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

Growing up, my family usually took a vacation over the summer.  These trips would consist of all six of us piling into our bright red Suburban and driving somewhere in the US.  I’ve also flown to a few places and taken a couple trips with some friends.  My list consists of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Most of these were family vacations, but Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, and Colorado have all been trips with friends.  My sophomore year at UNL, I went on a ski trip in Breckenridge.  It was the first time I had ever been skiing.  My favorite part was seeing how in the winter a town can transform into a huge, busting ski community full of excitement. 

Why travel?

Amy Huberman tells her friends that she began to travel to experience new cultures and truly feel how people on the other side of world live.  During her travels, she soon finds out that the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  In India she seen how much poverty and filth exists in the country and she gets molested.  She talks about how after these experiences, her views on travel and the world have taken a downturn. 

In China she has an experience that makes her realize how fortunate she really is.  She doesn’t seem to like the idea of a Chinese amusement park, but her friend from China reminds her that Americans can travel anywhere in the world they desire.  The Chinese people can only “get away” to these amusement parks within their own country that serve as some sort of fantasy world to keep their people happy.  Amy then realizes how good she really has it and how lucky she is to be from America 

Why travel top ten

The top three reasons for me would be it provides unforgettable moments, it teaches you about the world, and it improves your language skills.

Provides unforgettable moments- From my own perspective, some of my most vivid and unique memories are from when I was travelling somewhere.  When I was hiking through a canyon in South Dakota, a mountain lion was leaping across a small gap 50 feet above our heads.  They are some of the most elusive creatures in North America and even though I just got a glimpse of it, I remember the sight like it happened yesterday. 

Teaches you about the world- During one of my trips to Chicago we went to the Chicago Museum of Natural History.  Although there are museums here in Omaha, the museum in Chicago had completely different exhibits that allowed me to learn about things that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t gone to Chicago.  This serves as just a microcosm of what happens when you travel pretty much anywhere in the world.  Every single place can teach you something that you won’t be able to learn anywhere else.

Improves your language skills- I can’t speak from personal experience on this one, but I did take both Spanish and French in high school and only learned a little.  Language, much like everything in life is something that is best learned while actually doing and experiencing it.  Someone can tell you how to swim, but until you actually jump into the water, none of what you have “learned” matters.  I think learning a foreign language is the same way.  To truly learn how to speak and understand someone, you need to immerse yourself in their country and culture.


Why should young people travel?

Her six reasons for why young people should travel are:

1.     You’ll get out of your comfort zone.

2.     Traveling builds confidence.

3.     You will develop cultural sensitivity.

4.     You can adapt to globalization.

5.     Be immersed in a second (or third) language.

6.     Infinite opportunities to network.

These are all pretty good reasons for why young people should travel.  One I would add would be that travelling creates a form of independence that many young people desire.  When you are away from home and don’t have your parents or school to lean on, you tend to become more resourceful and aware of your surroundings.

Why don't Americans travel?

There are probably endless excuses and reasons why Americans tend not to travel as much as people from other countries.  The cost would be a main one.  It’s not like Europe where trains run seamlessly between countries that smaller than a lot of US states.  At the same time, the size of the US provides many different places that people can travel without ever having to leave the country.  Also the American work environment is also very strict on the amount of vacation days someone can take. 

Self-imposed Isolation?

I myself engage in a form of self-imposed isolation.  I have never been anywhere outside the US.  I have had opportunities though.  All three of the colleges I’ve attended have some form of study abroad program.  I always made up excuses such as “this will cost too much” or “this wouldn’t be applicable to my major.”  It is these weak excuses that have now left me in a position of having yet to experience life in a different country.

Some of my friends have done the same as I have, but others did go on those travel abroad programs and it’s safe to say that I am jealous of the experiences they have had.  Luckily it is still not too late for me to travel to foreign countries and I plan on doing so not long after I graduate.

Long way Round / Long way Down review

Both of these series were entertaining and provided a unique glimpse at the countries they visited.  Wallaston’s review can be interpreted in different ways.  He seemed to not like how McGregor and Boorman have an entire crew with them.  This is understandable as it contradicts their inspiration (Ted Simon) and how his trip was a solo trip that in many ways was probably somewhat of a survival as it was to a trip across Africa.  But at the same time these guys are going on this as a form of entertainment.  It is a company and their end goal is to make a profit.  That profit would never come if McGregor and Boorman can’t continue their travels due to sickness, safety, or motorcycle malfunctions.  I agree with Wallaston’s points saying how the show wasn’t exactly “realistic” but you cant really expect a show like this to be a true travel experience.

A Missing Geographic Perspective

The main thing about their lack of knowledge in the geography department was the road conditions.  Even here in Omaha you can come across and pothole that could swallow a Prius.  After heavy rainfall county roads can be bumpy rollercoaster rides.  McGregor and Boorman seemed unprepared and surprised at the road conditions.  I’ve never travelled through Africa, but if I did, I wouldn’t exactly expect it to be similar to I-80.  They also travelled through countries that should be considered not safe in terms of political conditions.  Some of them in the middle of bloody civil war conflicts where anything could happen.  I understand they were trying to recreate Simon’s trip, but they should avoid putting themselves in any sort of life-threatening situations.

Submitted by Dan Pavlik on 2/1/2019.