Travel writing is a very very full genre. People always talk about how travel changes them. It’s about how seeing a different culture turns them into a person that they weren’t before. It’s supposed to be an inspiring story that challenges us and how we look at life. There’s a lot to be said about that kind of thing. There’s so much that I want to say about it.
When I was in school, in a nonfiction class, we had multiple stories about travel. It’s something that you can get behind writing. It’s easy to see how it changed you. But traveling isn’t the end all of changing yourself. Traveling is a journey from a point to another point. It is so much less than what it is made out to be. It is an experience.
Experiences shape us and change us. But experiences can be as simple as a two-minute facebook video from a friend. They can be as complex as the realization of underlying values that were built up slowly and over a lifetime.
So when I think about traveling and writing, I think about the time that I have to slow down. You cannot hurry the plane, the train, the car, the weather, the time. It will pass as it wishes to pass and the most you can do is hang onto the ride. You will be unable to push yourself along. You can use that time to sleep if that’s something that you need. You can use that time to read if that’s something you want.
Travel is a journey and an experience. It is a chance. It is somehow a nothing that we have blown up into a something. Maybe the reasons that we change when we travel have less to do with the fact that we are finally seeing a new culture and more to do with the fact that we are face to face with our reflections. And never are our reflections more apparent than we are trying to see another culture.