September 30, 2015

The Travel Hoax

"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked; it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Franz Kafka

There are a few things the global travel industry doesn't want you to know. Things like you can find everything you need right where you are, or very few humans will ever travel, or the grass is not greener anywhere else.

The travel industry is like any other - they will say and do whatever they have to in order to get people to part with their pesos. This includes advertising, propaganda, social pressure and shaming. Anything to get a piece of the trillion dollar per year global travel pie.

Over the past few decades the industry has spent large to create a narrative in which all humans for all time have always yearned to be somewhere else. As the story goes, it is always better to be anywhere except where you presently happen to be.

If you don't travel, or want to travel, there is something wrong with you.

Don't get me wrong - I have traveled in my life and enjoyed it a great deal. But it is hardly a pre-requisite to being a good person or having a fulfilling life.

"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." - Carl Jung

Some say that travel is an education unto itself, and it can be when approached as a learning experience rather than just a diversion. But just as it is possible to pass through school and learn very little, one can have traveled and not learned from the experience.

When spending money is the goal, our focus is always directed outward and away from ourselves. The answers are always over there. But in order to really figure this life and our place in it, we have to go the other way. We have to go within.

Our inner space cannot be commodified, which is why we mostly ignore its existence, or the rewards of plunging its depths right where we are at.

The secrets of our selves, and the universe, are in us and freely available. They can be revealed to anyone willing to live consciously and turn their attention away from trinkets, baubles and other distractions.

Everything you need is right at home. Right in your area, your neighbourhood, your mind.


  1. The latest travel advert I heard said: "you are where you travel". Hogwash. I travelled quite a lot before my health deteriorated, and I am glad for it and I enjoyed it (despite getting food poisoning in Africa ;) ), but my biggest life lessons, and the most valuable have been learnt at home. Norwegians are crazy about travelling, especially to warmer countries for swimming and sunshine. If you don't travel people think you are really boring. Question is, what most people actually get out of a journey - other than a tan. Pam

    1. Tans are not good for you. So all you get out of it could be skin cancer. Northern winters can be pretty harsh though. Birds fly south for a reason. If only we could make travel less damaging to the environment. If only we could fly ourselves.

  2. Travel can be wonderful and I have done my fair share but, as I read somewhere some years ago, I try to live my life in a manner that is simple and joyful so that I don't feel the need to take vacations to get away from it.

    1. Yes. Better to "want" to travel than to "need" to travel.

  3. I've traveled very little in my life. I'll admit there was a time I longed to see other places, especially wild places, if there's one thing my illness has taught me is to be content where I am. Recently that means in my own little room, but my mind is an endless expanse of adventure.

    1. Chronic illness can be a bummer, and I am sorry that your life has been touched by it. Having said that, we see Linda's illness as a blessing in disguise that has affected our lives in some very positive ways.

      And a lot can happen in your own little room. The most important things I need to do can be done from home, if I am courageous enough to take them on. That self awareness can be scary, which is probably why people want to get away as often as they can. We run away from ourselves, others and the truth.

      When you can no longer run it is either denial or confrontation. It is a brave soul to take on one's demons, warts and all.

  4. Thanks for that post! Makes me feel less like a freak of sorts.

    I never really wanted to travel, and I felt odd and as if something was wrong with me because everyone else always wanted to travel and went on vecation to far-away places. It comes up in conversations with new people (especially if you do online dating) where you want to go, if you could and so on, where you have been, how often you travel and so on. And I always feel like the odd one. First I made up that I wanted to travel to India (it is so far away, it would never be possible I thought) but now I just say I don't need to travel or I say I travel when I read books (which is not a lie at all!).

    Thruth is I like being home, I like the nature that is right here. I go to visit my family and that's my vecation trip away from home. I think it is curious we seem to measure happiness with how much we get to travel each year, and I wonder how many would rather stay home?

    I have travelled though. I've been to visit friends in different european countries (I live in scandinavia) and I've travelled with friends. It made sense to me because I got to see where friends live and share some adventures with them. I loved those trips, I treasure the memories.

    One friend is travelling south during wintertime and I understand why scandianavians have that longing toward sunnier places, I too miss the sun during the three long dark months. She comes back with more energy. It is just not the solution for all of us.

    I'm sure some people love and learn and grow from travelling. We are different, some are like migrating birds and some grow deep roots, and that is good.

    Best wishes

    1. I think if you feel like a freak it means you are definitely doing something right.

      I love the crows where I live because they don't migrate. They stay year round and tough it out, and they are among the smartest creatures on Earth.

  5. Shaming is very common. People always laugh at me when I say I don't go anywhere when I take vacations from work. Sometimes I just say I don't have to go anywhere because I don't have to escape my everyday life. I didn't travel much in my life. In my whole life in the past 29 years I was only once when I was 10 years old kid on vacations at sea. Thats all. When I was kid parents were too poor to go anywhere, now I have money but I don't feel the need to travel at all. I'm stay-at-home, homebody person and I don't feel ashamed of it.


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