Why we travel?


  1. Your travels
  2. Why travel?
  3. Why travel top 10
  4. Why should young people travel?
  5. Why don't Americans travel?
  6. Self-imposed Isolation
  7. Long way Round / Long Way Down review
  8. A geographer's perspective

Your travels


I have traveled to Arizona four times. The first time I traveled there was with my mom in 2005 for her best friendís 50th birthday. We stayed in Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix, for the four days we were there. During that visit we went to the local Greek festival and I got to see the Plain White Tís play at a local record store for a whopping $10. The second time I went to Arizona was to move a lifelong friend and her son to their new home in June 2011. We drove from Bradley, IL to Phoenix. The third and fourth times were to visit the same lifelong friend and her family. The third time was in January 2012 and I stayed with them in Cottonwood which is roughly two hours north of Phoenix. We visited the church built into the red rocks in Sedona, the old mining town of Jerome, Out of Africa Wildlife Park, and Tuzigoot National Monument. The fourth time was in January 2013 and I brought my then boyfriend, now husband, with me. This visit we took him to the church built into the red rocks in Sedona, as well as downtown Sedona, Jerome, and Montezuma Castle National Monument.

I went to California on a quick weekend trip with my mom when we were visiting my uncle in 2002. We drove from Reno, NV to San Francisco. My mom had been there as a young girl when my papa was getting his masters at San Jose State University, so she wanted to bring me there. On our trip we went to the Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception (I still want to go back there as an adult), drove down Lombard Street, saw the house used for the exterior of ďFull HouseĒ (one of my favorite shows growing up), ate at Franciscan Crab Restaurant, went to Alcatraz, and ended our trip taking Route 1 almost all the way down to Muir Beach, but stopped at an overlook instead before turning around and heading back to Reno.

Colorado is the state I have traveled to the most with a total of fifteen trips. The first time I went was as an infant for my auntís graduation. It was January and snowing, so my parents were delayed at OíHare airport for six hours before boarding. The next time I went with my nana to visit my aunt over Easter break when I was around 7. I remember going to Casa Bonita and making a trip to Estes Park. I went one other time, I barely remember it, but one of my nanaís teaching peers came with us and we drove on Trail Ridge Road and saw a moose. I didnít make it back until 2006 for my auntís 50th birthday. I then made a trip with one of my best friends, Virginia, and my aunt to move furniture from IL to CO for my aunt. Virginia and I were able to meet up with Audra, one of our good friends, and went to Mile High Music Festival. After that I went to Colorado to visit Audra for her 21st birthday in Fort Collins; met up with a now ex-boyfriend in Colorado Springs before heading up to Estes Park, touring the Stanley Hotel, and then spending time with Audra again; and visited Audra again. I have traveled to Colorado with my husband for anniversaries, weekend getaways, and to spend time with friends. We have been to the Colorado Renaissance Faire, I took him to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park to hike Bear Lake and Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lake trailheads, we went to the Christkindlmarkt, and to see Bronze Radio Return. We went to the Gentlemen of the Road stopover in Salida, went snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park over Easter, and on our last trip I took him to Avalanche Ranch to enjoy hot springs for his 30th birthday.

I have visited Florida twice. I went to Disney World with my mom when I was 5 and I went again with my mom, husband, and in laws for my 25th birthday. We also went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the trip for my 25th birthday. We will be going again this fall on a whole family trip. When I went when I was 5 my only memories are of almost drowning in the hotel pool and meeting Cinderella. The trip for my 25th was a total of 8 days, two of those days were spent at Universal Studios, and one day was spent at Dixie Crossroads and visiting the Atlantic Ocean, driving along the coast, and seeing manatees. Of the time spent at Disney we were able to go to Mickeyís Not So Scary Party and during that time we were able to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks while we were on Thunder Mountain Railroad which was awesome, I got pulled up to dance with street performers at Animal Kingdom, went to Food and Wine Fest at Epcot, and rode the Maelstrom the last day it was in operation. The two days spent at Universal we went to Diagon Alley and did both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley the next day. The biggest surprise of the trip was my husband proposing to me on the steps of 12 Grimmauld Place with the ring inside a 3D printed golden snitch.

