Why we travel?


1.            Your travels

2.            Why travel?

3.            Why travel top 10

4.            Why should young people travel?

5.            Why don't Americans travel?

6.            Self-imposed Isolation

7.            Long way Round / Long Way Down review

8.            A geographer's perspective

Your travels

Describe where you have traveled and what brought you to these places. What was the motivation for the trips?

I have traveled to many islands in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica, Tortola, St. Martin, the Dominican Republic, and Bermuda. These were all vacations with my family. Many of these trips were taken during the winter to get out of cold temperatures. Some these trips were taken during the summer to get away the balmy weather and bathe on the beach and swim in the ocean.

My older sister Kate, wanted to go to St. Martin to improve her French, because she was taking French in high school.  But nearly everywhere I have visited, many people speak English.

The Galapagos Islands was  another family trip. We stayed on a small cruise ship while we visited the islands. We used a tour company called Tauck to take our cruise. We saw many of the species that Charles Darwin did. We saw blue-footed boobies, finches, sea lions,  iguanas and various of other animals.

Amsterdam was a family trip we took after my sister Molly graduated from high school. There we visited the Anne Frank Museum. Somebody had told my Mom that we should order tickets ahead of time because lines could be long and we wouldn't be able to enter the museum the day we wanted to go to the museum. The Anne Frank Museum was very fascinating. We got to see the hideout. To reach the annex, I had to climb numerous of spiral stairs. Art is an interest of my younger sister, so we visited the Van Gogh and the Rijks Museum.

China is dear and near to my heart because I was born there and lived there until I was five. My sister Molly and I are both adopted from China. Neither  one of us are related to each other and we are both adopted from two different provinces. Both Molly and I were interested in visiting our orphanages on this trip, so  we visited Nanning and Nanchang. After we visited the orphanages, we went to Beijing  to see the Forbidden City, saw the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian and the Three Gorges Dam. We joined the Tauck Tour Company to visit these sites.    


Why travel?

How does Huberman (Why Travel?) explain to her friends in Maine why she travels? Comment on some of the experiences she describes, and what she sees as the ultimate reason for travel.

Huberman told her colleagues that travel would be good for her and would expose her to different ways of seeing and doing things. She believes in this statement, but changed her way of thinking after traveling to various of Asian countries. After her travels, she looked at things with a different perspective.

She learned that Indians and Chinese have a different cultural attitudes than Americans. For example, Indians have always thrown their trash on the ground. Also, in India, women who travel on their own are molested and harassed in public. Indian police have been taught to beat their suspects to get a confession. In China, not many Chinese get an opportunity to travel outside of China, so they go to theme parks with replicas of famous world sites.

Huberman concluded that traveling has changed who she is as a person. Her experiences made her see the world in a different light.


Why travel top ten

From the list of ten reasons, pick three that would be the most important to you and explain why.

Many of my travels have provided me with unforgettable moments and experiences. This is important to me because the experiences and moment I have had will stay with me for a long time. I have tried different kind of foods that I had never eaten, and I have seen and experienced various cultures.

It is important for me to learn about the world. I enjoy learning about various cultures, languages, and religions. The more I learn about the world, it will make me feel connected to other countries.

Finally, it is important to me to share my adventures and stories with family. Family is very important to me and I have a tight relationship with my family. I would want the future generation to have the same type of relationship. Many of my family members have told me their stories and I would love to pass this tradition to the next generation.


 Why should young people travel?

Comment on Peterson's arguments for why young people should travel. What are the six reasons and can you think of more?

Peterson suggests that young people should get out of their comfort zone. When I have travel, I have found myself getting out of my comfort zone. I have walked on some very treacherous terrains for a blind person, such as the Great Wall of China and the lava rocks in the Galapagos Island. It’s fun when I’m doing something new that I have never done before.

She also says that young people become confident as they travel. Everyone becomes confident when they accomplish something they never done before. It doesn’t matter if it is at home or far away.

Young people get to know other cultures as they travel. This has been true for me. As we traveled through China, I got to learn more of the culture of my native country.

Peterson mentioned that young people can adapt to globalization because we are very connected online, and businesses work internationally. It is evident because you see American products appear in various of other countries. I have ordered KFC in Nanchang. We even went to a Walmart in China, and 20 years ago you wouldn't have seen a Walmart in China.

Another suggestion given is that young people should get immersed or learn a second or a third language. Even though English is the language I speak all the time, I have used my Spanish to order food and tell a taxi driver where I wanted to go.

