I’m what you might call a “quotes person.” I love great quotes. From Jane Austen to Jack Handy to Bible verses, I have different quotes scribbled in my planner and other notebooks. Some are uplifting, some thought-provoking, and others humorous. The act of writing down quotes to refer to later, in my mind, is like gathering little scraps of wisdom or humor to create a literary collage.
Sometimes a gem of a quote will randomly appear, and in today’s case it turned up in my Twitter feed:
“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” –Robert Stevenson
In typical 21st century style, I retweeted the pearl of wisdom and posted it as my Facebook status. My friend Kora, also a quotes kind of gal, immediately commented that she was going to “steal” it for her status as well. Other friends “Liked” the quote almost as soon as I hit the “Post” button.
This quote perfectly sums up what so many travelers struggle to explain when asked why they love to travel or why on earth they have wanderlust or, my personal favorite, why they still have the travel bug even after going on a trip. Stevenson hit the nail on the head–we travel for travel’s sake.
Indeed, it is the act of traveling–the full experience step by step–that we love. From making travel arrangements to researching the destination to arriving at the airport, each logistic forms part of an adventure. Some of my friends think I’m crazy, but I love airports. I love knowing that it’s the place where you go to be transported to anywhere in the world. When I get on the plane and settle into my seat, armed with fashion and celebrity magazines (my favorite guilty pleasure), I feel relaxed and my mind seems to automatically clear. Then, while flying, it feels like you’re suspended above the entire world, literally and figuratively. I’ve had some great moments of clarity and epiphanies on airplanes, probably because my mind truly has a chance to chill.
Travelers appreciate the process of adventure existent in the entire journey to whatever place you’re trying to reach. One of my favorite memories is from a time when I was heading from Seoul to Rome via Paris. It was, as Stevenson said, “the great affair of moving.” I ate breakfast in Seoul and spoke Korean, grabbed lunch in Paris and attempted to dust off my French, and switched over to Italian upon ordering diner in Rome. Every aspect of that journey was a rush, not just the act of arriving to my final destination.
Perhaps that is why travelers often struggle with that restless urge to take off somewhere far away. In essence, I think Stevenson got it right. We love the thrill of moving, and traveling allows us to do that.