Why We Travel (Flashcard Version)

As co-host of the TBEX NYC event tonight, I debuted a theory: all trips can be broken down into one or more of six primary reasons why we travel. Making up, like primary colors, all blends of trips we take. A periodic table of travel elements.

Here they are, in portable flashcard version:

We travel to communicate. Uncle Sedgwick moved to Oregon? Go see him.

Like relaxing with bad TV, we sometimes travel to veg out — on a beach, in a forest, on a mountain. To forget the muck of ennui our lives have become. Or a job. Or a relationship. Or a college football score.

We travel to ‘tick off’ a bucket list of dream places, experiences around the world. Like the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal or St Louis’ Gateway Arch.

A natural partner in ‘tick-off’ travelers is showing off. That comes when we pick up experiences solely for talking points to bore friends and family members when we get back. Eg ‘Dessert? Did you just say dessert? Reminds me of the Sahara — I went on a camel safari there in ’98…’

[Note: Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods actually stole -- with permission -- this 'Show-Off' flashcard at TBEX.]

The flip-side of showing off is what we personally absorb when traveling — when we travel to learn. Of different cultures, languages, biting habits of strange gray dogs.

But food is biggest, for many — and often for me. I sometimes call those monuments, museums, markets and parks we visit on trips as the ‘space between meals.’ Often, it’s the food that anchors the trip. Even when the pizza comes with ketchup applied in fat dollops.

About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Why We Travel (Flashcard Version)

  1. Sherry Ott says:

    The big question is – where did you find the colors to do your ‘slides’?!

  2. Authentic Seacoast Resorts says:

    Very funny! Wish we could have seen you deliver this live. Thanks for the recap.

  3. craig says:

    I was hoping you might have attempted to draw Andrew Zimmern on the last slide… Food. I wonder if you would have chose orange for the shirt like the Bobble Head doll?

    stay adventurous, Craig

  4. Garrett says:

    The food is a must!

  5. Robert says:

    I agree with Anonymous.

    Sherry, the crayons are these cool oil crayola things I got in China a few years ago. Love them.

    Craig, I am definitely considering a Bobble Head doll — but I would definitely wear a Night Ranger muscle shirt from the ‘Midnight Madness’ tour on it. Y’know, the ‘Sister Christian’ album?

  6. Sheena says:

    This is so great, and too true.

Leave a Reply