How to Travel with Purpose and Why You Absolutely Should
Over the last few year's I've found myself travelling more frequently than I have ever before. I'm so grateful to be able to see so much of this crazy cool world we live in. Grateful that I have the opportunity to work for myself, to make enough money to support my lifestyle at home and abroad, and grateful that I've got a passport that allows me to explore far and wide.
But over the last few month's I've started wondering what it means to travel, why it really matters. And I realised it only matters if you let it have a purpose.
A while back now I made the decision to start blogging about slow living as well as travel. I wasn't sure how it fit in, but I knew it belonged, somehow. That was when I started considering travel and its purpose in my life, when I realised how it all fits together.
Ok, so what's the purpose of travel?
Glad you asked!
Travel is more than stamps in your passport, the ticks on your bucket list, the photos uploaded to your Facebook albums. And although it feels like it's a very self-indulgent act, it actually means more than that – if you let it.
Travel gives you the opportunity to understand existence deeper and more fully. It lets you make a small positive change to the world we've so arrogantly called our own. It allows you to take a step back, to slow down, to realise that we're all responsible – responsible for it all, the good, the bad and the oh so ugly.
So to me, the purpose of travel is to listen, to learn, to share and to ultimately connect. Which is strangely primitive. And to do these things, we need to be considerate and conscious of our mark, to make a positive impact on the world, and to never take more than we give.
How to travel with purpose
+ Give it purpose – travel with a consciousness to the knowledge and lessons around you.
+ Focus on the quality of your experiences, not the quantity. It's better to travel slowly and gain some sort of authentic experience instead of zipping from place-to-place as a tourist.
+ Live like a local as best you can.
+ Learn the language basics and try to spark conversations with locals. A simple smile can be a great starter – you'll be surprised how much you can understand through body language.
+ Research the culture, customs and traditions and be respectful of them.
+ Research the issues, industries or organisations that could be taking advantage of the country, its people or the tourism industry as a whole, and stay well clear of them.
+ Be very careful when volunteering. It's not as simple as doing a good deed. I've actually written a whole post on this issue, you can read it here.
+ Don't get too caught up in the ugly – there's so much bad in the world, and when you're more aware, it can become more and more evident. Focus your attention to the good or what you can do to help.
+ As the saying goes, take only memories, leave only footprints.
The biggest thing I want you to take away from this is to travel slowly with purpose. We're so lucky to get the opportunity to explore this world we call home – so we really shouldn't take it lightly.
I love seeing more and more people in my life travelling slowly. And I definitely think slow travel is the way of the future – especially with more resources like AirBnB, Couchsurfing and WWOOF popping up.
So I urge your to take the leap. Be more aware, make conscious decisions and travel with purpose not 'likes'.