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What does TRAVEL mean to me?

This why I travel. Just to see such views!

What is Travel? What do you mean when you say you’re a Traveller? Why do you differentiate between a Tourist and a Traveller? Aren’t they the same? I think every traveller including me is often badgered with such questions every once in a while.

When I decided to drop out of college to travel, my parents, relatives, friends and every other Tom, Dick, and Harry were ready with these in their arsenal. Being curious is acceptable, I am happy to answer all the questions to everyone’s satisfaction as long as they are just questions. But, once the switch flips and all the suggestions and unlettered pieces of advice begin flowing, it becomes irritating. 

Here are my responses to some of the questions I was asked and suggestions I was pestered with. Even though each person has his own views and the intricacies may vary, I think every Traveller will agree with what I have to say, considering the bigger picture.

The Questions-

What does TRAVEL mean to you?

For me, Travel is a way of life. It isn’t and never will be just a hobby or my occupation. I travel because it gives me a rather uncommon sense of confidence and the strength to face anything and everything. While visiting different destinations I learn a lot. I continuously keep observing my surroundings which teaches me that we never push ourselves. If a tough decision needs to be made or an obstacle is holding us back, we never look at it from a different point of view. Just the one that we have been gazing through since birth. I don’t want each aspect of my life to be banal. I travel because I CAN and WANT TO, nothing else factors in.

You say you are a Traveller, not a Tourist. What’s the difference? 

Well, one is the north while other is the south. In the words of Paul Theroux, “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going”. The only difference between the two that matters to me is FREEDOM. The freedom to decide where I travel, when I travel and how I do it. No interruptions! As a traveller I give importance to both the journey and the destination. How I got there is just as important to me. I dive into the atmosphere and try my best to become one with the people. A tourist usually has no regard for anyone but himself (It has just been my experience. I mean no disrespect).  As long as his expectations are met, a tourist is happy. Facing challenges while travelling and not faltering is more a traveller’s forte.

How will you make money from Travelling? 

There are numerous ways to earn and travel simultaneously, but for me, Travelling is paramount. Earning money is secondary. I agree that both are related as I can’t do one without the other, but getting off the high horse after the influx begins is almost impossible. Focusing on the financial aspect and pondering about it will surely divert me from my path. I might end up Travelling for money and that would be the saddest, most horrific day of my life.

If by the time this little interrogation is over and you haven’t blown the fuse, consider joining a monastery and becoming a monk (just kidding!). The patience and self-restraint required to stay calm in such situations don’t come to all. Now, on to the suggestions!

The annoying advice-


If you want to travel, join a travel/tour agency. 

It is a good suggestion for those who want to travel for money. But, a job at such agencies isn’t about “just travelling”, other logistical duties and technicalities are to be overseen. Before dropping out, I wracked my brain considering all options and this was one of them. The fact is if I wanted to get into all the management stuff and work a desk job for couple months a year, there was no point in me dropping out of college. A job will never give me the freedom I desire while traveling. Following a strict schedule, visiting the predetermined locations makes me feel confined, and takes away the chance to set out on an adventure and explore.


Travel with a group rather than travelling Solo.

Whenever there are talks about safety while traveling, this suggestion pops up. I appreciate the concern but travelling in a group doesn’t guarantee one’s safety. There are pros and cons to both travel styles, weighing them and choosing one for yourself is your decision. I have travelled with a group and alone as well and I think the latter suits me better.


What does TRAVEL mean to you? What are your thoughts on my responses?


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