If, like me, you spend hours looking up quotes and artsy pictures to go with your travel aesthetic, you’ve probably seen the quote: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page” by Saint Augustine. It’s one of the more inspiring wanderlust (or fernweh) quotes out there and has reached the point of being cliche. I’m not trying to shame anyone here, don’t worry. I’ve got it saved to my pinterest board about a million times too.
I will gladly agree that those who do not travel are missing out on life. There are so many things to see and do out there. To be blunt, staying in one place and experiencing nothing new is hella lame. And because this is a travel blog, I’m just going to assume you agree with me on this one.
But is simply reading life enough?
Think about travel like a great work of literature. Yes, you can read it, and enjoy it, and be done with it. But if you want to get a deeper understanding of it, you’ve got to put in work. The Great Gatsby is fine on its own, but without the assistance of a reader’s guide, or a teacher, or Sparknotes, it’s just a nice book. Simply reading does not allow one to fully comprehend symbolism or deep themes. Without in-depth analysis, you’re just wasting your time.
To just go somewhere else isn’t traveling. If you fly halfway across the world to stay in a resort and eat hamburgers the whole time, you’re doing nothing but wasting your money. To fully comprehend the world, you need to get yourself out of your comfort zone. Take a risk for goodness sake! Eat at a place where you aren’t even sure what you’re eating. Interact with the locals. Try to understand local religious customs with more effort than just taking a picture of a temple. Learn the historical significance of where you visit. Avoid big restaurants with menus in English. Flirt with a stranger. And please, for the love of God or whatever else you believe in, don’t fly halfway around the world just to end up in a Starbucks.