What Does Travel Mean To You?

What Does Travel Mean To You?

By |2016-07-01T15:32:57-04:00August 26th, 2013|Perspectives|60 Comments

What Does Travel Mean To You? (Brasov)

Yesterday evening, I, along with my Wander Across Romania & Moldova tour group, arrived in Brasov, Romania. We checked into our guesthouse, threw our stuff in our rooms and decided to rest for a couple of hours. I ended up turning on my laptop and tried to get some work done, and I managed to reply to quite a lot of emails. At one point, though, I needed a break, so I went upstairs and walked out onto the balcony, a balcony that offers a panoramic view out over the Old City below, set so perfectly at the foot of the mountains, with the massive Black Cathedral so unmissable in the middle of the scene. I took a few deep breaths, inhaling that fresh Prahova Valley air, and before long I realized that, just as one of the members of my Romania tour had already stated within ten minutes of arriving in Brasov, “I could live here.”

And what if I did decide to move and live in Brasov? What if I stayed here permanently, perhaps for the rest of my life? I started thinking about this scenario, and while I knew perfectly well that I wasn’t actually going to move to Brasov for the rest of my life, these questions got me thinking about something else.

If I chose to live in one place all year round, albeit a place overseas, would I still be ‘traveling’?

I then began to think about the months ahead as well. Not only would I be here in Romania and Moldova, but in three weeks I will be heading to the US for a friend’s wedding. Is that traveling or is that just going ‘home’ for an event?

After the US, I’ll be off to India to meet my group for the Wander Across India tour in October. Is that travel? Some might think it’s ‘work’ since I’m leading the group around and not ‘traveling’ as they see it.

From India, I’ll head back to the US to visit my family for a couple of weeks. Again, is that heading ‘home’ or traveling? And after that trip, I’m quite certain I’ll plop down somewhere overseas for a couple of months and not move around much at all.

What is travel?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of travel is: to make a journey, typically of some length.

Some might agree with the simplicity of that definition, others might feel some extra clarification is needed. Either way, I think that definition is vague for a reason. Travel certainly means something different to everyone and whatever it may mean to you, that’s what it means. There is no right answer and naturally, there is no wrong.

Some might think you have to leave your own country to travel or you must be away for a certain period of time. Do you have to be visiting a place for pleasure or can it be for other reasons, such as visiting family or friends or to conduct some business? What if you take a cruise, are you traveling? What if you move overseas or live in one place for six months? What if you go abroad just to work, such as teaching English in a small town in Turkey or working for an international company in Singapore?

While out on that balcony yesterday, right about the time I finished a tall glass of beer, I realized that my own definition of travel is also quite simple.

To me, traveling is just going somewhere, anywhere, whether familiar or new. It doesn’t matter if it’s the next town over, a new country or a continent on the other side of the world. And I personally don’t think it matters if you’re gone for one day or one year or one decade. As long as you have even the slightest interest in the destination you’re visiting, and you’re open to learning about the places you visit and about yourself in the process, I think you’re traveling. It encompasses a great range of experiences, I know, but I personally don’t think the word ‘travel’ warrants a more complicated description.

And now, out of sheer curiosity, I’d be interested to know what travel means to many of you, to read your definitions in their infinite forms, based on your own individual ideas and experiences.

So, what does travel mean to you?

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  1. Divyesh Dagliya October 14, 2015 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Vow, nicely written, good presentation of thoughts and yes good topic too. Keep writing and I will read your blogs