I was born and raised in Illinois, so I have had plenty of opportunities to travel around the state. Living an hour south of Chicago meant I went to the city frequently. To this day I will love no other city like I love Chicago. The diversity, the culture, the amenities, itís what makes Chicago, Chicago. Outside of Chicago and surrounding suburbs, I have traveled to Champaign-Urbana for a U of I football game, to Edwardsville for a friendís momís wedding, and to Springfield for our 7th grade class trip and another time for the state fair. When I was around 6, I visited my great aunt, Sis, in Quincy which is where my papa was from and where my grandparents met while attending Quincy College. It is also around a 30-minute drive to get to Mark Twainís childhood home in Hannibal, MO, so my nana, who was an English teacher, made sure we went.

I now live in Indiana, but before we moved here, I traveled with my husband to visit his side of the family in Richmond and Indianapolis. He technically grew up in a small town about 20 minutes south of Richmond called Boston. When we visit his parents, we like to go into downtown Richmond to a chocolate shop called Ghyslain Chocolatier, Ulleryís Homemade Ice Cream, and New Boswell Brewery & Tap Room. We go to Noraís English Pub in Liberty, IN, which is where my husband went to school and it was also mentioned in an episode of Sherlock. We also go to Terre Haute for Rose Hulmanís homecoming as it is my husbandís alma mater. We visit Indy to see my brother & sister-in-law and our nieces and nephews, our friends, and to enjoy good food and live music. We were able to go to St. Elmoís Steak House, which is world renowned for their shrimp cocktail, with my dad and stepmom. I have also traveled to just outside Bowling Green, IN to the Clayshire Castle which was our wedding venue. We are now exploring our new area which is Lafayette/West Lafayette and are loving it so far!

Iowa was generally a pass-through state on our road trips home, but we were able to stop and visit Des Moines five times. We really enjoyed the food choices in Des Moines; our favorites are Fongís Pizza and Zombie Burger & Shake Lab. The first year of the Hinterland Music Festival brought us to De Soto and St. Charles. De Soto was where John Wayne was born, but sadly we didnít get to go on a tour. We did get to go to the local farmerís market, a few antique shops, and stopped at a winery on our way back to the sleepy town of St. Charles. We did travel to Council Bluffs on one occasion to see Gaelic Storm play at Iowa Western Community College.

I have driven through Kansas multiple times, but have stayed in Kansas City, KS once on our way back to Nebraska from a trip back home. We found a wonderful Mediterranean restaurant, Aladdinís.

There are a few occasions that brought me to Kentucky. The first time was to visit a good friend in Louisville in the dead heat of August. During that trip we went to Whiskey Dry, the Frazier Kentucky History Museum, a Louisville Bats AAA ball game, and the Holy Grale. I have also been to Newport to the aquarium and to the Metropolitan Club in Covington for a wedding.

I have only been to Michigan once when I was around 6 or 7. My nana, aunt, and I went on a trip to Frankenmuth. My only recollection of the trip is picking out wooden clogs and wearing them despite how uncomfortable they were.

I have been to Missouri five times and passed through on road trips several more times. The first time I visited was to go to Mark Twainís childhood home. I have been to St. Louis twice, once to see Bo Burnham and Nick Offermanís stand up special with two of our good friends and the other time we were on our way home but stopped to stay at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel which was absolutely gorgeous. Iíve been to Kansas City, MO on a few occasions, the best visit we went to the promenade and the next morning enjoyed a little dive restaurant before getting on our way.

