The late night romantic comedy blares in the background with the usual plot line unfolding. A relationship falls apart. A job is lost. The lead is sick of their job, maybe even sick of their family. The woman meets her man. The list goes on and on. The main character often makes the decision to travel, to get away from the job, the man, or to go find the man out in the wilds of the world, far away from home.
While in Italy this summer, I often pondered the question, “Is travel an excuse?”. Amidst a language not my own, customs I didn’t uphold and that never ending feeling of not fitting in, travel as an excuse presented. Sure, you may travel to be changed. You may travel to learn a new language or understand a custom better. Others may travel to see sights they have always dreamed. That list, too, goes on and on, but there seems to be a catalyst that triggers it all, the “I’m going to travel because…” moment. The outsider at home wants to get away from those feelings of isolation. Your job quit you and traveling away from the humdrum 9 to 5 seems ideal. Your dream man or woman enters the picture, heading out to Egypt. Do you stay or go?
Travel For Socializing
I met other travelers this summer. Many were focused on the socializing of travel rather than the actual travel. They would want to stay out until 5 am, sleep all day and do it all again the next night. I think many of us were outsiders in high school, the ones no one picked in gym class. Travel has a way of making an outsider seem included. You travel around the world to lands that take you out of yourself. You don’t look like locals or dress as they do. You stand out. You find other outsiders in hostels that make you feel not so alone. Some people are welcoming to your outsider status while others are not. The social excuse quiets the outsider in all travelers. It might be the only place the outsider feels at home.
Travel For Job Escapism
Then, there seems to be the escape artist, the one that loses their job or the one that has a job. They leave it all to travel or it all leaves them so they travel. Behind those emotions, I often wonder what they find on the other end. When I was an au pair in Italy for all of three days, I decided to leave the job I hated and travel for a few months. Travel lends an emotion of comfort when your expectations for a job fall apart. I’ll hit the road, and it will all become clear. At least for me, it did. Unsatisfied with daily life and feelings of years are getting away may in fact lead the jobless or those with a job for the road. Travel yields a purpose when you feel you don’t have one in that cubicle.
Travel For The Man or Woman
Perhaps most in keeping with the romantic comedy plot line, some travelers end up jetting off for a man or woman. That dreamboat that you couldn’t find at home encourages you to head out to Turkey. You do despite having no plans to feast on Turkey. Perhaps tied to the social traveler, a connection is a connection no matter where you are. If you met your match, why not go where they go, right? I can’t relate to those that travel somewhere because their significant other does, but I do wonder how travel goals fare in the process. Suddenly the excuse is a person. It either works out beautifully or falls apart. Regardless, the lessons learned from travel for another, from what I see and hear, seem to be great nonetheless.
We all travel for different reasons, but there is that wonder in me if we begin travel as an excuse for something else. Later, I think we realize what it is all about. Perhaps it isn’t an excuse, but just a step in the right direction, the windshield wiper moment where it is all clear. The loss of job, the bad job, the bad relationship, the bad friendships or lack there of may drive some to the road. If you need to know the ending, turn on a chic flick around 10PM. There is bound to be a character leaving something or someone to travel.
Do you think excuses are tied to deciding to travel? Does travel provide an answer to the bad job or relationship?