  2. Julie February 21, 2015 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Hello Earl,
    That is the first time I get to have a look at your blog. That’s the first article I read, and it got me thinking as well.
    I have been travelling for some time too. I mean, not as much as you apparently, as I have been around places mainly to work, intern, or study. I did go to countries and cities to visit, when I got the chance.
    The idea of travelling got to me when I was in high school. I was thinking that travelling was the future for us, and that it would be necessary to be able to move around for work for example. But I also thought about travelling as a way to discover, meet new people, and see places that are unknown.
    I mean, travelling is just escaping the everyday life. You travel because you want to see something different, something you don’t know. You want to learn about differences, and stop being stuck in one place.
    Travelling is the freedom of the mind, and of the body. As a European, I saw travelling as something easy, as we can go to many countries in just a couple of hours of plane or a few hours by train. It is that easy to get out, and get in a new territory.
    I think travelling means experiencing, but also being a nomad. It is pretty cool to be able to go to other countries, but sometimes I think about travelling like something exhausting. We you can’t stay in one place for more than a year, have to pack again and again, to deal with transportation, costs, and leaving things and people behind, then it can become overwhelming. But it still is something crucial, something I would not give up for anything or anyone.
    Travelling is being lucky to be able to see something you have never seen before, and that you might never see again. Something that people who are close to you and who don’t have you chance, have the opportunity to travel through you and your memories. It is all about sharing, and I think that is the part that I like the most.

    Travelling is difficult to define. It is so big! But it is something worth doing, right? 🙂
    I loved your post, very insightful.


  3. Andre October 31, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

    Travelling is being open to unusual situations/people to overcome your fears.

  4. Jaryd October 3, 2013 at 6:34 am - Reply

    Such a great question. Obviously travelling is so diverse it could mean to just drive down the road or to fly around the world country hoping for years on end. For me I believe I am truly travelling when I am not settled. If I stay for over 2-3 months in a country I don’t consider myself travelling I would say i am living there for a short period and when I am to move on, that is when i start travelling again.

    For example, if you were to live in Brasov, when you go back to the states i would consider that travelling. However that is just my opinion.

  5. King Casque September 30, 2013 at 8:44 am - Reply

    Hello Earl,

    I recently read your entry (this one) on traveling and I would like to share my idea on what travel means to me.

    The idea of traveling to me is to visit an area, whether local or overseas, that includes areas and activities that you love to see and do. For example, a place where I can call “travel” can be the local Central Catchment Area here in Singapore or as faraway as Kruger Park in South Africa, where I can photograph and record details on wildlife.

    Although I may have never traveled as far as you, I had been able to journey to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and I enjoyed spending hours searching for creatures as small as colugos and parakeets, to creatures as large as monitors and hornbills! Even though I did not wander as far as you, the feeling of me “traveling” is there.

    In conclusion, my idea on traveling is to go to places near or far, meeting amazing new people and things, learning new things and to just, you know, relax.

    Hopefully, I’ll get to travel abroad and go to exotic locations such as Japan, Nairobi, Brazil, Sumatra and many more! I also hope to be as popular as you or any other blogger out there! Hopefully you’ll reply!


    • Wandering Earl October 4, 2013 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      Hey KC – Thank you for sharing your definition of travel. And it makes perfect sense to me. I always think that travel doesn’t have to involve faraway international travel, it can simply involve experiences in your own part of the world as well. I certainly do hope though that you do have a chance to visit the places on your list one day as well!

  6. Salaammok September 24, 2013 at 6:15 am - Reply

    Hi Earl ,
    Traveling Means To Me Is Having A Freedom From Stress .. As If You Just Want To Have A Relax . Just Want Get Our From All The Stress At Work Or Even School . There May Be A Lot Of Differant Answer But Like As What You Say , There is No Wrong Or Right Answer ^^

  7. Keri September 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Obviously you’ve traveled many places around the world, but what about the United States? Have you explored your own country? There is so many beautiful things to see in this country, I’m wondering why there seems to be a lack of interest in traveling in the U.S.

    • Keri September 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Oops, I don’t know why I called you Matt lol. I meant Earl! Must be because I also follow Nomadic Matt’s travel blog. Sorry!

    • Wandering Earl September 21, 2013 at 10:35 am - Reply

      Hey Keri – There’s no lack of interest at all. The thing is that I’ve seen much of the US during my pre-international travel years. I think I’ve been to around 42 states or so. As a result, I now prefer to travel outside the country and see what I haven’t seen yet 🙂

  8. Loz in Transit September 16, 2013 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Travel to me is a state of mind, being outside your comfort zone, exploring and discovering, trying all the flavours of life. It doesn’t need to involve a movement in physical distance, it can be mental.
    I spent 2011 traveling Europe and am currently spending 6 months in South America. Crucially I had a ‘YesMan’ year in 2010 where I made it a point to experience something new and go out everyday and say Yes to everything. I see no distinction between the three. Whilst it seems more exotic to be jetsetting around the globe. Feelings of adventure, being lost and making new friends can start at home. You just need to create the adventure.