Nebraska was our home for over 4 years and during that time we were able to travel to various places around the state. I also had a job that took me to some unique places as well. Prior to moving to Nebraska my only experience was on the road trip to Colorado to deliver furniture for my aunt. During our residency we visited Lincoln and Omaha on multiple occasions, but because Lincoln was 2 Ĺ hours away and Omaha was 3 ľ hours away we didnít go as often as we would have liked. When we went to Lincoln it was generally to Aldi to stock up on pantry staples, to enjoy a night out at The Other Room, to see John Mellencamp and Trevor Noah, and to even attend two Husker football games. Our visits to Omaha were for concerts and special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. We like to stay at the Deco Hotel near the Old Market, eat at La Buvette and Ika Ramen, see shows at the Slowdown and The Waiting Room, and go to the zoo. We lived about a half-hour from Kearney, so we went there at least once a week. We also went to Hastings and Grand Island every so often. We loved Dragonfly Desserts in Alma, the National Willa Cather Center in the Moon Block building was beautiful, and I assisted with the labor compliance for the Tourism Development grant they received to help with project funding, Miletta Vista winery in St. Paul has beautiful views, the drive along Routes 6, 27, and 4 heading west from Holdrege have stunning views of the hills and ravines, and the sand hills do not compare to anything else we have ever seen.

I have been to Nevada twice and both times were to see my uncle. The first time was for his wedding when I was 10 and, on that trip, we visited Donner Memorial State Park, stayed at Circus Circus, and went to Lake Tahoe. The second time was in 2002 to visit my uncle and cousins. That trip we also went to San Francisco.

I stayed in Gallup, New Mexico when I was helping my good friend move back to Arizona. Driving through New Mexico was beautiful, but Gallup smelled horrible and I will definitely make sure to stay someplace else the next time.

I have had the pleasure of visiting North Carolina twice. The first time was for a wedding in Wilmington on the Atlantic Coast. We stayed in a hotel in Wrightsville Beach with direct access to the ocean. That was the first time I had seen the Atlantic or waded in the ocean. The second time was to go to Merlefest in Wilkesboro. When we were on that trip, we visited friends who live in Winston-Salem, went to Mt. Airy to the Andy Griffith museum, drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and spent a day in Greensboro. Merlefest was a great experience where we got to enjoy bluegrass and folk music and stay at our friendsí cabin in the mountains just outside Wilkesboro.

Ohio is a place we have frequented quite a bit. We have been to Eaton to Fort St. Clair for the Christmas lights display as it is only 30 minutes from my in-laws and Hueston Woods State Park which is also close by. We enjoy going to Cincinnati to go to Jungle Jimís, which is the best grocery store ever. Over the Rhine is a great neighborhood in Cincinnati as well with lots of good restaurants and bars. The murals around Cincinnati are also part of why I love it.

We went South Dakota on a trip with good friends to see Mt. Rushmore. We stopped in Scottsbluff, NE the first night and got to see Chimney Rock. We then headed north stopping at the Agate beds, drove through Oglala National Grassland, stopped at Mammoth Site, and stayed in Rapid City which has a wonderful downtown. The next morning our drive through the Black Hills up to Mt. Rushmore was breathtaking. When we were driving back, we went through Wind Cave National Park and saw Buffalo, drove through Nebraska National Forest, and stopped at Carhenge in Alliance.

I have been to Wisconsin nine times. The first time I was maybe 8 or 9 and went to Wild Rose, WI to stay with my momís best friend and her family at their cabin. The next time I was in Wisconsin was to go to their sonís wedding in Wild Rose. The next trip was to camp with friends at Richard Bong State Recreation Area, but that was cut short by severe thunderstorms. The fourth time was a day trip to Summer Fest. For my fifth trip, my best friend bought tickets to see Dane Cook in Milwaukee and we had the worst experience ever at Applebeeís. The next trip I visited one of my good friends and we saw Frightened Rabbit, went to eat at Honey Pie, went thrifting, and enjoyed coffee at Rochambo Coffee & Tea House. I took my husband to Milwaukee for his 26th birthday. We went to Maderís Restaurant for authentic German food, dined our way across Milwaukee the next day, and ended at the police station to file a report for his car being hit in the hotel parking lot. The eighth time was a trip to Maderís with my husband and mom after going to the Christkindlmarkt in Chicago. The last time I went to Wisconsin was to Door County for our joint bachelor/bachelorette party with our wedding party and close friends. It was spectacular with all of the trees and lake views. We went on several winery tours and ate great food.

