The traditional aim of travelling was to completely detach oneself from ordinary life and experience it from a wholly new perspective. For example, pilgrimages took away the individual from a man’s daily routine and allowed him to view things from another person’s outlook.
Other trips such as mountain climbing or hiking also helped erase the distractions of everyday existence and develop the personal skills of endurance and self-reliance.
Modern travelling, however, lacks any sort of the aforementioned characteristics. Instead, it has become lazy and comfortable, without any trials or tribulations. Popular travel destinations are simply like the west with a few changes here and there. With the advent of technology, tourism, and globalization, the sense of visiting a completely different place barely exists today.
South America is filled with gringos, Asia with concrete jungles and Europe is slowly becoming a cheap American ersatz. The modern traveller no longer acquires a fresh perspective, but rather the same one in a slightly altered setting.
Travelling is best undertaken with the intention of leaving behind the banalities, clichés, and distractions of home and forming a unique and entirely new opinion of the world, perhaps even enhancing skills such as physical strength.
It therefore requires great courage: completely leaving behind a comfortable life for one of uncertainty and adventure is no easy task. The lethargic habits of the modern traveller must be forgone to achieve this.
Living In Someone Else’s Dream
One of the major contributing factors to the decay of modern travelling is mass-tourism. It is a money-churning enterprise which sucks out the authenticity of the experience by urging customers to stick to a pre-determined plan of cafés, tacky gift shops, and mundane landscapes.
It does, however, lighten the burden of responsibility from the punter and allows him to ensure that his trip is embellished with comfort, micro-managed bouts of “excitement” and the company of other eager westerners; just like home, but with different weather.
The worst aspect of tourism is its removal of the individual experience. People are encouraged to frequent certain locations through advertising and peer pressure.
It is impossible to gain a unique understanding of the world from simply taking someone else’s word for it. One is simply walking down a path that another has pre-determined and blindly following them. Modern “voyages” are just like copying what others have done thousands of times before and paying for it.
Travelling For The Wrong Reasons
Too often, travelling is undertaken for the sole purpose of approval or escape. It is simply not good enough to go abroad in order to compensate for failures at home or trying to foster some validation from peers. Foreign lands are not a crutch to support a weakened, desperate man, but a means of which man can propel himself to greater personal development.
Retreating into the comforts of nature like a hippy or bathing indolently in sunny weather simply weakens the mind after a while. Having said that, relaxing in such a way is certainly permissible after long arduous stints of work or mental stress, but it should be never considered as serious “travelling” in the traditional sense of the word. This leads us onto another wrong reason for travelling: social validation.
It is clear to see that many travel for the sole purpose of impressing their friends and getting “likes” on Facebook. These people can be easily spotted by the copious amounts of photos they take of themselves in order to show everyone else.
A truly special trip’s memories would only be shared among the closest of kin, not shamelessly shown off on social media. The validation of others is the very worst reason to travel. Never undertake a journey at another’s behest unless it is a sound, reasoned recommendation.
The Real Reason To Travel
Julius Evola believed that travelling should be undertaken with spiritual virility, instead of just seeking superficial pleasure. He believed that it was wrong to simply wander from place to place, following the dreams of others without any introspection or personal development.
He abhorred the clichéd resorts favored by the masses and instead proposed voyaging to desolate, yet ethereal and peaceful locations, such as Nordic fjords or vast steppes. He believed that profound self-mastery and insight can be achieved by long, lonely journeys across harsh yet beautiful terrains, as opposed to calmer environments frequented by the bourgeois class.
It is perhaps not necessary to dash up Everest or fare to Northern Siberia to gain knowledge of the self, but Evola’s underlying point is clear. Modern travelling has lost the sense of venturing into the unknown, the mystical and the unfamiliar.
The breath-taking wonders of traditional travelling have been replaced by vulgar photo opportunities and the defiant wayfarer with the shallow selfie-taker. In fact, the modern man will go to great lengths, at great monetary cost, to avoid surprises and the mysterious whilst maintaining the luxuries of home. It is sad to see such a great pastime lose its value.
Bring Back The Original Purpose Of Travel
There have been many accounts of famous, courageous journeys by great people. Countless brave men have even danced with death in order to enhance their knowledge of the world and themselves. Modern men have a regrettable tendency to get lost in themselves, their own technological creations, romantic ruminations, and physical sensations. They neglect the vastness of the world and instead obsess over petty, little pseudo-issues and whimsical desires.
Travelling into the unknown requires leaving the old life behind. The world we live in goes far beyond our minute creations and man-made romantic landscapes. The true traveller voyages to this world with a blank slate, realizing that there is more to life than himself and his peers.
It is time to break out of the confines of modern tourism and rediscover a thirst for exploration which has long since faded away.