Why Travel ? Why Bother?

Ratusan postingan berbagi cerita mengenai pengalaman menjelajahi destinasi wisata telah mengisi beberapa halaman, baik itu media online atau media cetak. Tujuannya sederhana: sharing is caring.

Tapi kalau diperhatikan lagi, ada satu hal yang tidak pernah saya lakukan, memaksa orang untuk melakukan perjalanan, menjadikan traveling sebagai hobi mereka, atau menyuruh orang lain berhenti kerja untuk keliling dunia. Perhatiin gak banyak sekali travel quote yang bersliweran di social media : quit your job & travel , yang menurut saya sangat bombastis.
Mengapa? Karena saya paham akan kebutuhan orang yang berbeda, kebutuhan sekunder untuk saya belum tentu untuk orang lain, demikian juga sebaliknya, kebutuhan memiliki kendaraan mewah untuk orang lain bukan kebutuhan untuk saya. Sederhana kan, semua adalah prioritas. Jumlah hari untuk cuti pada setiap orang saja berbeda.

Tapi yang saya mau orang tahu bahwa dunia itu menunggu untuk dijelajahi karena 1000 atau bahkan 10.000 kilometer dari tempat yang kamu pijak sekarang menawarkan suasana dan keadaan yang sama sekali berbeda. Raut wajah orang-orangnya, makanan yang biasa mereka konsumsi, cuaca nya, dan masih banyak lagi alasan lainnya yang perlu berlembar-lembar kertas untuk menulisnya. Apa gak bikin penasaran?

Saya sempat membaca sebuah goresan notes maya di halaman Facebook milik Elizabeth Gilbert, penulis Eat, Pray and Love. Seperti biasa tulisan Liz seperti punya nyawa, apalagi kali ini dia menulis mengenai mengapa dirinya menyukai traveling, padahal kalau dipikir-pikir biaya traveling itu gak kecil, kadang bikin stress juga, mulai dari ngurus visa sampai ngantri di imigrasi di bandara, ah you name it deh stress traveling itu buanyakkk sekali, tapi kenapa aktifitas yang satu ini selalu bikin kecanduan.
Setiap kalimat yang ditulis Liz membuat saya senyum-senyum sendiri sambil mengangguk setuju. Saya copy disini tulisan itu, siapa tahu menginspirasi. Jika pun tidak, ya tak mengapa 🙂

* **

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Why do we travel?

Dear Ones –

This is what jet-lag looks like on me, at 3am.

This is what my poor innocent bathroom mirror had to look at this morning, in the cruel, cruel pre-dawn hours.

11054402_853888534693263_6257654567672206939_n

Niiiiiiiiiccccceeeee.

I just got home from a three-week trip to Greece and Turkey, and at 3:00 this morning, jet-lagged and ragged as all hell, I pondered once more (under the harsh bathroom lights) this old question: WHY DO WE TRAVEL?

Because let’s be honest, you guys. Traveling is expensive, inconvenient, tiring, time-consuming and sometimes — like all interesting things (sex and creativity, for instance) — it’s even boring. You don’t speak the language, you don’t recognize the food, the toilets are confusing, the crowds at the museum are ridiculous, and sometimes (as happened last week in Greece) political situations can get uncertain and scary. Airports can be a nightmare, taxi rides can be life-threatening. You come home from your travels jet-lagged, sunburned, bloated. You come home to 900 unanswered emails, to piles of laundry, to stacks of unpaid bills. And you always come home WAY behind on every single obligation in your life.

Why bother?

Well, here’s why I bother:

Because if I hadn’t gone through all this expense and effort over these last few weeks, I would never have gotten to watch my mother drink wine in an Athens cafe, while basking in the warm golden/pink haze of a Grecian summer twilight.

I would never have been able to watch my beloved husband (who swore that he would hate sailing!) fall asleep on the deck of a gently rocking sailboat, with a smile on his face.

I would never have gotten to leap off that sailboat into cold turquoise waters, in a solitary cove in the Dodecanese Islands.

I would never have seen that old monk dutifully taking out his garbage that evening outside the monastery.