Wyoming was a state we passed through coming back to Nebraska from Colorado, but I loved it. It was gently snowing, and it looked serene and peaceful. I would like to go back, especially to go to the national forests and park.


Belize was my first international trip and was our honeymoon destination. It was cost effective with an exchange rate of 2:1. We split our vacation in half with three nights in Caye Caulker and three nights in San Ignacio. We landed in Belize City and do not recommend staying there for any length of time. On Caye Caulker we stayed at the Birdhouses, which you can reserve on Air BnB and they were right on the north coast of the island. We ate fresh seafood every day, a whole lobster was $15 or less at most restaurants. We went for a full day snorkeling tour with Raggamuffin Tours. We stopped in three spots along the barrier reef and saw tons of fish, nurse sharks, sting rays, moray eels, and even a sea turtle. It is one of the coolest things Iíve even had the privilege of doing. Our time in San Iganacio, which sits 15 minutes east of the Guatemala border, was humid. Our Air BnB was located on the Belize River and we were able to see lots of iguanas from our porch. During our time there we went to a demonstration of how the Mayanís made hot chocolate, went to the Saturday farmerís market, and had the best drink and view from Cahal Pech Village Resortís restaurant. Because we went in the shoulder season, we were able to plan a split day trip that started with kayaking in Barton Creek Cave, known to the Mayanís as the entrance to Xibalba. You can see pottery and human bones and skulls in the rocks. The second half of the day was spent in Guatemala going on a tour of Yaxha.

Our Costa Rica vacation happened because my husband was initially supposed to go to a conference until his company halted all travel. We had planned vacation time around his 3 day conference schedule, but were instead able to enjoy 10 days of vacation. We flew in to San Jose, rented a car Ė I absolutely DO NOT recommend renting a car in Costa Rica unless you reserve it with a credit card that comes with insurance coverage; what went from a $50 rental, turned into a $750 rental with the mandatory car insurance, also, traffic is ridiculous in San Jose, and drove to our hotel downtown. Our close friend came with us for a few days as we were going to stay visit Audra where she lives in Manuel Antonio on the western coast of Costa Rica. We drove from San Jose to our Air BnB in Quepos the next morning and enjoyed relaxing that afternoon. On our way to dinner and drinks with Audra we saw a sloth and it was glorious. We were able to eat at El Avion which is partially an old plane, Emilioís which has a gorgeous view of the ocean, and Soda Don Pedro which has excellent fried chicken, shrimp ceviche, and patacones. During our time in Quepos/Manuel Antonio we went to Playa Beisanz where we saw another sloth and howler monkeys, ziplining, and a night tour through the estuaries and mangroves where we saw Jesus Lizards, Caiman, and several types of birds. The days my husband was supposed to be at a conference were instead spent in Santa Elena. The drive up was harrowing with no guard rails, gravel road, and blind curves. While we were there, we went to the Monteverde Orchid Garden where there are over 400 species of orchid, and the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens. We did not get to go to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, but plan on doing so on our next trip.

We visited Guatemala on the second half of a day trip from believe to see the Yaxha ruins. Yaxha is the only Mayan city built by a lake surrounding it on three sides. This was a strategic defense move which proved useful as they were rarely unaware of incoming attacks. There are several structures that have been uncovered and restored such as ball courts, stelaes, a market square, and Structure 216 or Yaxha. We were supposed to have sunset tour, but it was cloudy; however, the view from the top of Structure 216 overlooking the lake was still awe-inspiring.

