Am I too biased from all the travelling stories I hear and see around me? Including mines?
I’ve been asking myself this question ever since I came back from my one-year stay in Lebanon. A decade ago, travelling was, you know, nice, if you could afford it, and “go adventure”, “travel to open your mind” were somewhere in the back of the internet. But with the rise of Social Media, Facebook, blogs and everything else, people had more room to share their travelling experiences, travelling companies had more exposure to their offers and generally the world became more connected.
There is not a day when I don’t find in my Facebook feed something about travelling, tips to travel mindfully or being a traveller - now the Norwegian guy that travelled in all the countries and is below 40 is the growing trend. Nevertheless, I had a feeling this is only recent, but it turns out Google trends does not back my instinct, at least not entirely:
While travelling quotes (and quotes about travel too) have grown in interest over time, being at their peak in 2015, travelling or traveling by itself, has shown a relatively steady, stable path, even a slowly decreasing one if compared to more years behind.
Are you surprised? How can travelling quotes beat travelling in searches? I mean … it doesn’t make sense, right? It does not appeal to my confirmation bias. Oh, we, the irrational ones. But related terms like “travel”, “traveler”, “adventure”, “tourism”, “vacation” also score quite low compared to recent years. “How to pack” is a bit higher, but not that satisfactory. Definitely not happy with these results, I went to Twitter and Instagram, but my poor accounts cannot track more than a month of trends so I was left with a bittersweet flavour in the end. I’m sure there’s an explanation somewhere …maybe you’d say my news feed is also biased here in Eastern Europe since we’re not in the center of the world. But I’m quite well infiltrated in the web, just so you know, because of my international experiences, so I would say this variable is of less importance. The main idea stays. Why do I feel travelling is a huge growing movement, while metrics show it’s not quite so?
Now I’m even more puzzled than before. It is just my illusion that the recent years have experienced a huge push in travelling and going abroad? If so, if indeed travelling has slowed down, why do I have the feeling of travelling even more, if I were supposedly not influenced by the mass direction?
I came back from Lebanon hungry for more. Now I feel limited in my city, that my choices are too few. I’ve always wanted to see the world, but now I’m even more “desperate” for it. For the big city life activities, for not enough resting and a fast-paced rhythm. It’s like I have claustrophobia and I desire to see, to experience, I NEED it. But if I wasn’t biased with the other people’s adventures and Instagram pictures of beautiful places … can this indeed be what travelling (the authentic travelling) makes of one? It leaves one unsettled, savaging the heart and rebelling with dreams of the future?
There are times when I feel I have been swooned by the things I read, by the encouraging blogs about travelling and oh my, leave your life behind and just go (which I will not do) and I’m trying to find my true self amidst them. Is my true self really longing for travelling or is it just the surrounding influences especially from Social Media? (which, again, is not very accurate according to the metrics) Am I being biased from the inspiring stories I encounter? You know, the 10 reasons why you should travel or why it is beneficial for you etc. etc. Which I agree, make sense to a certain extent. But beyond that … ?
I think that regardless of any interference and a need created by media (which I’m sure it has fallen upon me), I do have the travelling disease. I will not stop travelling until something will eventually kill me. I think it’s wonderful to explore the world and see its beauty and equally its misery. It just makes the bigger picture more … human. And as well I wouldn’t want to pose in the “white tourist” stereotype, where one goes only to be irresponsible, have fun and take pictures of poor people. No. What I truly want is to also blend in with the community from time to time, wherever it’s possible. Face both sides of the coin. See rats on the streets at night and people having coffee in cozy places in the morning. It’s not the elite speaking here. I’m just a normal person with the soul sold to discovery.
It’s good to feel alive… and I guess travelling is my way of showing it. And in the meanwhile, if you have a more complex answer to this matter, I’d be glad to read it.