In Beijing, we were taught how to say no thank you in Mandarin. When we passed the open mall by Tiananmen Square, some men came up to my mom and offered her something to buy. As my mom tried to say the right words we were taught, she said no good and the men laughed at her. After we had walked away from them, I told my mom what I thought she had said to those men. On that same trip, we visited a village that was on the Yangtze. We walked into a classroom of third graders learning English. The children sang us a song and Molly and I did a song we had learned in Mandarin. As we exited the classroom, I saw a child and mom told me to say something in Mandarin. I squatted down to this child's height and asked, "How are you."  child didn’t respond to me.

The final thing Peterson says is that young people would have infinite opportunity to network with other people. I never personally networked with anyone on travels, but I have had the chance to network with others who have visited here.

I experienced some of these things with travelers to the United States. Just before I started high school, my family hosted to some girl scouts from our sister city in Japan. Many of them gave their contacts to us. One of those girls wrote a thank you to us after she had visited here. Another time woman who was from South Korea lived with us for a few months. She wanted to teach English in Korea and did her practicum at my elementary school in the ESL classroom. I follow her on Facebook.


Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.

What are some reasons why Americans don't travel.

Americans are workaholics. We are interested of earning money rather than spending it on vacations. Even if Americans do take vacation time, they often  use all of it. For example, some employers give a week or two of vacation time a few times in the year. The employee would probably just take a week of vacation and be back at work the following week.

When Americans are given vacation time, they are not willing to visit other countries. The news reports crime and terrorism in various countries, which makes many Americans afraid to travel to these countries. Some stereotypes have also made it hard for Americans to travel to these countries.

Finally, Americans have a lot of opportunities to visit very different places here in the United States, so they don’t feel like they need to travel abroad.


Self-imposed Isolation?

Each of us lives in varying degrees of isolation from the rest of the world. This isolation is both happenstance and self-imposed. If we are born in an isolated part of the world with few opportunities to travel, we will likely lead an isolated existence. Self-imposed isolation occurs when have many opportunities to see other parts of the world but choose to spend our time and resources in one tiny area. We isolate ourselves because we are afraid or uncomfortable in other parts of the world.

Describe the lives of some people you know and how they engage in self-imposed isolation.

One group of people who are isolated are disabled people like myself. This is because it is more difficult to travel, and the mainstream community often doesn’t understand how to interact with disabled travelers. For myself as a blind person, navigating unfamiliar surroundings is particularly hard, with obstacles at airports, hotels and with streets and ground travel.

I have family many family members who live in small rural communities. They do not travel much in the United States, much less abroad. Some of this is because of the expense involved, but another reason is that they are unwilling to get out of their comfort zone. The one family group among these rural family members which has traveled some is the one that regularly hosted exchange students at the local high school.

Long way Round / Long way Down review

I hope you've enjoyed these two series. To what extent do you agree with Wollaston’s (Motorcycle Emptiness) review?

Wollaston makes two points. First, he compares McGregor and Bowman to Ted Simon, and notes that McGregor and Bowman had a much easier travel because of resources and technology. Second, he thinks the series is “fun” because the technology breaks down and the travelers are not prepared for the environment.

I agree with Wollaston that McGregor and Bowman’s travels are not as authentic as Simon’s, but that seems to be a very high standard. If all travelers tried to travel like Simon, there would be very few travelers.

A Missing Geographic Perspective

As a geographer, my criticism of the series is that the two motorcycle riders display little geographic knowledge. As actors, their geographic education is probably limited. Comment on a scene from either series where a knowledge of physical or human geography would have helped understand what they experienced. Draw on any other geography course you might have taken.

Mongolia was one of the countries Ewan McGregor and Charley Bowman went through. They should have realized that the country is rather large and vast.  To the south of Mongolia is China, and it too is a rather large country. McGregor and Bowman should have realized that it could take a while to travel the width of Mongolia.

McGregor and Bowman should have understood that they were going through the Steppes, which is like traveling through the Great Plains of the United States. This means that there are very few cities that they would encounter and very few people live in the region.

Finally, the motorcyclists should have understood that people in Mongolia live a nomadic lifestyle. Many of these people follow the old traditions of herding animals. Since the Steppes are in harsh climate, people must search for their food because they can’t grow it themselves for a good portion of the year.

Submitted by Leah Johnson on February 1, 2019.