I would say the reasons I travel are to see new places with friends and family, to enjoy different cuisines, to soak in cultures that are not my own, and to see beautiful views.

Why travel?

Huberman explains that traveling will be good for her and will give her new perspectives on the world. After her travel experiences she had in fact gained a new perspective on how she viewed her surroundings. This clarity came after her time in India where littering was rampant and police brutality is the norm. It came after visiting a miniatures museum in China where she was taught that international traveling is not a luxury most Chinese people will get to experience. These instances and realizations are what led her to look upon her American experience in a new light. To appreciate certain constitutional rights and to appreciate the ability to travel to gain a loftier view of her world.

Why travel top ten

The three most important reasons to travel to me are: it teaches you about the world, it makes you more tolerant, and it provides you with unforgettable moments and experiences.

Learning about the world and other cultures is very important to me. I am in a constant state of Wanderlust. I want to see as many landscapes and I can, soak in as many cultures as I can, eat as many different cuisines as possible, and meet people who can teach me about their way of life. Despite being vastly different from other cultures and norms, I am still human and can still relate to those of a different culture.

By learning about the world, other people, and their way of life it does make one more tolerant. We live in a time of political turmoil, a blatant revival of hate speech and hate crimes, and constant judgement. Becoming more tolerant is vital to our well-being.

Lastly, racking up unforgettable moments and experiences to share is an inevitable part of travelling. Every trip I take with my husbands has some sort of hiccup that we laugh about later, like the car insurance issue in Costa Rica. We were swindled in Belize City which is a moment we will share with our tiny human. Snorkeling in a barrier reef was the coolest, snowshoeing in the snowy mountains was humbling, and being taken aback by an unexpected incident are all reasons to make me continue travelling. It is certainly as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

Why should young people travel?

The top six reasons and arguments of Petersonís list of why young people should travel are:

1.      Youíll Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

a.       A lot of young people have yet to get out of their comfort zone by traveling away from family, friends, and their daily routines. This leads them to not fully exploring who they are as a person because they have not been in a position of extreme unfamiliarity.

2.      Traveling Builds Confidence

a.       Being immersed in a foreign country and culture makes you learn how to communicate and integrate, which boosts confidence in your ability to adapt. It makes you more open to tackling challenges in the future when traveling.

3.      You Will Develop Cultural Sensitivity

a.       Understanding the norms and mores of other cultures shapes how we view them, their place in the world, and how we relate to them. It is beneficial to understand the underlying values of a culture to make sense of how to interact with its people. Knowing that a friend, colleague, or significant other employs certain ideals or behaves in a certain way that is outside of our normal is vital to our communication and relationship.

4.      You Can Adapt to Globalization

a.       By traveling or even living abroad you are able to keep pace with the globalization of our world thanks to technology. This is crucial in the business world, especially when working with business partners from other countries.

5.      Be Immersed in a Second (or Third) Language

a.       Speaking multiple languages is invaluable, personally and professionally. You can interact with locals or international colleagues because you will be able to carry on a conversation with them. The easiest way to go about this is to live abroad as you will be forced to be immersed in the culture and language.

6.      Infinite Opportunities to Network

a.       It pays to network when you travel. It can lead to new friends that will let you stay with them if you visit or if you want to work internationally if will provide you with connections. Networking also makes it seem less isolating when traveling to a foreign country and opens the doors to learning the culture and people.


My additions as to why young people should travel:

1.      Seeing historic cities and landmarks.

a.       Many places and historical sites have been marred or destroyed by humans and/or are facing the consequences of global warming. Being able to see history for oneself is important to understanding foreign cultures and values. Seeing Venice before it is too late, Machu Picchu and the Pyramids of Giza are being damaged by tourism, and the Galapagos are considered an endangered site making it important to responsibly visit such amazing places before it is too late.