  9. Janvi September 13, 2013 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Travel to me is opening my mind to new ideas and possibilities. It is a time for reflection and observation. Seated in a restaurant, how and what does the man sitting at the next table order? I find that when I travel, my mind does not rest. It keeps me curious and on my feet, constantly looking for a new idea to chew on to. I guess everyone relates to a familiar feeling of adrenaline rush of a new place. Having said that, traveling does not mean commuting to me, it actually means displacing yourself for a long-ish period of time till you start to identify with the place, get rid of the initial confusion of cultures and just when that feeling of having settled down, occurs – moving to a new place all over again. Yeah, traveling isn’t merely fun in my mind, it encompasses a lot more things and needs a willing mind above all!

  10. Prince Bhatia September 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Travel to me is a freedom from daily life hassle and regular people. When I travel I get a chance to meet people of different culture and religions which help in understanding their views. The more I travel the more I become greedy to visit different places.

  11. Sarah Coyne September 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    This is an interesting topic, and one that seems to crop up quite a lot amongst travelers; when are we ‘traveling’, when are we ‘home’, and when are we ‘living’? My friend, and fellow travel blogger, Sherrydane Abroad actually wrote a really interesting piece on the topic the other day, after a rather introspective conversation over a pint of beer about ‘how we define home’.

    I personally define travel as movement, perhaps in a rather vague direction, away from somewhere I’ve been. What I actually find harder to define, are the moments when we are not traveling. Particularly when people ask the “Where are you from?” question.

    When people do this now, if I happen to be in the same place as my best friend and traveling translator Tuncay Kurt, his first reaction is always to leap in and tell the naive enquirer “Planet Earth!” – as where I am from is not where I live. Of portuguese, spanish, greek and catalan heritage, born in London, lived traveling around Spain and the UK, and age 17 moved to Brazil – alone. In fact, the longest time I have stayed in one place is Rio de Janeiro in Brazil – and these days I do tend to respond with a vague “I live in Brazil, in Rio”.

    So I ask you Earl, where are you from, and/or where do you live?

    • Wandering Earl September 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      Hey Sarah – I always say I’m from the US, originally from Boston. As for where do I live, I just reply that I’ve been living, working and traveling outside of the US since 1999 and that I don’t actually live in one place 🙂

  12. James Shannon September 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    Wandering around an completely unfamiliar area mapless, taking in the things that capture my attention. Tasting new foods, and allowing the sensations to wash over my tastebuds. To observe people in my destinations go about their daily lives, and trying to imagine myself in their shoes, and what they are talking about, in spite of any language barrier. To float in a tropical sea, as the hot air on my exposed side contrasts with the mild coolness of the azure ocean. All of these are at the heart of traveling for me.

  13. George September 1, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Home is where I pay my rent. That is currently Japan and when I curl up on my futon on the floor I am home. Going back to Wales is travelling to my hometown, and travelling around Japan is just that. If I have a bike and a tent then the tent is my home. Everything else is travel.

  14. Adrienne September 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    I think this is a really interesting question and I have thought a lot about it. I have a full time job and so I only have a few weeks of the year in which I am able to “travel” in the traditional sense of the word, i.e. away from home. So I have to try to travel at home, and capture the same feeling of freedom and adventure that travelling to new places gives me. For me, that is all about being open to new experiences, making a conscious effort not just to fall into familiar routines (e.g. eating or drinking in the same places), and trying to look upon familiar places with fresh eyes. I remember once I saw a couple taking a photo of a bus stop. I scoffed at them a bit as I walked past before I realised that the bus stop displayed a print of Andy Warhol’s Campbells Soup. I had walked past this bus stop every single day without noticing, and I only realised it was there when looking at it from the perspective of people travelling. I now try to keep my eyes open and experience my home as if it was somewhere new. In that way, I can feel as if I am travelling all year round.

