07 October 2010

Importance of Travel

There are several important aspects of traveling. Consider traveling for the sake of traveling, that is leisure or vacation. The whole process is one we often take pleasure in. There is great excitement in planning the trip. The anticipation as a whole is almost satisfying. There is of course the pleasure we get by reaching and exploring the destination, and there is also pleasure in returning, sharing stories, and reflecting on the experience. However nice it might be to travel for leisure, there are further reasons to travel and ones that weigh on the instrumental value of travel. As we are plan to do in this class, traveling can be a means of education. Its not just an academic education either. In many travels one educates himself on culture and history. The academic value of the trip to Italy is substantial, but nonetheless many of the lessons could be taught in the classroom. With that, however, there are many experiences we cannot know without going there. To hear authentic Italian, experience the cuisine, live a european lifestyle (though only for a short while), and see some of the greatest art in history first-hand, each one of these aspects cannot be duplicated in any other way. Each pertains to the culture and history of the region, and represent important reasons for travel.

Time in reflection, thought, or solitude also makes a case for traveling. As Petrach points out, one can see traveling as an analogy for life's journey. It is a time we can reflect on the importance of the self, focus on our thoughts, and gain a greater awareness of who we are as individuals. Carrying a journal while we tour Italy will be usefully for this reason. In our time alone looking at art, sitting on the train, or just at night before bed, we can reflect on what we learned about ourself in the day, and how being in a different culture brings out new ideas and a greater appreciation of the self.

There is no right or wrong way to travel, just as long as you learn and experience something new along the way. If traveling to another country or city, the method may not always be important. Whether one travels by car or plane to New York will likely have an impact on the overall goal of the trip. There are likely goals within the city that reflect the importance of how one travels. For instance, if one travels by bike of by foot through Central Park, then there may be a difference. If you're looking to enjoy the trip, then hiking and experiencing the entirety of the park is a much better way to go. By bike you would miss the essence of the park, and when you reach the end you might feel empty or less satisfied. Think of earning a degree. If one can get passing grades by doing the bare minimum, then one might be relieved when graduating, but will soon realize he missed out on the importance of education in general. But one who struggles along the way, and takes time to learn all the material will be much more fulfilled and satisfied with the experience.


This site is by the US Department of State. It answers about every question one might have about traveling. I've turned to it many times for information and its about the most reliable resource. The information is current and relevant and everyone should take a look if you haven't traveled much before. There's everything from how to stay safe to what you can and can't take on an airplane.

To continue with the New York theme, a picture from my trip two weeks ago, and undoubtedly my favorite place to visit in all the world, Yankee Stadium!

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