remember, a year ago you were here, you were this person, and we smile at the same computer screen in a different land, our skin a different shade of tanned, our eyes lit with a different kind of understanding. There’s the letter from a friend we’ve met – until we meet again… I miss you. There’s that moment when we find ourselves alone, lost in nature or a vibrant city, and our path, each step a blurry polaroid, seems utterly surreal. We must be dreaming. Until we remember.

It will be big, a revelation, bigger than anything you’ve known before.
You have to go.
It will make sense eventually.

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