  15. Jaunting Jen September 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Travel for me means just getting out of the house and seeing and experiencing something new. I’ve had to put my long term travel plans on hold due to an illness the past two weeks, but yesterday I was able to drive 45 miles to a Civil War Battlefield and Graffiti House. I consider that short jaunt traveling because I was able to get out of the house and see something I have never seen before. To me travel is all about experiencing something new, no matter how big or small.

  16. Maria August 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Travel – for me it’s all about the metaphorical “grass.” Do they have grass there? What color is it, what’s the texture, how does it smell, who eats the grass?

  17. Saskia August 29, 2013 at 10:09 am - Reply

    I think this is something that comes to mind for everyone. The answer is that what travel means differs with each and every person. We might agree with one another on a definition but in general we all have our own…theory?
    Mine is that the technicality of where we are doesn’t count for much, it’s more home is where your heart is and if your hearts in your shoes you’ll be traveling everywhere you set foot. More or less. I have three places in the world I call ‘home’ now after traveling only a year.

  18. Monnette August 29, 2013 at 8:28 am - Reply

    People or individuals are what give travel meaning. To some, it’s feeding their curiosity of what they’ve heard or read about. To others, it’s simply trying out new things the way others do it. Still, there are others who travel to broaden their networks. Personally, it’s about getting lost and being a stranger. That way, I keep both feet on the ground but my sights reach far beyond the horizon.

  19. Joanna Kwong August 29, 2013 at 3:39 am - Reply

    Hi Earl!

    I don’t think we should define travel with a quantified amount of time, or what experience they seek. To each their own =). I live a rather nomadic life but can’t take in too many surreal experiences at once, I’ll burn out. I move around and settle down for a few months to a year then go again.

    We can probably all agree that generally, travel makes the world a better place. As long as we do it responsibly with an open mind, then it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to define what travel really means!

  20. Peter Santenello August 29, 2013 at 2:33 am - Reply

    Great post! I have just come across your blog for the first time; I think I’ll subscribe. I like your philosophical approach; it got me thinking while I burn up in my house because the fires in Yosemite National Park are killing the O2….

    For me there are many answers to this question, “What does travel mean to you,” but right now travel means understanding, or questioning geopolitical situations. For example parts of the world that make the news, i.e. Syria seemed distant and interpreted in a certain color before I went there. Now that I have friends there, memories, and a better understanding of the complexity of the place, the mainstream media looks a bit silly and under equipped in telling its story.

    Travel is the great leveler of black and white. I’d love to have a beer with you since you’ve been on the road so long and I’m sure have much to say. Enjoy Brasov!


  21. Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap) August 28, 2013 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Hey Earl!

    Brasov is the place that gave me my travel bug. I went there in 1989 before the revolution. I was 13 at the time and went skiing with my school. I would love to return one day and find my crazy ski instructor who plied us with schnapps every morning!!

  22. Peggy August 28, 2013 at 2:00 am - Reply

    This is a tricky one… travel is different for each of us. For some it’s a vacation, in a resort by a beach, all expenses paid. For others it’s not *travel* unless it involves some degree of risk, lots of unidentifiable food and a completely incomprehensible language. I think we each define travel for ourselves.

    For me – travel is about getting to know a place, taking time, having local experiences, immersion in sights, sounds, and smells, learning a language, losing your way, making new connections, finding a rhythm, fostering understanding, returning again, slipping into new lives – if only for awhile. Travel, for me, is the infinite whatever.

    I explore the reasons why I travel here: https://takingtotheopenroad.com/the-infinite-whatever/

  23. Peter Christmas August 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    I think the word travel could be more complex to a traveller, like the Eskimos have 48 words for snow so the traveller should have varying degrees of travel.