I would never have fallen asleep to the sound of goats conversing across Greece’s Zagorohoria mountains, and I would never have woken up to the call for prayer sounding across Turkey’s Carian Coast.

I never would have tasted cold Macedonian wine or fresh Turkish apricots.

I would never have been able to read Tennyson’s magnificent poem ULYSSES, in tears, while watching the sun go down over the Aegean Sea. (“Come my friends,” Tennyson entreats. “It is not too late to seek a newer world…”)

If I had stayed home these past three weeks, I would have accomplished absolutely everything that I need to be getting done right now. And I have a LOT that I need to be getting done right now. Staying home would have been perfectly fine, because I really enjoy my everyday life. But then — ten years from now — if you were to ask me, “What did you do in the summer of 2015?” I would draw a complete blank. I would remember nothing of those three weeks I’d spent at home, dutifully taking care of all my obligations. But now, if you someday ask me, “What did you do in the summer of 2015?” I will be able to say, “I was in Greece and Turkey, with my mother and my husband!” And a flood of memories (sights, sounds, smells, insights, love) will reignite my imagination.

There is nothing wrong with taking care of your obligations, mind you. I’m all about people meeting their responsibilities. I certainly try to meet mine. But if you spend too many years doing nothing but dutifully taking care of business, then there is the risk that all your days will meld together and become the same — an indistinguishable mass of responsibilities that you have met and obligations that you have handled. You will say, “Where did this summer go? Where did that decade go?”

If you are lucky enough or resourceful enough to find a way to break that chain of interchangeable days, try to do it. Try to ignite your years with something different, something that makes you jump the tracks of your daily life and pushes you to taste the new. Try to keep seeking out experiences that cannot be forgotten, even when it would be much easier and much more sensible at times to just stay home.

All of which is to say: I have just passed a memorable three weeks of adventure, shared with two people whom I love with all my heart — two people who will not live forever. I will not live forever either; that’s the contract. But I have filled my mind with stories and encounters and pictures that I get carry around with me to the end of my life.

I have given myself something to remember me by, when I am old.

That’s why I travel.

Come, my friends! It is not too late to seek a newer world!

(But first, that laundry…)

ONWARD,
LG

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22 thoughts on “Why Travel ? Why Bother?

  1. Dalem tulisannya, tapi bener juga loh pulang traveling itu capee dan belom lagi cucian numpuk. Apalagi kalo gak punya pembantu kaya aku. Lengkap banget. Tapi diluar itu semua traveling tetep ngangenin 🙂

  2. i follow her on facebook i read 2 of her books i love her eventhough ive never met her hehehehe, saya pengen keliling Jawa yang bahkan sesama jawa punya kultur beda, antara kediri blitar malang saja masih sama-sama jawa timur tapi gaya berbahasa kami berbeda. teman kediri saya biasanya menyebut orang ketiga (usia sebaya) dengan bocah, misal “bocahe wes budal” , untuk sebagian jawa timur lainnya khusunya malang surabaya dan sekitarnya, arek “areke wes budhal” anaknya sudah berangkat. blum lagi Banyuwangi satu daratan dengan pulau Jawa tapi bahasanya cukup beda mereka berbahasa osing/oseng. simple tapi bikin takjub 🙂

  3. Hihihihi. I’m living out the masses of obligations now yet still don’t get enough push to travel. Tapi gimanapun kalo pas jalan-jalan ya menikmati juga. Exactly for the same reasons. Terutama melihat kebahagiaan di wajah orang yang gw sayang. 😀

  4. Thanks Fe sudah berbagi tulisan ini. Semua memang balik lagi ke yang namanya pilihan ya. Tapi memilih untuk menciptakan memori dalam sebuah perjalanan itu juga tak kalah menyenangkan dan seru. Ibu yang mengajarkan anak2nya sejak kecil agar punya hobi bepergian. Pesannya “keluar sana, jangan cari aman terus dirumah. Ada yang lebih luas diluar sana untuk dikunjungi selain halaman rumah” kami kalo kumpul selalu bahas omongan ibu itu. Karena sekarang anak2nya doyan petakilan kesana kesini semuanya 🙂

  5. Baca tulisan ini senyum-senyum sendiri. Tentang bagaimana setahun yang lalu saya cuma bolak-balik museum-rumah-museum-rumah dan tiba-tiba mengambil ide gila untuk melihat benda-benda asli yang dipajang di museum itu pada tempatnya langsung–well, agaknya itu bukan keputusan yang salah.

