Hodophile is the term that is used to reference people who love to travel. It literally means, “one who loves to travel.” But why are we so eager to experience and explore new places? What is it about traveling that draws us to it? Why do we love to travel? If you’ve never asked yourself these questions, take a moment and think about it. If you need a little inspiration, here are ten reasons we love to travel.
#1 – We Travel to Experience
By Pamela of The Directionally Challenged Traveler
We travel to experience – new cultures, new food, new adventures, and new people. These experiences are more than just a check on a list of things to do in a place, but rather a way to change the core of who we are.
Cooking a traditional dish in a local’s home is an experience in kindness and loving our neighbors despite how different they are. Bungee jumping in a canyon shows us that we are stronger than the fears that try to stop us. Standing in pristine nature reminds us that we are connected to this earth. Even the difficult experiences of getting lost somewhere teaches us to be adaptable and be open to where the road is taking us.
Traveling opens us to experiences that we may never have thought we could have – and many of which we can’t have if we’re glued to our screens. We travel to experience all that life has to offer us – the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the powerful.
#2 – We Travel to Eat
By Sydney from A World in Reach
Eating delicious food is a major part of my everyday life, and that doesn’t stop when I’m traveling. One of my favorite parts about visiting a new place is experiencing all the delicious food that it has to offer. I’m always so excited to try new foods, especially local dishes that I can’t find back home.
When it comes to trying new foods, I don’t really discriminate. I love trying everything from cheap street food to fine dining and even dishes that some might consider to be a bit strange.
Some of the highlights of my travels have been experiencing fine dining in Japan, trying guinea pig for the first time in Ecuador, and sampling amazing street food all around the world. Taking a cooking class is another fun way to experience local cuisine – you’ll be able to try new dishes and learn how to prepare them at home!
Even if you’re a picky eater, I recommend stepping out of your comfort zone (even if it’s just a baby step) on your next trip and trying a new dish. Who knows – you might even come home with a new favorite food!
#3 – We Travel to Meet Others
By Nick of The World Overload
One of the best parts of traveling is being able to interact with people from all over the world you never would have otherwise. Not only does traveling help get you out of your comfort zone, but it’s a great opportunity to find others of a similar mindset. You can meet people with similar interests, personalities, or even professional careers. It allows you to branch out and opens up endless possibilities.
Meeting and starting up a conversation with strangers are never easy, even more when you are completely out of your element in another country. But it does help to get you out of your comfort zone and to be a more adventurous type of person.
Introducing yourself to some of the locals gives you a chance to experience a new city and country authentically firsthand. They might even have suggestions on locations and events you may not have even heard about or considered going to.
Not only do you make new friends while you’re making your way through the world but what about after you are done traveling. You get a whole network of local and international friends.
Keeping in touch with people from your traveling days not only lets you reminisce about the good old days, but they may want to come out and visit you. This not only gives you a chance to reconnect with some old friends but may get you out of your stay-at-home rut. Or even give you an opportunity to play tour guide to your own hometown.
#4 – We Travel to Bond
By Corritta of It’s a Family Thing
We had the idea to become a full-time travel family after I had to return to work only 7-weeks after giving birth to our son. I was angry that I barely had the time to heal, let alone spend quality time with my son. We decided to sell everything and travel to spend more time together as a family.
Travel has allowed us to bond. I haven’t missed a single moment of our son’s major life milestones because we decided to leave the daily grind and travel. We are growing together and learning from one another in different ways that wouldn’t be possible if we lived the typical lifestyle.
Traveling together has given us some life-altering memories. We’re learning from each other’s interests, up close and personal. As we take on different experiences throughout our journey, we can always rely on one another.
#5 – We Travel to Explore
By Debbie of WorldAdventurists.com
The world is huge and there are endless adventures out there! There is a great allure in experiencing different cultures, and meeting people from all over the world. Humans are driven to explore the unknown, discover new ways of life, and challenge what we think we already know about the world. The more you explore, the more you also realize how little you really know, fueling the fire for more exploration.
Travel has an amazing ability to take us outside of our comfort zones. We are constantly inspired to experience and try new things, take chances, and become the best version of ourselves as we learn from the world around us. Travel broadens the mind and feeds the soul.