    Back in the 1980’s I use to travel for 6 or more months every year, I would work all hours in my brother’s café in summer and take off somewhere warmer in Winter. I would do a bit of work while away if needed, a moshav/kibbutz, or some labouring like apple picking in New Zealand which no only helps the finances it is a great way of meeting locals on their own terms. In these times we just wanted to distinguish ourselves from holiday makers as we would try to blend in with the locals rather then expecting to find the things enjoyed at home. I did the first 6 months with 3 other friends but in later years I use to like travelling alone as it was the only way to really get to know locals and other travellers as it made you open to be approached where as being with someone you seemed to miss everything by sitting together in bars and restaurants. Some times it is cheaper to get a room when there are two of you but on the whole it was ok I would often find a free place to doss down like a beach or an old building or toilet block. Not sure it is so easy today but in the 80’s when I was in my 20’s it didn’t bother me, in Australia in 4 months I only paid for 1 night in Canberra in a youth hostel, most of the other times I was camping in National parks or with friends, as a come stay with me when you are in England sort of arrangement.

    Now I have a house and a wife it is not easy to go travelling so we take holidays which I didn’t think I would ever do 30 years ago but things change, maybe I will go travelling again when we retire, again this could be in a very different form as I don’t think I would be sleeping rough anymore. I love the idea that with the internet you could earn as you travel nowadays, my wife and I are web designers working from home anyhow so it doesn’t actually matter that much where we are based.

    I agree going back to places you have enjoyed makes a lot of sense and as you say you always find new things to you may have missed first time and things change. The old adage about never going back to place in case it is not so good should be ignored, if you enjoyed seeing first time it is often even better next time as you know what to expect. Of course seeing new countries is always very exciting and I would often go without any pre planning as I found following the old ‘on a shoestring’ books were pretty good but you would then tend to follow a well trodden trail of other travellers with the same book going to the same places. So not having any guidebooks helped to take a unique path and there were always local tourist offices if you wanted to check if there was anything special in the area.

    Travelling is wonderfully complex, from hitch hiking, motor bike, trains, boats, planes they are all interesting and doing some work, staying put or moving on they are all just part of the wonderful tapestry of life and travel. I believe my 10 years of travelling taught me more then my 10 years in school and I learnt to relate and get along with people from all over the World so I think it was the best thing I ever did.

    Happy wanderings Earl I look forward to reading your stories for years to come and maybe one day I will meet you on the road and exchange some more views with you

  24. Pamela August 27, 2013 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    I ever pondered about this question too! If you move away from your original home and move somewhere semi-permanently, does it count as travelling or going back.

    Given that I have been living on a dot on the map my whole life, to me travelling is getting anywhere with my passport being stamped.

  25. Chris August 27, 2013 at 6:34 am - Reply

    The beauty of travel abroad is, that it has enhanced my appetite to see more of my own country as well (for a long time I never considered this ‘real’ travel).

    It’s now with excitement that I look forward to getting over to Ningaloo Reef or the Kimberley, where once it would have just been a poor substitute to a trip abroad.

    Travel has also given me a great appreciation for how big my home (Australia) truly is, as New Zealand aside, nowhere is closer than a 6 hour plane flight from here in Melbourne.

    It really is a wonderful world!

  26. Stephen August 27, 2013 at 5:07 am - Reply

    Oddly I was talking about this a few weeks ago with Kent of http://www.thedromomaniac.com and referenced your site in the discussion (specifically the ‘days on the road’ counter). I tend to agree that time in the US, even in your hometown when you’ve been gone for a long time, can be ‘traveling’ in the sense of exploring with new eyes. If that can be the case at home, then how could you possibly discount anywhere else on the planet?

  27. Elizabeth August 27, 2013 at 12:07 am - Reply

    I began a slow travel about a year ago. I drove cross-country to the SF Bay area, but within a week went down to San Luis Obispo for a work-trade opportunity. I spent 3 or so months there before coming back to the Bay Area, where I’ve been for 6 months. I still live nomadically – about two-six weeks in one place through housesitting, work-exchanges, etc., and camping in between – but have chosen to see each location I visit slowly. I love it. I have enough time here to find all the best spots for food, music, attend local festivals and art shows, and enough of a base to explore all the funky spots of the surrounding cities and the beautiful nature so close by. I plan to use this same mode of travel when I head to South America in January.

