I have been busy congratulating myself for a deep an insightful response to the above article by the talented Zat Rana, a writer/philosopher and prolific Medium poster who I follow and admire. The concluding sentence of Zat’s article read “The point of all this has nothing to do with finding yourself. It’s about what you, as a temporary traveler, can do to lose what you don’t need.” My response is posted in italics below.
“It’s even better if you don’t make it about “you” at all, but instead about the people you are traveling with and/or the people you see and meet on the road. This is where the true joy of travel comes from. Seeing and interacting with other people whom you would normally not have the opportunity to encounter, and observing the people you love as they respond in new and interesting ways to situations and environments that are unknown to them. Too many people worry and obsess over how any particular activity they may choose to engage in will impact their own lives. How it will make them better or more interesting or more (insert good thing) and less (insert bad thing). Self improvement is a worthy goal but it cannot be, and should never be and end in and of itself. Especially with an activity as other human interactive (even if only observation) as travel it is imperative to not lose sight of that. Focus on that and you will find what are you are looking for and lose what you no longer need.”
Deep right? Insightful yes? The more I thought about what I wrote in that response though, the more it struck me just how silly the whole thing really was. This idea that there needs to be some sort of point to travel, that I actually would spend more than ten to twenty seconds of my time contemplating the deeper meaning of travel in my life. Why does there always have to be a deeper meaning? Couldn’t the answer just be, I like to travel because it is fun, or I like to travel because it is the only way I get a chance to spend time with my friends? Then just drop it. No deeper meaning, no wrenching exploration of the depths of my soul as I search for what it is that makes me, me. No brain melting re-imagination of what my life could have been. Just because I think it is fun and I like to spend time with my friends. “The real discovery is the one which enables me to stop doing philosophy when I want to” said the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. I think he would very much appreciate my discovery here. That’s valuable enough I think.