“What makes you travel?”
Then I thought, ‘why?’.
Most of the interviews in any publication, this was the question what everyone asked.
What makes me travel? What makes me constantly move?
That was one of the questions I got from my family who don’t really understand the reasons behind all the traveling I wanted to do. My answer was ‘I learn.’ and I got the sarcastic feedback, ‘what can you possibly learn?’ and ‘why does it matter?’ Well, good question too.
Trying new food, seeing new places, meeting different kind of people, and all the other ‘new’ experiences… everything excites me. I used to think the excitement and the desire of ‘new’ were the motive for my travels. It was, and still is, but that’s not all.
Finding similarities and differences in different places
Especially during the last year of my continuous travel, I realized what really made me going; it was finding the similarities and differences among all of us. We fight, we argue, we criticize, and we compete, but all of us humans are just living in this world. No matter where you are, you eat, you sleep, you wear, you cook, you laugh and you love. We are all same. It’s the subtle differences, ‘how’ we do it.
As a Korean, from the country where has a very unique culture food and language, I always thought Korea was really ‘different and unique’ than any other places in the world. Foreigners can’t possibly like our food, understand our culture, and know about our history. It was so obvious the foreigners can’t figure out how to use chopsticks, and don’t know how to use things in Korea. But I was wrong. Plenty of our ‘unique’ cultural aspects were from many other foreign countries. It was quite shocking to me when I first realize the fact. We, Koreans, were not so ‘unique’ after all. We, people around the globe, are all human who are making our way in this world. One way or another, we are living.
That’s what I learn
The shock wasn’t a bad thing though. Since then, I found out the discovery was an exciting thing. By learning other cultures and digging deeper, I learnt more about my own culture and custom. Compare and contrast; I guess that’s the key of any kind of the education. If you didn’t look at a lot of great photography, you wouldn’t know what is the good factor to consider. There’s nothing to compare. To be a better photographer, you have to have a big knowledge database.
It was easy to think the connection between other Asian countries like China and Japan. China was the king of the world for thousands of years, and our ancestors always consider China as our ‘big brother’. However, it’s not easy to connect the dot with other countries like Finland or Latvia, far-far away across the ocean. The subtle differences I see from how different way we think and do the same thing; that makes me very excited.
For a long time, the whole time while I was growing up, I dreamt about the ‘different’ world that I was living in. In some way, I always thought we are the minority and lonely people, and it’s quite true to be honest. However, we’re not so much lonely anymore, when I saw the people around the world doing just like the same thing we did at home. Because I was thinking about ‘who I really am’ for a long time, until now, that’s why seeing these similarities and differences are so important to me. There are plenty of foreigners who love Korean cuisine, enjoy the floor-based lifestyle, and understand my language. And so do I, I enjoy other cultural aspects of different countries, just like them. I’m one of them.
We are all same, and different. That makes the world interesting. For me.
Yes, so that makes me travel and wander.
What about you, what makes you to travel?
15 thoughts on “My Travel Purpose: Finding Similarities and Differences”
Spot on observations RJ, and so glad to see you digesting your travels with such wisdom.
Hey Juno, I know what it’s like to have family that doesn’t understand. My grandma is Korean and she thinks I’m a Pabo! 🙂 They still support me though. I travel to learn as well. But I think the main reason why I travel is to meet people. I love meeting everyone, from other backpackers to homeless people.
I travel to learn as well. But I think the main reason why I travel is to meet people.
I recently wrote about finding purpose in my upcoming adventures. It is a great topic to reflect on and should be done often because our reasons change because our experiences change us.
Well said. Every time I’m asked this question, I look at them blankly and not even sure how to answer it. Sometimes I don’t even know if there’s any purpose to what I do and all I know is that I like to travel. There have been times I wanted to give up this life style but then something amazing happens and it’s a quick reminder in why I’m doing this.
Though I’ve been living in Korea for a year and a half now, your posts help me understand so much more about the culture. Like in this one, you talk about how you thought foreigners can’t possibly understand Korean culture before traveling. I can get so frustrated with the way my co-teachers talk to me, like I’m helpless sometimes, because I’m foriegn. Other times, I get frustrated when they don’t ever seem to ask me about my culture or what it is like where I’m from. This post really helps me understand why. And when you know why things are the way they are, its easier to accept. Thanks Juno, you’ve brought a great perspective to blogging!
Hey Jessica, thanks for your words. Great to know that my post helped me understand my own people. Asia is such an extraordinary world; they always think they are the underdogs, and minors. It is true, sometimes not, but that’s why people are over-modest and rude. It would take a long time to be ‘globalize’ in Asia. Well, they used to be Kingdoms 🙂 But yes, sometimes we just have to except the way the things are.
Great post with some fascinating observations. One of the main purposes of my blog is to question WHY people travel, and I think you have hit the nail on the head. I’m sure many people would agree with you – I certainly do! 🙂
I could think of many reasons why I travel; learn how others live, experience new cultures and foods and get away from the familiary. I think the main reason why I travel though, is that its the only time that I really live in the moment. When I am “home” (wherever that is!) I am thinking in the past, or planning the future. When I travel I am in the now.
Great post Juno….I’ve learned more from travel or from the people that do, than I ever did in a classroom.
Agreed Deej, I’ve learn so much about the world and the people through travel. It also helped me to understand myself better.
I often wonder about this and why I travel. Like you, I am fascinated byt the way people live in the world. We do an interview series with people we meet where we ask questions like ‘If you had a superpower, what would it be?’ and ‘When were you happiest?’. The answers reveal so many similarities and differences across cultures. I think that kind of encapsulates why I travel.
Elegantly stated and well-put; I really enjoyed reading this post. All too often people seem to focus merely on cultural differences and tend to discount similarities. Travelling should certainly be about both learning and connecting; one without the other seems to me to be incomplete. In any case, I think your observations are wonderful and I’m sure the question you have posed will get us all thinking a little deeper about our own motives for travelling.
Cheers from Canada,
what makes me travel? Because of my curiosity of what is going on in other countries. Like yourself, I like to observe, compare and contrast in whatever that catches my eyes and ears. Thank you for your generous sharing of information.