Commentary

Why People Travel Not to Miss Out

Why People Travel Not to Miss Out by Jeri WB

Why People Travel Not to Miss Out

The answers given for why people travel range from the practical to the romantic. For me, the urge to travel came about from a childhood preoccupation with not wanting to miss out. Once I realized what a big world existed beyond the confines of the small town I grew up in, ennui and impatience set in.

I actually used to wonder if recess went on without me if I missed a day of school. In theory, I knew everyone would still be playing King of the Hill in my absence, but that didn’t stop my egomaniacal musings. Decades later, I’m still a lot like that little kid who never wanted to be left out, only now my playground encompasses the entire planet.

Hungering for More

My world as a child ran the narrow length of north Idaho’s Silver Valley. Growing up in the midst of the world’s richest silver vein only made me long for a life beyond those heavily forested mountains. Yet, my family rarely went anywhere except for weekend camping trips.

While I was in middle school, a visiting aunt and cousin from Houston took me on a weekend trip to Glacier National Park. Though less than four hours from my home, I had no idea it existed. Once my eyes got their fill of the Going to the Sun Road and the alpine peaks, I couldn’t help but wonder at all the other sights I could possibly see.

At about the same time, I discovered the profound escapism of books. The places I read about became the places I longed to see. For hours on end, I locked myself in my room enraptured by Anne Rice’s vampires haunting the streets of New Orleans. Who were these book people that occupied places I could only dream of?

Working in National Parks

The proverbial deal was sealed when I signed up to work my first summer in Yellowstone National Park. Even though only a six-hour drive away, I had never been there either. One summer led to another and to another. For good measure, I threw in a couple of winter seasons in Florida’s Everglades as well.

I worked with people from all over the world. Many full-time seasonal employees embraced the nomadic lifestyle. For a while I did as well and stopped attending college. The road trips between park jobs opened up the scenery of America.

That freedom to be able to go anywhere and do absolutely anything taught me a lot about the type of person I wanted to be. I didn’t have to feel like I was missing out because all I had to do was pack up and go to the places that called to me.

Looking for the Next Hit

Travel is like a drug. After the first taste, more is needed to satisfy the craving. Or, and pardon another cliché, travel often makes a person feel like a kid in a candy store. Some of us are born with a certain sense of unease and longing, which are not necessarily bad things. To long for new places means I continually test the person I am becoming by reaching to experience more.

While some people travel to relax, I travel to see and do as much as possible. Real life is for downtime, and vacations are for experiencing life to its fullest. I’m decidedly not a basking on the beach sort of traveler. I’d rather strap a pack to my back and hike ten miles to get to my destination.

Part of not missing out by availing myself to travel, also means I learn as much as possible about the sights I visit. Travel feeds my inner nerd. Athens, Istanbul, Munich, Chicago, NYC—there will always be more to see.

Do you travel to not miss out? If not, what’s your reason for traveling? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below! 

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About the author

Jeri Walker-Bickett

Jeri Walker (@JeriWB) is a freelance editor who offers incomparable quality at affordable rates. She believes in making every word count and dabbles in penning short stories and creative nonfiction. You can connect with her at JeriWB.com or explore her books via Amazon.

33 Comments

  • I travel to experience other cultures, to wake up in a different environment (preferably a hot one!) I first travelled with a friend at the age of 20 and have picked up the “travelling bug” ever since.

    I am like a child when planning a holiday. I like the idea of going to a part of the world that I have never set my eyes on. The more exotic the country, the more excited I become.

  • I agree with everything in this post. Travel is totally like a drug. Sometimes, when I feel the stress of my looming future, I resent this… Because I feel like I never get enough, and therefore am never FULLY satisfied with where I am, but rather I’m focused on making my next travel plans while I’m already traveling. I’m trying to work on that! But traveling has also made me realize which cultures I really connect with. It’s broadened my horizons so much. Thanks for the post!

    • Meagan, it can be hard to balance immersing one’s self in the present trip when also wanting to be planning for the next. Here’s to learning how to be more in the moment 😉

  • I totally agree about travel being like a drug- it’s so addictive. I remember when I used to take short domestic flights and would page through the on board travel magazine and only dream of vising the “exotic” places listed in the book- like Thailand and the Philippines. I don’t think I’ll ever stop travelling. I guess it is that Kid in The candy store phenomena…and I love candy, and travel! Great post.