  28. InaFD August 26, 2013 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Funny, I was thinking about my ‘could-have-been’ life and asked myself, do I want to settle in one place, abroad or in my home country, or do I want to be on the road constantly? I realized I want both: to have a place I call home but have the opportunity to take trips several times in a year. So I guess traveling for me is leaving my home for a period of time while knowing I have a permanent place to return to.

    Thanks Earl!

  29. debbie ann August 26, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    great question, and one I feel like other people aren’t asking. We move and travel at the same time. There is no “home” to go back to. We tend to live somewhere about a year and then move/travel to a new place. We also take trips from where ever we are living. There are many questions I have a hard time answering – where are you from? how long will you be there? is this a trip or are you moving there? I feel disconnected from many people because they are more concerned w things that involve living somewhere for a long time. I’m not exactly travelling – I think of it as nomadic living.

  30. ann richardson August 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    travelling to me is movement….physically,emotionally and energetically.
    travelling down the street is travel if i am open to that journey….travel to different cultures is a big movement within myself that offers me access to different parts of myself….ahhh its challenging,fun,ordinary and sometimes scary Ax

  31. Lan Hoang August 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” – That sums up pretty much what travel means to me, so regardless of going back to my home country, going to another town or venturing to other side of the city could be an adventure or a form of travel for me. It also depends on what experience you choose or seek with each trip 🙂

    • Wandering Earl August 29, 2013 at 3:09 am - Reply

      Hey Lan – That’s as good of a description of travel as I’ve seen. It matches what I believe as well.

  32. Raz August 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    I find myself very close to Kle’s, the previous, definition of travelling. I come alive when I move, I come more alive when I’m going to a place I’ve never been before and even more alive when that place is farther or a new country or continent. It is a mix of moving a new that I call travelling. For me it’s mostly an experience of the senses… the very first thing I notice when I land in a new place is a mood, an atmosphere … then it starts getting more concrete, for the eyes or for the mind and so on.

    On the other hand… the complete opposite hand I would say 🙂 India and Nepal changed completely my definition of travelling. I found it much more rewarding just sitting put in the same place and doing as little as possible than running aroung trying to see and try all sorts of things that come with a new country. I fet that that I understood much more about their culture and way of living doing that, namely nothing, than running around through that huge country with so many “attractions”.

    So from cultural/discovery/learning new stuff about the word and yourself point of view travelling pretty much means “when in Rome, act like the romans” and some times this means doing absolutely contrary that any guide book or traveller would tell you.

    Or at least it does for me…

  33. Kle August 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    After 17 years far away from home, for me traveling means going from point a to point b. There is of course the discovery of a new place but i never feel more alive or satisfied than when im on the road, looking at the infinite sequence of landscapes from my window seat. That’s why i don’t like planes and i take buses and trains whenever possible. When im moving phisically my senses are sharpened and my mind is clearer than ever. It feels like i’m moving both inside and outside. A difficult feeling to explain really. Travel is a movement of the soul for me. Without that i find it “empty”.

  34. Owen Lipsett August 26, 2013 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Great question Earl! I was just talking to a friend yesterday about my own tendency to seek to think like a local person (and not move around that much) when I come somewhere for a stated purpose, as opposed to my tendency to try to see a lot while “traveling.” Even (or perhaps because) of living abroad in Ireland for four years and Korea for two years I’ve probably gone out of my way to see new locations only a half dozen time in each one, because my focus has been on getting to know them by staying put. I wouldn’t call that not traveling though.

    So between my conversation with my friend and your post, maybe my definition of travel has to do with trying to explore and understand places as opposed to trying to see myself as part of them. What this makes me think is that really our best self is being open to things, rather than trying to shape them to us and us to them. So maybe that’s my definition of travel, being open to new things and not attached them.

