Why Travel Is Not About Running Away

There is no denying that some people use travel as a means of escaping the 9 to 5. Whether it be long term travellers doing it as a profession, gap year kids, or just your average tourist on their 2 week break abroad. One question I get asked all the time when I return back home for a bit though is what am I running from? I guess the title “Runaway Jane” goes towards some of that, but even before I had this blog people would always ask me why I chose to travel so much, and when would I eventually accept the so called “realities of life” and settle down…

Blog title aside, I guess some may be right in thinking I don’t want a life in the rat race, but I’d like to think as travellers we are running to something, not away. We’re running towards that feeling of freedom, life, and an array of experiences that we would never get back home. We’re running towards a life full of variety, culture, and excitement. We’re running towards something that allows us to do what we love every single day. For anyone who ever says to me I have to face the real world, I always respond with the same response and that is “this is the real world for me.” When you think about it, as travellers we have seen more of the world than the people who tend to say these things, and so in my mind I have a much better idea of the “real world” than they do because I have seen more than one side to it, and have more of a balanced view. Also, each persons reality is unique to their own. I am not criticizing anyone who chooses not to travel as we are all different people, and different things make us happy. I merely question what constitutes as “real life”, and whether or not travel is in fact a way of running away from it.

To flip the coin though, sometimes people need escapism from travel itself if they have been on the road for a few years. You often find that, particularly with long term travellers, after so long on the road their idea of a holiday is going home and lounging in front of the TV for a week. It’s a concept I find really interesting considering so many people use travel as a means to put some variety and excitement into their lives, yet still they can get jaded. I personally haven’t experienced much need to do this apart from one time when I got really ill whilst staying in a hostel. As much as I love the atmosphere of a backpacker hostel, it really isn’t a great place to be when you don’t feel great. If I could have swapped those 7 or 8 days for a week back home, wrapped up in a duvet, lots of chocolate, and someone to look after me it would have been great, but that’s just part and parcel of being on the road for while. The positives far outweigh the negatives in my opinion. I guess what I am saying though is that no matter what you are doing, you still need to escape from it sometimes.

Travel is not a way of escaping real life, it is a way of life just like any other.

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4 Responses to “Why Travel Is Not About Running Away”

  1. Anil says:

    This may sound a bit morbid but the way I see it is we’re all marching towards death. Many of us have the opportunity to decide the path we’ll take to get there. I prefer to see as much of the world as I can before the ride is over.

  2. jane says:

    Hey Anil, it’s an interesting take on life and I guess I’m kinda in the same mind as you. We only have one life so we might as well enjoy it. 🙂

  3. Hi Runaway- always did like your name and thought of you as a bit like a stowaway on a train going to your next adventure! Loved yr post- “running away” seems like a common misconception some people have about travelers whether we’re doing gap years or short term/long term. I think of traveling as having a romance with life and the world…a curiosity about other cultures, people & lifestyles and a way to satisfy that. If it were an obvious career path, I’d easily hop aboard. I guess that’s why some of us also attempt to look for careers or jobs which involve it… to make it more of a lifestyle 😉

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