Some Thoughts on the Value of Travel

in #travel6 years ago

Living out of a tent and travelling for almost a month now, I've been thinking about the value of travel (among many other things).

Finding balance with technology

As someone who generally spends a lot of time at my computer working on projects, the feeling of being away from my computer has been strangely pronounced. As much as I love the woods and exploring new places, the feeling of separation from technology has at times been hard to ignore. It's not something I would necessarily like to admit, but I think its important to address.

While my primary source of income is online trading and investing, obviously computers are a necessary tool of the trade. I've been amused by the dialogue in my head between the side of me that wants to enjoy nature freely versus the side of me that feels anxiety that I might be missing out on a trade or important piece of news. I'm left with the feeling that its important for me to find a better balance between being connected with technology and being connected with the physical world and people around me.

What’s necessary versus what’s discretionary.

I don't consider myself someone who is overly dependent on physical belongings to feel comfortable, but even so, travel has a way of further refining what's really necessary versus what is superfluous. An idea that keeps coming back to me is:
'We are often possessed by the things we possess.'
While physical items can by practical, nostalgic, inspiring, or beautiful, sometimes things we own contribute to clutter in our physical surroundings and also carry an unnecessary psychological weight. Travel can help us simplify our lives and remind us what is good and useful and allow us to part with things that are not.

Break from physical and mental routine

Routines can be a very positive thing, especially when it comes to building good habits and self-discipline; however, through travel I'm reminded that I often fall into mental and physical routines that lean more on the spectrum of passing time than bringing about something tangibly positive. For example, the routine of constantly checking a cell phone (or stock quotes) rather than allowing myself the 'blank space' to gather thoughts or engage more with what or whom is around me comes with an opportunity cost.

Ability to analyze things from a distance

Lastly, travel helps us get outside of our everyday life and analyze things from a distance. It can help solidify the path that we are on or show us that we need a change of direction. It gives us a good vantage point to assess relative merits of what we are doing versus what we could be doing or incorporating into day-to-day life.