  35. Sam August 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    I love your definition, Earl. Nice and simple!

  36. katie August 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    I think the word travel, can encompass anything. You can travel down the street, or you can travel around the world. It doesn’t really matter what the word means, I think it just matters about how you feel about it.
    I think a bigger question might be, when was the last time you took a vacation?
    From my understanding, a vacation is doing something different than your usual routine for a while so you can be refreshed. It could be something that is very relaxing, OR it could be something stressful (but hopefully exciting). As long as it breaks the routine, it IS somewhat of a vacation.
    So here’s somewhat of an ironic question, (Ironic because you do for a living what most people do for vacation) When was the last time you had a vacation? lol

    • Wandering Earl August 29, 2013 at 3:04 am - Reply

      Hey Katie – I took a vacation last summer when I went to a town called Ulcinj, Montenegro for 10 days, strictly to be offline and relax and nothing else. I didn’t partake in any activities apart from going to the beach, reading and sleeping and it was exactly what I needed at the time…might need another one in a couple of months!

  37. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go August 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    I think of travelling as an impermanent state: You’re planning to go, you’re en route, you’ve arrived, you’re visiting, you’re leaving (and maybe en route to the next destination)… There are as many ways to travel as there are people: moving rapidly from one destination to another or, my preferred way, slow travel where you get a chance to catch your breath, meet people and take in the sights and surroundings. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go

  38. Christian August 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    And happy 5,000 consecutive days on the road this Sunday, Earl.

    • Wandering Earl August 29, 2013 at 3:04 am - Reply

      Thank you Christian…I didn’t even notice that myself!

  39. Christian August 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    It’s to return to where I come from—either intermittently or permanently—and see it with new eyes.

  40. Julio Moreno August 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    I have been wondering the same thing. I live in South Korea and have been here for 4 years. Is this traveling? I really don’t feel like it is, so I was surprised when I was asked to do a post about my travels of “living abroad.” I think ever since I did that post about my experiences here, I have to agree with you. It is almost a state of mind, even if it is just the town over. Of course, there is a bigger rush if it is a city or country that is completely new…and like always… the more different the better. But overall, I agree that it is definitely up to a person to decide, as long as you are willing to GO SOMEWHERE.

    BTW, these wandering earl tours are something I have dreamed of being in charge of myself some day…maybe when I get to as many countries as you.
    I am curious though, do you visit a new country with the groups, or do you already have info of the place?

    • Wandering Earl August 29, 2013 at 3:05 am - Reply

      Hey Julio – All of my tours are to countries that I am already very familiar with.

  41. jonnt August 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Very good question – I had to write a paper on the definition of “tourist” and “immigrant” once; and it’s a similar sort of dilemma. Even words such as “to live” become a little unclear – how long do you have to spend somewhere for you to “live” there?

    A similar question is “holiday” vs. “travelling”. I’m currently doing a three-week trip around Eastern Europe (I’ll be in Brasov myself before long, but am currently in Belgrade!) – and some people have said that I’m “on holiday”. But “holiday” is the last word that comes to mind for me!

    Interesting post, Earl.

  42. Jonny Blair August 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    It’s up for debate Earl that’s for sure. I consider myself as having been travelling for 10 years now, mostly because I have never stayed in the same place for longer than 4 months during those 10 years without at least going away for a few days to another city, town or country. I left my home country (Northern Ireland) in 2003 and have been travelling ever since. Until I become completely stationery in one place, I will always be a traveller. However in those 10 years, I have used 5 places as my “base” at points, including one town in England where I spent a lof of time in between my backpacking jaunts. Though even while at those bases, I was always away travelling any time off work I had! Another way I look at it is someone who doesnt have a set mortgage/flat etc. I could move anywhere I want at the drop of a hat. Safe travels. Jonny

  43. Erin August 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    That’s a great question! I’ve lived away from “home” for so long that I do call it traveling when I go visit. But I also call it going home. I don’t call it traveling when I go to places that are a mere 2-3 hours away by car. Living in Los Angeles, if I go to the other side of downtown it’s like I’m traveling since it’s a completely different culture there. I agree with your definition of travel. For me, apparently, a better question might be “what does home mean to you.”

