How Do You Define Travel?

I was irritated last week when I came upon someone’s comments judging another person’s travel style.

It was in regards to this fantastic guest post by Lina on How to spend 10 days in Peru. He complained that there’s a latest trend for travelers to check off as many things as they can in a short period of time – it’s like the new designer fashion.

He didn’t stop to think that most people don’t have the luxury of indefinite travel and wouldn’t want to even if they did. Most people only get two weeks paid leave a year, which is exactly why Lina wrote the post – to help these people.

If someone wants to go on the Amazing Race that’s their choice. Why can’t someone see as much as they can in a short period of time, if that is all they have?

Devil's Bridge Trail Sedona with kids

It doesn’t matter how someone chooses to travel as long as they are traveling, are happy exploring what they want, and are creating incredible memories.

You can do that with 10 days in Peru, a weekend in Las Vegas, or a year trekking through Africa.

I decided to write an all encompassing post with my thoughts on what travel is.

No barriers or limitations – just a free flowing experience that can be enjoyed in multiple different ways.

How do you define travel?

For me:

It’s indefinite. It’s a mindset. It’s packing your life into a suitcase and wandering off into an unknown future for an unknown length of time.

It’s thrilling, it’s joyful, it’s awe-inspiring, it’s soul-searching, discovering, and enlightening.

It’s checking off bucket list items. Selfies from the Eiffel Tower and sunset picnics underneath with French champagne and cheese.

It’s raging waterfalls, serene rivers, ancient rainforests, and pristine beaches.

It’s flashing neon lights, hawking, and bartering.

It’s getting lost in laneways and going walkabouts on unmarked trails.

It’s returning home to places you’ve never seen before.

It’s wearing in a pair of your favourite shoes.

It’s meeting people who look different to you and not caring.

It’s smiles from strangers, and belly laughs with new friends. 

It’s common connections and difference celebrations.

It’s samba drumming and moonlit skinny dips.

It’s sunset cocktails and sunrise ones—best viewed from a hammock. 

Its’ throwing tomatoes, running with bulls, and prosting all night long. 

It’s acoustic sessions in the forest and crowd surfing in the mosh pit.

It’s paying respect to your culture and new ones too.

It’s green frogs in your toilet, snakes slithering by, and cheetahs on the run.

It’s the pinch-me-I-must-be-sleeping dream.

It’s discovering new things in your backyard.

It’s walking every day with an open heart and mind. New explorations and discoveries.

It’s 2 weeks, a weekend, or a lifetime.

Surprises, memories, unfaltering joy.

It unites, it calms, it livens the vibration.

It’s total, divine love.

It’s cool when it’s cool to you.

It’s an expression of our authentic self. It’s the birthing of who we’ve tried to hide for too long.

It’s the unraveling of fear and the embracing of not giving a shit and doing it anyway.

It’s new horizons and unexpected gifts.

It’s liberating.

It’s all of these, it’s none of these, it is what it is to YOU.

Peace out.




P.S. Join in on the fun. Write your own definition of what travel is in the comments. We want to see what it means to you.

43 thoughts on “How Do You Define Travel?”

  1. I like this post and I agree. We define our own ways of travel. What I see as being ‘travel’ to me, someone else might look at and not like that idea, and that is okay.

    Personally, travel to me involves stepping out of my comfort zone and embracing the environment around me. Travel does not have to always be international, it can be domestic as well. I even consider ‘day-trips’ as travel. My favorite travel quote (of the moment) is “I see my path but I don’t know where it leads. Not Knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro

    1. Love that quote. Thank your for sharing. I think day trips qualify as travel as well, after all travel is most often an attitude and a mindset.

    1. I know. so sad. If we all just worked on being the best we can, and being happy with that, there would be no concern over what others do.

  2. totally agree!! I must say I was a little floored just the other day when I told a friend we were doing a cruise that leaves Auckland and goes to the Vanuatu and New Caledonia for our tenth wedding anniversary. (part of the attraction to this is so we can have a couple of days to ourselves as our two girls will be able to go to kids club). Her comments were, I haven’t heard good things about port vila (HEARD them, not actualy been there herself) – I said, well I have been to Papeete and Nadi so know what i’m in for. Response = well you’ve seen it then go somewhere flasher!! Well, I can assure you being on a cruise ship, having all my meals cooked and no dishes to do, my bed made for me and no driving or flying is totally my idea of FLASH!!. Her idea of flash is to sit in a five star resort doing not much of anything and swimming all day – something that would bore us to tears day after day. At the moment, I am trying to organise for our two girls (5 and 7 – who she said she’d be trying not to take – my kids would kill me if they missed travelling!!) to visit a mission run school in Port Vila and take some school supplies to donate. For me travel is also about the life experience and education of my children.

