Humans have always had a yearning to explore, a craving to take foot and discover what’s beyond the yonder. The varying treks our predecessors took are depicted by ethnic diversity; as the species spread across the globe, tribes selected to settle in locations they felt favourable to longevity. Human intrepidness has never been quelled, over time animals and engineering made it easier for people to push past their borders and engage with the unexamined.
In modern society it’s often we don’t only take foot but flight. The aeroplane has enabled vast distances to be travelled in relatively short periods of time, enhancing access to foreign lands and providing opportunities to bathe in diversity. Why people travel is subjective, however, there is a ubiquitous urge to escape the mundane, to remove oneself from the disaster of unyielding routine. Exposure to differing cultures can highlight how your view reality isn’t its true edifice, but merely a stencil shaped by your society.
Out Of The Comfort Zone
For those who haven’t wandered further than their home territory it can be truly hard to comprehend what’s occurring outside their domain. In dialogue there is a sense of unfathomability; first of the access they have to these locations e.g. “I wish I could go there” and second, to comprehend what’s actually encountered, essentially relying on imagination to dissect a story.
Arriving in a foreign country can feel like you’ve entered another world; watching the locals behave banally to oddities, awe often overshadows one’s vision. The brunt of culture is imposed when visiting the developing world, and with many comforts stripped away there is customarily an inkling of regret. Humans are adaptive creatures and although the first few days may feel overwhelming, eventually, one acclimatizes to their surroundings.
The sharp shock of culture alleviates us out of our reality and into an alternate realm where, to the inhabitant’s eye, we are nothing more than another tourist. As our time comes and passes community life continues on as if we were never there. Seneca wisely spoke, “Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind”. The more one travels the better equipped they become at accepting and adapting to novelties.
Into The World
Those fortunate get their first international exposure in relative luxury with their parents, however, for the majority, a rucksack and a dorm room accompany the first real sense of travelling.
Backpacking offers an opportunity to meet people from all across the globe participating in the same, although individually altered, experience. It’s the first chance many of us get to compare lives with those we would never known to exist, opening the mind to how paradoxically large yet small the world can be. As it is the first time many travel without supervision it is only fitting that these locations offer sanctuaries to revel with fellow travellers. Naturally, our hedonistic tendencies heighten as a plethora of decadence becomes easily available.
Whilst backpacking one will come across those who elect to travel but feel obliged to only associate with their compatriots. Observing the world with a nationalistic tint, focus centralizes on how contrary and obscure the local traditions are instead of embracing the alien environment.
Exploring a foreign land with an assortment of nationalities is often an excellent way to experience a location. There’s a particular vibe when strolling around an unexamined area with an array of new companions, it is something that makes travel so addictive. This ambiance is amplified by an underlying understanding that you are temporarily occupying the same space and time; you may never meet again, yet, momentarily, you inhabit another’s life experience.
Travellers are more likely to find themselves in interesting circumstances when exploring alone, without the restraint of others we are free to follow the whims of intuition. After completing a backpacking adventure hardship is customarily endured; once the exotic is tasted the appetite is seldom quelled until foreign flavours are savoured again.
In Pursuit Of Authenticity
The tourist and traveller can be contrasted by the way they perceive their trip; the tourist is regimented and counts down, the traveller is free and counts up. Passengers may arrive at the same location but their experience will be completely opposing, the only way to shatter one’s societal lens is to submerge into the novel environment.
While the traveller builds an impressive resume of destinations heading to a location similar to their own appears folly, they crave to be cast into the unknown to uncover what’s yet to be seen.
When a person is fuelled by culture their indulgence becomes tradition; seeking acquaintance with the local lifestyle, they gravitate towards the natives for a glimpse into their reality. Locals consistently present the most genuine and enriching insights, showcasing their homeland how they believe it should be shown. The traveller gets an experience most would not be provided, discovering hidden gems and partaking in activities at the society’s essence.
These encounters illuminate the subtle and lucid differences shaping a culture, noticing the same aspects of one’s own life (family, friends, work, food, socializing) yet how these elements are alternately expressed. Being immersed in different customs offers a newfound familiarity with the world, and when an individual can find relatively in any setting they become a child of it.
Travelling has long been an avenue to alter life’s perception, once consumed by travel the predilection for exploration perennially lingers.
The great multifaceted explorer, Sir Richard Burton, believed departing into unknown lands to be the most jovial moments of human life; those who have found themselves in new destinations with an emphatic grin on their face would tend to agree. The way we examine society is through the constructs bestowed upon a particular patch of dirt, by investigating the globe we are able to remove ourselves from our social prejudices and scribe our own interpretations. If life is a journey isn’t it best to see what’s beyond the yonder?
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