    • Rafiqua, candy and travel are indeed great things 🙂 Pictures are great at making people want to experience places, and so is literature. Many of the places I’ve made of point of seeing are because of books I’ve read. Anne Rice’s vampire books definitely put New Orleans on my travel map.

  • I also love to travel. Once you have done it you cannot help but continue doing it. There is so much to see and do. Once that travel bug bites you, there is no turning back.

    • Cheryl, I have been with people on trips a few times who constantly talk about wanting to be back at home where all is comfy and familiar. That can be a real drag 🙁

  • Duke, thanks for letting me chime in here on your blog and share a bit of my travel passion. As for my icon status? That must be one of my favorite intros yet. Greatly appreciated though as I try to take my quest to make every word count seriously.

  • I never was big into reading until I began traveling. So kind of the opposite of you! But I guess it’s undeniable that the two go hand-in-hand.

    And travel is definitely a drug. I often say I’m actually addicted to it. Anytime the novelty of a place has worn off on me, I start getting an itching to go somewhere new!

  • I travel because I’m a Sagittarius:) Okay..forgive me that just slipped out!!! It started very young for me because of my voracious reading habit. Where were all these places and did they really look and feel and smell so beautiful, or awful? So maybe the “where” took precedence as I was in the match it to my imagination phase. The “why”, came simply because of business and a practical. economically driven (as in pay) reason to go. I have to say that it didn’t make travel any less satisfying especially if I could squeeze in a few days before or after. I can find a beach close by…but if I am going to Bali I want to see the beach, but not spend a whole day lying in the sand there:) Wonderful Post Jeri…best part is the insight into the true you:)

  • I am a lot like you, Jeri. I love to travel and I like to learn as much about the places I go beforehand as it can. Such a big world, so little time. The historic sights and the scenery are fascinating. Lying on the beach doesn’t do it for me either. Too much to see!

    • Susan, the stack of travel guides and language books I devoured for my Oktoberfest trip was insane, and to top it all off, now there are tons of apps too that tempt us with their goodies. When in the moment though I do my best to leave the print and electronic distractions behind and just be… well be the type of person who will read every informational placard I come across anyway.

  • I am a big Jeri fan so wanted to stop by and show support. I enjoy her explanation of why she travels and the way she explains the addictive quality of travel. I travel in my mind, due to lack of money at the moment 🙂

  • I travel because after my first trip, I was like, “oh yeah, this is so me.” Travel has never been anywhere else but at the top of my list. I couldn’t even deny myself travel, it would just be too cruel. So really, I don’t have a choice. It’s in my blood.

  • I’ve been escaping into books since before I can even remember, it’s always been a passion of mine. Is it weird that I got goosebumps reading that paragraph? I honestly think that passion has shaped who I am now, how much I enjoy seeing new places and trying new things.

    This article really resonated with me! It inspired and entertained, and it made me want to get back out on the road again. Thanks for the great article, Jeri!

    • Hanamuv, indeed. More, more, more is always exciting when it comes to new things. My last trip fit a lot into two weeks, so my next one will need to be based in one city. I tend to go back and forth between a macro and micro focus.

  • I travel to see and do things and not to relax. Even when I worked a nine to five job, if I set out for a relaxing vacation it always wound up becoming an adventure. Great post Jeri!

  • I love this. Traveling is a drug. It’s my addiction. I love to meet different people and see their culture.

  • Love this! Travel really is a drug, something that becomes more addictive with every fix. I’ll definitely be checking out Jeri’s work right now!

  • I started traveling at a young age too, and for whatever reason I remember looking back and not appreciating it the way I do now. I mean, I did, in my own way. But I think it was just such a part of me, that it didn’t seem special. Then I moved to Florida… everything changed when I met people who just didn’t have any interest in seeing the world. In my mind all I could think was, “What’s wrong with you!?” But people choose their own fait.

    • Neysha, I’ve never understood why some people don’t like to travel, but appreciation does seem to come with age. I love all that I can look back on now and can’t wait for what the future holds in store. Barcelona, anyone?

  • I also found a profound escapism in books, and they (my friends as I called them) encouraged me to dream of far off places. It’s amazing how multi-faceted our reasons for travel can be. From the simple to utterly complex. Thanks for this post, I think I now need to reflect a little more on the Why’s instead of the Where’s.