    1. It’s such a great education for kids too. I think cruises are great. It’s not how we usually travel and I held off doing it for years because of my pre-conceived thoughts. It turned out to be great fun and well worth doing with kids

  3. For me, it is very simple. I define travel by experiencing new places, people, cultures, and food, or re-discovering those places. I am always infused with a childlike wonder at experiencing new things, especially in foreign places.

    1. I love travelling with the kids now as they give me back a lot of that child-like wonder. IT’s fabulous to see things that seem so normal to me through their eyes. IT’s a great way to view the world

  4. I like that you write that travel = love. I was just thinking that the other day, that every time I travel I feel a little bit in love… Just that great feeling of being on top of the world! It gets me a lot of energy as well, no matter how short or long the trip is.

    1. It’s a beautiful feeling. I think it’s tapping into the flow of life- the place we all should be living from. Good things come from it.

  5. A great post, Caz. You are spot on – travel means different things to each and every one of us and we shouldn’t judge someone else’s way of traveling because it doesn’t fit our definition.

    To me, like Jeff, travel is about experiencing new places, new foods, new cultures – and even about returning to some favorites again and again to get under the surface and really see what makes the world tick.

    Travel to foreign countries also makes me appreciate what a wonderful country Australia is to live in.

    1. I love that appreciation you get for your own country when you travel. It’s a great way to open your eyes to what your homeland is really like.

  6. Funny … I’ve been drafting a somewhat similar piece. 🙂 I think the definition of travel is no more complex than leaving your home and experiencing some place else. There is no rule book for how to travel best, though a lot people make it sound like there is. There are a lot of ways in which I myself would never choose to travel, but I’m happy for anyone who just gets out in the world, whatever their “style.” I’m glad to see this piece. 🙂

  7. Ruann (Solo Travel Uncut)

    “The quality or state of being free: The absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.”

    Oh wait, that was the definition of freedom.

  8. I love your your non judgemental attitude Getting there is half of the fun for us I am not ashamed to say that I like 5 star all the way not for everyone but we have worked hard to enjoy that experience We see less but thoroughly enjoy and savour every thing that we do

  9. I love this post, thanks so much for writing it Caz. It annoys me too when travel snobbery arises. Some people have the luxury to travel for months on end but, like you said, most people don’t have that luxury and even if they did, they may not want to spend all that time travelling. What’s wrong with trying to see as much as possible in a short amount of time?

  10. Well said! Travel for me is all about the fabulous memories that you create. There is no set amount of time required to create a memory, and even the shortest of experiences can be etched in your mind forever. When touring the England once, my husband and I just popped over the border to Wales for dinner. We’d loved to have explored more, but that was all the time that we had, and it makes for a great story to tell the kids now, “how mum and dad visited a different country for dinner!”

    1. “There is no set amount of time required to create a memory, and even the shortest of experiences can be etched in your mind forever.”

      LOVE this. Thank you

  11. Opinions are like assholes, everyones got one. So what travel may mean to me may be completely different to what it means to you and that is fine because we both have different paradigms. Although travel to me is to grow as a person, learn about countries, cultures, the world and myself.
    P.S Great post as per usual, keep killing it 🙂

  12. Oh wow! I love this post! Travel can’t be defined. As you said, it’s different for different people. Everybody has different resources and circumstances in life. Travel to me is curiosity, an urge to discover something new every moment… to embrace the adventure of unfamiliarity. 🙂

  13. I loved reading this – it just prompted me to burst into print and write my own post as soon as I finished! I love that everyone travels their own way. It’s what makes all these adventures people have (whether for 2 days, 2 weeks or 20 years) so beautiful and interesting!

  14. I absolutely agree travel is not something other people can define for you. For me, it’s essentially about three things: experiences (new and familiar), people (friends, friends-to-be, strangers and just observing them) and food!