We travel to explore because it gives us a true perspective. We develop a greater appreciation for things that we would otherwise take for granted and gain a greater respect for different ways of life.
#6 – We Travel to Relax
By Tawnya of Money Saved is Money Earned
An oft-forgotten reason we love to travel is simply to relax. While it’s great to travel to see and explore new places, it’s also important to plan trips just for relaxing. These trips help you escape the hustle of everyday life and recharge your body and your mind. Relaxing trips are especially important for reducing stress and boosting your mental health.
It’s important to think about your purpose for traveling before planning or booking. If the purpose is to relax, make sure you pick a destination and accommodations that will help serve this purpose. Think about the beach, nature, pools or water, and other things that will help you kick back and enjoy it all.
Be sure to limit your use of technology, go with like-minded people (or solo), and to not overbook yourself with activities. If you simply must do some exploring, alternate explore and relaxation days so you don’t end up needing a vacation to recover from your vacation!
Knowing who we are is an important part of life. It helps us to love ourselves better. Along the journey of life, we often feel as if we’ve lost ourselves. Traveling is a good way for us to rediscover the things we used to love as well as discover new passions. We get lost to find ourselves again.
#7 – We Travel to Escape
By Cassie of Cassie the Hag
We travel to escape – to run away not just from our troubles, but towards something better. Some are escaping mediocrity, monotony, or the expectations set by traditions and society. Others want to escape a life they already cherish, just for a little while, to experience something new and go back home with appreciation.
Some of us are escaping traumas; the darkest depths of our pasts. I have learned that travel is merely a distraction from our struggles; the things that haunt us can follow us all around the world. But, in allowing ourselves space and time to deal with these things, travel can help us find a path towards acceptance.
We travel to escape our former perceptions of ourselves. We are braver, stronger, and more deserving than we ever knew. We travel to escape our preconceived limits – we push ourselves, we grapple with our mind over matter, and our feet over the earth.
We escape a sense of never quite belonging, in favour of feeling connected to the world around us.
And thus, we learn compassion towards people who cannot escape. We learn privilege. We learn to be grateful that we were able to escape our troubles, and hope to be better for those who cannot.
#8 – We Travel to Learn
By Brodi of Our Off Beat Life
My family and I travel to learn. When on the go, we prioritize picking up a few key phrases in the local language as well as educational opportunities in each place. If there are ruins, museums, or nature tours we do it all!
However, education is more than formal learning. It’s also just experiencing new things to expand our worldview. Just trying local cuisine in restaurants or at food carts helps us learn about our new location. Staying in local housing, not just resorts, helps us understand how people live their lives around the world.
One of our favorite ways to learn is by visiting local parks and playgrounds. This gives us an opportunity to see how local people like to spend their free time. Throughout Asia, we found many adults using the free, outdoor workout equipment in the parks while kids played on playgrounds nearby.
Typically, our first reaction to travel is noticing how people and lifestyles are different from our own. However, the more we travel, the more we learn the similarities between people and cultures around the world.
#9 – We Travel to Teach
By Sally of Our 3 Kids V the World
People travel for many different reasons, but mine as a mother is two-fold. I travel to teach my children, ‘our little citizens of the world’ we call them. Travel teaches them about different cultures, different food, different sights and senses and to be more accepting of others and their differences. We have taught them to adapt quickly to new environments, to live outside your comfort zone and best of all to challenge yourself.
When we travel we give them their own money before we leave Australia. They have it changed into a different currency whether that currency might go further than home or not as far. We teach them to budget their money so they can buy the things they want.
We teach them to catch public transport and how to get around in different places, using all sorts of different modes of transport. We hire private guides at cultural significant landmarks such as Angkor Wat, Taj Mahal and Bagan so that we learn the history of the place and why it is so significant to the country as are visiting.
All of this learning can’t be taught in a classroom and they are learning valuable lessons they will need later in their lives. Best of all my kids are patient, accepting, adventurous and adaptable in all aspects of their lives, and I attribute that to all the amazing travel experiences we have been able to provide them with. And, we get to see the world through a child’s eyes which is priceless to me.
#10 – We Travel to…
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” ― Pico Iyer
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This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex.
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel easier.