Many, if not most, people say, “I want to travel.” While these sentiments are often sincere, for those who actually leave home, for those who finally pack bags, buy tickets, leave jobs and homes, and set out on that first important journey, it is often true that the sources of that desire to travel are more narrowly defined.
Travel itself is not often what inspires us. Travel is what we do after we become inspired. Inspired to take photos, inspired to listen to the music of other peoples in distant lands, inspired to taste exotic foods, inspired to meet new people, inspired to go on dates with limited common language, inspired perhaps then to learn that language, or maybe just inspired to make our Facebook pages more interesting for our relatives.
These observations about travel are why I like this short video by Rick Mereki. At first glance, it seems like little more than a series of images of his own experience trying to learn new things. And for some, seeing the sheer volume of activities he engages in might seem overwhelming, or unrealistic. It’s true that most of us will not get to do everything he does. But for me, this video served as a reminder that, rather than simply thinking about travel in broad terms, it’s important also to pinpoint those smaller, narrow motivational factors, and pursue them. In this video, a desire to learn. For me, a desire to shoot photographs, or see penguins, or share a drink with a stranger. And others find their own sources or combination of sources. So whether you learn to mountain climb or flamenco dance isn’t important. You may never do either. The takeaway is to remember why you travel, pinpoint those factors, and follow their lead. Maybe they’ll take you to the top of Everest, or to teach English overseas. Or maybe they’ll lead you, like they did Mereki, to try to learn about the world broadly and capture some of those beautiful moments on film.