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?
(Travel Tip – Over the past few days, I’ve received several emails asking which airfare search engines I personally use at the moment, so I thought I’d pass my experience along to everyone. This year, I have almost exclusively used Vayama.com, simply because they’ve consistently offered the cheapest fares no matter where I’ve been flying, often showing flights that other search engines don’t display. I’ve become a huge fan and for those who have met me in person lately, you’ll know that I always mention Vayama if the topic of flights ever comes up. Well worth checking out in my opinion.)