Submitted by: Carlineyq Hathorn
The word travel always has to do with moving, or going from one place to another. It was Ulysses who said: ‘I cannot rest from travel: I will drink life to the lees.’ Those words capture how journeying inspires interest and zest in life. That is not true of all people because some are happiest staying in one place.
Migration is one big reason for trekking. Animals migrate in order to survive, following food sources as they become available. Human beings migrate usually because of social and political factors that force them to move. In such cases travel can be painful. People may walk, or travel on whatever comes to hand, clutching the few possessions that they can take with them. However, some travel deliberately to new countries in search of safer or more prosperous lives.
In big cities people move continuously, in and out and around, going about their work. The vast cities of the world, like Beijing, London and Paris depend upon movement. It is like the blood coursing through veins and when travellers stop the city seems to sleep. Millions of people leave home in darkness and return every day in darkness. Transport is the huge industry that enables all the movement that is the hum of city life.
Many of the reasons for travel have been eliminated by communication technology. Emails and videos can replace the one-to-one communication and transmission of messages that used to entail travel. However, the numbers of travellers keep rising. Perhaps once it is in the blood people become like Ulysses who cannot rest from journeys.
In the business world globalization provides many reasons for inter-continental flights. So popular is business flying that there is now much demand for private jets which eliminate most of the discomforts of flying for those who can afford it. It could just be possible that journeys could be a way of getting away from the hum drum for a while but one would be hard put to find a business person who would agree with this.
Most business people are not in the higher echelons where they can take trips at company expense. Instead they are tied to work stations where they may dream about places like Bali or Thailand where they can lie beneath the sun and let sea breezes waft across their bodies.
One of the earliest pieces of English travel writing is ‘Canterbury Tales’ published around 1400 by Geoffrey Chaucer. Himself an enthusiastic traveller, Chaucer makes no bones about the fact that pilgrims, ostensibly going to Canterbury to worship, are actually on a fun trip and using the pilgrimage as an excuse to have some fun. That fun is in meeting new and interesting people.
Leisure travel still gives those same opportunities to experience new and interesting places. In a world that has become something like a global village people fly from one end to another and back again, happy to meet people from opposite ends of the earth. They find that the can appreciate differences and enjoy what they have in common.
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