  15. You pose an excellent question here and I love how you look at travel. For me it is the same and it, too, bothers me that some people think travel is an all or nothing experience. I have spent the past 12 years working a full time job, climbing the corporate ladder AND traveling as much as I can (or as much as my job PERMITS me to!) I didn’t have the luxury to up and leave during that time. Over the years though it has come down to not being enough to just juggle it all. So we ARE ditching corporate life for a life of travel full time. But I know what it is like to be on the other side. When you’re stuck with what you are given (be it only 2 weeks of vacation a year) you figure out how to have amazing experiences with short amounts of time and that doesn’t make me (or anyone else that travels like this) any less traveled than someone who travels full time. The affair of travel and new experiences does not judge you by the days you have to spend. It looks only at the fact that you are there. Living your life and experiencing new things. THAT is what makes you a traveler. Not the amount of days you spend in any given location. 🙂

  16. Hi Caz, you are probably right and travel includes all of these things you are listing, but for me the key seems to lie in your very first sentence: Travel is a mindset…

    I personally like to believe that travel is much rather a state of mind than only the physical act of external movement. Of course it is part of travelling to see different places and experience different cultures, but when you are travel-minded you are open to all peoples, ethnicities, opinions and behavior, wherever you are, even at home. That to me is the true meaning and the true value of travel…

    What is the real value of all the photos in the world and all the checked off bucket lists if you don’t have an open, tolerant mindset…

  17. When I was younger and in backpacking mode – I would have said “you have to get off the beaten track, stay in hostels eat the local food.”

    But now I am older and wiser and as you said not everyone can travel for an extended time and everyone idea of adventure is different.

    Now for me travel is “leaving my home – whether it be for a day, week , month or more to see and experience something new. It does not matter if I do this on a budget or in luxury. I have travelled.”

    1. For sure. I think the older you get the more comfort you want as well. I’ve backpacked for so long, I’m kinda over it. Doesn’t mean I’m still not having amazing travel experiences. You get that with style or with budget, its just the way you choose to embrace it.

  18. Love this Caz! I get annoyed too when I see someone trying to define how someone should travel, or even live and think. No two people are alike and we all have different ways of enjoying or appreciating a place. So for me, travel is subjective, travel is tolerance; it’s romantic and about connection! 🙂

  19. I loved your comment “It’s returning home to places you’ve never seen before”… this is how I feel! I haven’t traveled extensively like some people but I can say that my love of travel happened after a trip to London in 2010 and that is exactly how I felt about the place – I felt like I had come home! I don’t have the luxury of packing up and leaving (more do to with my own insecurities more than anything else!) but I have decided that each year I am going somewhere – whether it be in my own backyard or further afield.

    I get the comments all the time like “you’re on leave again!!”; “how can you afford to travel??” .. to me travel is about finding out what I am passionate about. I am passionate about ticking things off my bucket list; going somewhere new; see different parts of this earth of ours; airports (yes I actually find the airport experience quite cool!); seeing things I have only see in movies or on TV.

    Travel to me is about being true to myself and not subscribing to how others think I should live my life.

  20. I love this post and it echos the way I think about travel. Travel is not a competition, its not about seeing more places than the next person or traveling longer or slower or whatever your benchmark of “real travel” is. Travel is about enjoying yourself in whatever corner of the globe you are fortunate to find yourself in whether its a stroll through your hometown or trekking through South America for a year.

    1. Beautifully said Brianna! I always feel strange when I say I travel in my own hometown, but I really do. I wander through the streets with new eyes for discoveries

  21. Oooooh, there is nothing that boils my blood like seeing some snob tell people why they don’t travel cool enough. I saw someone (as in another travel blogger) say that anyone who uses a rolling carry-on suitcase is a tourist, not a traveler. Give me a break!
    One of my favorite things to see is the wonder of travel of people who don’t get to travel much. My grandmother was like that. She wanted to see the big sights because she has been hearing about them for decades. She had very little money but did make it overseas once. My mother-in-law is similar–she never traveled until she was in her 50s. Now she wants to see Disneyland, go on a cruise, visit Iguazu Falls, etc., because those places are amazing, and it makes her happy. I have my opinions about the best ways to travel but always know that no one has the right to judge the way someone else travels. We all have different situations, finances, tastes, interests, etc. 🙂

    1. Oh that is so ridiculous. As if a bag determines if one is a traveller or not. It’s just a bag!! My parents didn’t travel until later either and now they are always off on adventures.

  22. Agreed. You don’t have to hit all the tourist spots, but you don’t have to be a grinch and ignore them all because you’re a super intrepid backpacker. You don’t have to pinch pennies and live on $10 a day in Vietnam, but you don’t need to spend $200 on a hotel. For most of us, our ideal balance falls somewhere in the middle. The personal finance blogosphere can be a judgey one, but I’ve learned (surprisingly) the travel one can be too.

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