Contemplate the Meaning and the Purpose of Travel

Are we begin to care more about capturing the moment rather than living the moment? 

There are so many articles on the internet about travel, with the main topic include stories, why, reasons, benefits, reviews, tips when travel, etc.


Have you ever thought about what are the purpose of travel before social media become a thing?

Nowadays, traveling has started to became a thing and a primary needs for many people. Maybe the development of social media and the internet are the things which influence us. It’s normal to be influenced by social media because now it almost inevitable to avoid seeing our friend’s, influencer’s or celebrities’ posts who travel a lot.

The first time I traveled was when I was a little. There weren’t many discount promotion nor high technology. Not everyone could afford to buy a cell phone. Cell phones were only used to call or text people.

back then when there was no cell phone just laptop
We won’t often find anyone busy looking at their phone since we need a computer or a laptop to browse the internet or chat on instant messenger

The first time I traveled with my friend when I was in university. Back then, it was harder and took longer time to obtain information especially about the hidden gems. We only found out about Haji Lane because my friend’s sister who worked in Singapore.

Browsing articles about the purpose of travel on Google with Bahasa Indonesia

After being curious about people’s purpose of travel, I decided to look up on Google tujuan traveling (the purpose of travel).

screenshot hasil pencarian di google tujuan traveling

There were only 2 out of 10 articles on the first-page result that write about the purpose of travel. Most of them are about the benefit of traveling. Then I thought, I typed wrong keywords, then use another synonym of travel, tujuan jalan-jalan.

screenshot hasil pencarian di google tujuan jalan-jalan

It was the same… Only 2 out of 10 which writes about the purpose of travel. So I look up in English.

screen capture purpose of travel in Google
All of the results were relevant

The results made me wonder…

Isn’t the primary purpose of a search engine like Google, is to help us find an answer to our question? Isn’t their algorithm is designed to show the most relevant contents for the specific keywords?

Hence, are those results show that Indonesian need to find more about the benefits rather than the purpose of travel?

The point of view of travel has shifted

Before I wrote this article, I honestly was going to write “Why do I Travel?” That’s why I love writing! We never know what exactly we would write before we actually write it!

There is a short but interesting article on titled “Trinity Traveler Mention Now The Purpose of Travel has Changed.”

Trinity, the writer of The Naked Traveler, said that nowadays, many young people tend to travel for the sake of creating an Instagram content.

“The purpose of travel to gain more insights has declined. There are so many people who has no clue about the place they visit,” said Trinity.

She said it was okay, but she recommended to keep reading books to know more about different places with different cultures or languages. That article made me contemplate.

Back then when I took a vacation with my family, I remembered seeing people interacting with the people around them and enjoying the surrounding. Everything has started to change…

See the photo below. I intentionally do that pose just for fun, rather than feeling annoyed by the couple who didn’t queue and ended up being a photobomb. When I travel to East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), I was shocked to see most people are too busy with their cell or camera, taking photos or videos.

photo bomb of tourists who didn't want to wait in line to take photo at Padar Island Labuan Bajo East Nusa Tenggara Indonesia
When I visited Pada Island in East Nusa Tenggara, there are some best spots to take pictures. Even when many people included me has waited in line to take a photo, some people are (maybe) too impatient and became ignorant.

Some people are even willing to wear a lovely dress or shoes, which of course, they looked stunning, but I didn’t feel that their outfits are suitable for the places we visited. Isn’t it dangerous to wear a beautiful pair of flipflop while climbing?

While we still have two eyes that able to see, why have to choose to see the beauty through the lens?

Those phenomenons made me wonder…

Are we begin to care more about capturing the moment rather than living the moment?

What is the purpose of travel?

That question made me feel the need to think about the base of my question which sounded like a judgment.

Years after graduating from university, writing a final project paper, I finally realize how it helps me to shape my framework of thinking. There is an introduction, theory, analysis, trials, and a conclusion.

bangunan heritage de vries bandung
When I studied architecture, my final project was designing a Theatre Building which connected with a heritage building, de Vries

Maybe before jumping to a conclusion, we need to back to basic: knowing the history. So I look up at Wikipedia about travel.

The definition of travel

Interestingly, when I read travel etymology turns out travel has varieties of meaning such as labor, strive, journey, and struggle.

“There’s a big difference between simply being a tourist and being a true world traveler,” Michael Kasum

When I read the quotes mention on Wikipedia, I said to myself, “Daang! I don’t want to become a tourist. I want to be a true world traveler!” Lol.

Of course, there times when I want to be a tourist like when I visited London, I wanted to take a photo in front of the popular platform 9 3/4 because I have been in love with Harry Potter novels since I was a kid!

Psssttt, I cried when I visited WB Harry Potter Studio in London!

Personal motives and purpose of travel

You can find several reasons for traveling on Wikipedia such as recreation, tourism, research, visiting people, volunteering, religious, mission, etc. Also, some motives for travel include building an interpersonal relationship, pleasure, relaxation, discovery, and getting to know other cultures.

traveling to europe for a month with my best friend
Do you ever make a promise which seemed so silly with your best friend? I do… My friend and I dream of traveling around Europe, and we made it come true!

From  The United Nation Statistics Division website, I find a PDF presentation titled “Classification of Tourism by Purpose” by Frankseco Yorke Statistician.

Referring to that presentation, some personal purpose of travel include holidays, leisure and recreation, visiting friends and relatives, education and training, health and medical care, religion/pilgrimages, shopping, transit, and other.

Contemplate the meaning and the purpose of travel

There is also an interesting article from Hipwee titled “Travel is useless when there’s no purpose.” The writer reminded us that traveling is not only for relaxation, but can also to learn and gain insights. She also encouraged us to not waste our money for traveling. Instead, to be eager to learn more about other cultures.

There were times when I want to spend quality time with loved ones or to relax. However, we can choose to spend our money on many other better reasons than to please ourselves temporarily.

One of my favorite relaxation activity is to spend the night in a nice hotel to relax and enjoy the facilities, but it costs money and can be expensive

Take your time to re-think

Myspace, was a social networking site which used to be so popular but has changed its function due to losing popularity from Facebook. Hence, all of the beautiful photos you posted on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media could one day disappear.

going to Germany to participate in an International Music Festival
Back then before Instagram exists, I don’t feel everyone has a pressure to find an Instagrammable spot or to put an effort to create great photos when traveling

After writing this article, I’m planning to share my reasons and purpose of travel.

first experience of seeing snow on winter in USA
I was an exchange student for a year in the USA. There, I had many opportunities to travel and also see the snow for the first time

Hearing some real stories about people who pushed themselves and did wild things to be able to travel and take instagramable photos make me feel sad.

“Selfie deaths have become increasingly more common as selfie technology has become more commonplace.” – Mark Quinlivan, Newshub

US National Library of Medicine found that between 2011-2017, there are 259 people in the worldwide lose their life because of trying to do extreme selfie.

I hope this article can be useful and remind you to contemplate your purpose of travel.

Let’s share your thoughts opinion by writing a comment below! If there are any errors or revisions I need to make, please do let me know! I’ll be pleased to get some constructive criticisms! 🙂

Over time, people grow and continuously shift meaning…
Everything change…
When we’re still living in this world, what is not temporary

Decluttering helps improve our lives. So why don’t we start with our bedroom? Cleaning all the junk and removing unnecessary things take time and can be exhausting, but the KonMari Method can help us tidy our messy place.

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