2.      There is little point in having money when you do not spend it.

a.       There is something to be said for having a savings account and nest egg built up, but money is also to be spent. Spending money on vacations to see the world is a responsible way to do so. Opening your mind to new people and places is invaluable to the human experience, so spend that money on a trip to a place you have always wanted to go. You can make more money, but it is harder to make more experiences without spending some of it.

Why don't Americans travel?

Many Americans do not travel because they are comfortable where they are. There is also that factor that the United States is culturally and geographically diverse, so some people do not feel the need to travel abroad when they have diversity in their own backyard. Inadequate amounts of paid time off or vacation days also make it difficult for Americans to travel internationally. International travel can also be expensive, and the lack of knowledge of other countries and cultures make is hard to justify spending the money to visit.

Self-imposed Isolation?

Coming from a relatively populated area of around 60,000 people traveling outside of the area or country was fairly common amongst my social circles. However, when we moved to rural Nebraska it was drastically different. I met people who had no desire to travel outside of the state or only traveled to other states because they had to. A previous coworker of mine went to Napa Valley for her daughterís 10-year anniversary vow renewal, she said it was kind of pretty, but she couldnít wait to get back to Nebraska. The house they were all staying at was in the mountains with a gorgeous view, the views from the wineries they went to were beautiful, and all she wanted was to get back to cornfields and hills. Do not get me wrong, there is beauty in rural Nebraska, but it is not comparable to mountainous forests and green valleys.

On an even more personal note, my mom refuses to travel by herself. She has never been out of the country and she will not go anywhere unless my husband and I brought her with us. Even going to Disney World this fall is too much for her as she does not think she will be able to navigate through the airport by herself, ride on a plane by herself, or make it to the shuttle to Disney on her own. Mind you, this woman has traveled by herself before, she is 100% capable, but she has greatly diminished the size of her comfort zone over time.

Long way Round / Long way Down review

I do agree with Wollaston in the regard that the entire trip is highly controlled and planned out. While I personally would want to do the same thing, it does slightly detract from them lightly packing up and seeing where the road takes them. However, in this day and age there are certain things that do need to be taken into account like which countries will take passports and which need visas, internal conflicts, cultural expectations, and general safety measures. Having essentially a handler did come in handy for McGregor and Boorman. There planned route was shorter than Simonís, but they also have work schedules and were not looking to just up and leave until they decided they were done riding. I did not find this to detract from their adventures.

When it came to McGregor and Boormanís travels through Africa in Long Way Down it was hard to ignore the privilege. Many of the countries they traveled through have been experiencing internal and external conflict for decades, but they never really encountered dicey situations. For instance, Sudan was still in the throws of an intense and bloody civil war, but they managed to magically get through without running into any rebel militia or military squadrons. There is Operation Enduring Freedom in the horn of Africa and some interior countries which includes Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, all countries they rode through. Uganda had participated in the second civil war in Sudan and were also battling insurgents against the government. I believe that their level of wealth was able to keep them safe while traveling, but the show didnít address what was happening in those states at the time which is vital to their development as nations.

A Missing Geographic Perspective

Despite being actors, they could have done better with learning about the countries they would be riding through. Their lack of knowledge about road conditions outside of whether they were paved or not was astounding. Doing basic research to know what type of soil was in the region to prepare appropriately would have saved them a lot of time and headache, but then that wouldnít make good tv would it? As I mentioned in the above paragraph, it would have done well to acknowledge the conflicts occurring in the countries they were in instead of just romanticizing them. Do I think traveling through Sudan was a good idea? Absolutely not. The violence and genocide that was occurring made it a highly dangerous place to be regardless of the protections they might have had. When they were traveling along the Skeleton Coast they did not acknowledge how dangerous it is in terms of wildlife, the cliffs, etc. It begs the question if they even knew or if they just knew it was an infamous area. Overall, I believe they could have done much better in learning both the physical and human geographies and presenting that information to the viewers.

Submitted by Kate Lade on January 31, 2019.