    • Wandering Earl August 29, 2013 at 3:06 am - Reply

      Hey Erin – That is a good question about the meaning of ‘home’. I’ve asked myself this all the time and don’t really have a concrete answer. I always say I’m from Boston in the US even though I rarely go there any more and most of my family and friends have moved away, but it’s where I grew up and I don’t really have any other place to ‘hold onto’ I guess.

    • Wandering Earl August 29, 2013 at 3:08 am - Reply

      Hey Erin – That’s a good question about the meaning of ‘home’. I’ve asked myself this all the time and don’t really have a concrete answer. I always say I’m from Boston in the US even though I rarely go there any more and most of my family and friends have moved away, but it’s where I grew up and I don’t really have any other place to ‘hold onto’ I guess.

  44. Andreas August 26, 2013 at 11:59 am - Reply

    For me traveling is discovering new things and new places. I like to find out how life is in different places. What is part of every day routine. Understand why people do what they do especially when it is very different to what I already know. It can also be I travel more then once to the same place because I like learn more about the place and people.

    Traveling is lot about learning and with that extending my horizon and my cultural understanding.

  45. Petra August 26, 2013 at 11:53 am - Reply

    I used to think that “travelling” meant going abroad and didn’t take any of the trips within my own country seriously. But I’ve changed my perspective on this a little since having travelled to the DPRK. I now realize how lucky I am to just be able to take a train and go to a different city whenever I feel like it. So now, I see this as “travelling” as well. Even if it’s on business, or to see family.

    And maybe my view of the difference between travelling and living somewhere is simplistic, but I think as soon as you rent an apartment and stay somewhere for a month or longer, you live there, and if you’re still in a hotel or any other kind of temporary accomodation, you are travelling.

  46. Lars Zeekaf August 26, 2013 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Traveling is what every person makes of it. I see ”life” it self as a journey, that may be your whole life in your home country, but you did things, learned things, met people along the way (your life, your journey, your travels). So life is one big ”travel”, if that is on the other side of the world, or in your home town, village with no more then your friends and family. To me it is exploring, a life lesson and educate myself with new cultures and people, where ever on this planet!

  47. shubhajit August 26, 2013 at 11:47 am - Reply

    (To me) traveling or in general anything without an objective is a futile effect. Traveling undoubtedly opens us to a broader perspective of life, to understand new dimensions of life, which otherwise quite difficult to explain. It also means socializing in an educated way (solo traveling), but in the end there must be a fixed objective that always adds certain juice in wandering.

    You are wanderer in true sense, seeing lots of people, variety of landscapes, so you’ve obviously found something that motivates you to travel for such a long time. Personally, traveling in a way a spiritual experience where I think less of my material perspective and more on Self. This is very complicated in a sense from a third angle view, but simple when I travel alone.

    This is not so simple subject to deal with. It takes a whole spectrum of the individuality to really understand ‘Why Travel?’

  48. Misty August 26, 2013 at 11:32 am - Reply

    I think there’s a difference between vacationing and traveling. I’ve done both. I’ve taken paid-time-off at work, tooled around Europe or Egypt or Mexico for a few weeks, then come back and settled back into my home, with apartment and job and friends waiting for me upon my return. That, to me, is a vacation. I’ve also given it all up…quit the job, left the apartment, sold all my stuff, and just went until the money I’d saved ran out. That, on the other hand, is travel. There has to be some amount of letting go of what is at home in order to really be fully engaged and immersed in the places you visit. At least that is what I think.

  49. Wil @ Where's Wil August 26, 2013 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Travel to me is about new experiences and new memories. Surrounding yourself with something unfamiliar and gaining a new perspective.

    Travel is my life. =]

  50. Alex Baldwin August 26, 2013 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Interesting topic. I myself will be staying put in Bangkok for the next 4 months, but I still see myself as ‘travelling’ as I’m not at home. My girlfriend and I have decided to live in the cheaper cities and holiday to the more expensive ones for now, but we are still going to be hopping around SE Asia.

    Travel to me is being mobile. I’d still classify myself as a traveller if I lived in Ireland for a while, and my home country is right next door!

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