    Menurut saya sih semua yang ada di hidup itu pilihan. Pilihan untuk being expert dengan daily obligations atau pilihan untuk going out there and exploring world like a sleuth (yes, that’s what I’m doing :haha). Setiap pilihan yang kita ambil pasti punya konsekuensi, entah tetap diam di rumah atau pergi ke luar dan mendapat banyak pengalaman, semua punya plus dan minusnya. Ketika saya memilih pergi, maka mesti siap dengan pekerjaan yang menanti di rumah untuk diselesaikan… yah, dinikmati saja. Kalau dinikmati, semua pasti terasa nyaman. Dan berhubung saya merasa nyaman dengan tumpukan pekerjaan (dan postingan!) yang menanti setelah balik traveling… kayaknya pilihan saya tidak salah.

  6. Aih sama an. Aku juga selalu stress sebelum traveling . Stress nunggu visa . Stress mau naik pesawat. Dan selalu khawatir kalo terjadi hal hal buruk. Dan setuju ama mbak Deny . Aku suka traveling, krn memory nya… Iya disaat aku ada waktu lowong, aku suka senyum senyum sendiri . Ingat pengalaman ku traveling

  7. That’s why you are one of my favourite travel bloggers, karena jij ngga pernah smugly pasang quote model maksa orang juga ikutan travelling 😉

    And Gilbert nailed it! I am doing what she mentioned at this very moment with my severely ill mother. We are making unforgettable memories by travellling together. Love this post!

  8. Traveling itu bukan panggilan hidupku. Tp aku bersyukur sempat merasakan tinggal di luar negeri setahun & setiap ada kesempatan (sependek apapun waktunya), aku usahakan menjelajah Sydney meski sekedar jalan kaki ke suburb yg penuh dgn bangunan menawan hati. Kuanggap setahun di Sydney itu yah samalah kayak jatah berlibur 10 tahun or even more, hehehehe.

  9. Kebutuhan dan kesukaan orang memang berbeda Fe, ada yang suka di dalam rumah aja karena nyaman dan bikin happy. Seringkali aku lihat travel Blogger itu kasih quote yang menghakimi orang karena gak traveling atau karena gak suka travelling. They need to learn from you bahwa kebutuhan orang beda2.

  10. Begitulah, setiap orang memiliki kebutuhan dan kesukaannya masing-masing ya. Asalkan dia happy ya fine-fine aja. Nggak harus kok untuk happy itu harus travelling, hehehe 🙂

  11. Suka bagian ini, Mbak..

    “If you are lucky enough or resourceful enough to find a way to break that chain of interchangeable days, try to do it. Try to ignite your years with something different, something that makes you jump the tracks of your daily life and pushes you to taste the new. Try to keep seeking out experiences that cannot be forgotten, even when it would be much easier and much more sensible at times to just stay home.”

    Bener kata Mbak Fe, kita suka traveling tapi nggak perlu memaksa orang utk menyukai hal yg sama dengan kita (apalagi sampai berpikir atau menyampaikan kalimat semacam kalau nggak suka traveling tuh nggak keren). It is true that everyone has her/his own priority in life.

    Makanya menurutku si Liz cukup bijak dengan mengawali kalimatnya dengan “If you are lucky enough or resourceful enough to…”

    Thanks for sharing ya, Mbak. 🙂

  12. Tulisannya langsung ngeklik. Beneran, Travelling nggak perlu maksa orang ikut dan nggak perlu dengerin orang yang melarang buat melakukannya as that people didnt give contribute to your journey cost or relative. Happy Travelling, thanks for sharing It.

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