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What Travel Wants From You

why do you travel

If travel is a person, what does it want from you?

Money”. Perhaps you’d say with no mental effort.

Well, I would be mendacious if I disagree. You need money for travel. In fact, long before you complete your itinerary, you’d have to pay for plane tickets or make reservations that require payments in advance.

BUT is it just about money?




So why do you travel?

Do you travel for luxury?

Do you collect instant “pogi” points when you brag about your recent adventure?

Do you want healing?

Do you want to flaunt your OOTD with heritage sites on your background?

Do you want to overcome your fears? Challenge yourself?

Do you want to meet new friends?

Or meet silence?



Watched the sunrise and the sea of tourists in the Angkor Wat


The reasons are many but the great question is, are you traveling for the right reason?

While most travelers are on the way to finish their ‘epic journey’, some still get stuck in the planning and worse, get discouraged by the idea that travel is for the ‘rich and famous’… They are misled. It is LUXURY TRAVEL that is for the rich and famous. If you take out luxury in travel, it’s still travel but only different. And traveling differently doesn’t make your travel any less valuable. So if you doubt you can have inexpensive but enriching travel, think again.

You’ve read tons of articles about why you should travel, why it’s good for you, why you should do it now and some even encourage you to quit your day job and backpack the world. Yes. It sounds inviting. And I’m in no way stopping you. But hold that thought for a moment and fairly ask yourself, “Am I prepared enough?”



Let’s say you have the right reasons to travel and you are ready. Another important thought to consider is what travel REALLY wants from you.

  1. Travel wants your awareness


osaka, japan

At the Dotonbori walk in Osaka


Travel offers you a place to meet a diversity of people with a diversity of culture. It wants you to be aware of these differences and develop a more accepting attitude. With your awareness you can eliminate prejudices and stereotypes that hinder genuine social connection.

Also, travel showcases the unparalleled beauty of our world. Travel wants you to be aware of this. To make it a driving force to seek more adventure, to look forward to another day, to never lose interest.

  1. Travel wants your desire for meaning


japanese people

Locals and tourists in Hokkaido waiting to cross the pedestrian lane


If you desire for the superficial, you would be content to just visit a place, take pictures and afterwards leave. But if you desire for meaning, you can be motivated to interact with the local people—observe them, learn about their ways and their useful qualities as well as share your own learning.

If you desire for meaning, you can turn your travel into a life-changing experience and provide a positive impact to the world.

The historian Mary Ritter Beard puts it more beautifully: “Indeed, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

  1. Travel wants your appreciation for humanity


train station

At a station in Osaka


How many people are guilty of not wanting to talk to someone they feel different from them? Maybe different in terms of physical features, or of a different race, or social status, or religion?

Love and kindness. These are among the powerful values that lie within each person no matter where he or she is from. It may seem that people don’t have these values because they are passive or tired or shy or even frustrated. But travel has a way of showing you, they actually do.

I remember when I traveled to Japan for the first time. Before going there my stereotype was that Japanese are indifferent, hence I expected little to no help. I thought it would really be impossible to have a conversation with them knowing they are reluctant to speak in English. But I’m glad I was wrong. Many times was I helped by random strangers who spoke NO-EIGO. With their body language, they helped me find my way or taught me how to properly use some stuff.

In Kota Kinabalu, I met a taxi driver who was considerate enough to accept my Philippine coins because I told him I ran out of cash. Another cab driver from Malé restored my faith in humanity when he returned my change after I mistakenly paid more than my fare. A small diner owner in the same city agreed to keep our huge suitcases and looked after them while we tried to secure our ferry tickets. He refused to accept our pay.

Travel shows that there is never a scarcity of kind-hearted people. And with this, travel wants your appreciation. How do you appreciate a good deed? You return the favor. You pay it forward. You try to do simple acts of kindness or be the spark of kindness that our world greatly needs.



Trick art photo at Art in Island, Philippines



It’s one thing to know what you want for your travel, it’s another thing to know what travel wants from you. You can have your own motives for your travel and achieve such motives, but not always to its full potential.

Travel wants your awareness, your desire for meaning, and your appreciation for humanity. With these attributes, you are able to generate empathy and stronger connection to the world, thus become a better human being in a better world.



Thirty years from now, if you are of my age, you’d be retiring from work. By then, you will have lost excuses to NOT travel. But who knows how long you are here for? Travel now. Travel next month, or travel next year. It’s definitely on your terms. But as soon as you finish your itinerary, and list what you want from your travel, take equal time to contemplate on what travel wants…

Travel may want something  from you but it never imposes. Like love, it will only  reach its culmination if it’s requited. Final question is, are you willing to reciprocate?



  • I definitely agree on this. Travelling is not about us–either for getting away, for relaxation, to heal a broken heart or what. Traveling also wants us to appreciate the things we seldom take advantage of or the things we rarely appreciate.

  • Loved this post! Travelling is all about learning about new cultures and lifestyle and respecting them. To come out of our comfort zone and accept the world as it is.

  • I absolutely love to travel. Well it is a very big part of me. If travel is a person, I can say that it is a professional who has expertise in imparting knowledge, ideas, good/ bad experiences and how to live with it positively. It could also be a doctor or a therapist that will help you to be stress-free and forget all the pain. 🙂

  • Very good and different take on travel.
    I have been subconsciously doing the same. I like to interact with locals at destinations.
    I can never go by looks and other external features and create a mind block.

  • Very insightful. Actually, you are right. When we travel, our travel wants us to be much more compassionate, respectful of other cultures and diverse in our thoughts than when we are confined to our home and city

  • I’ve never really thought about what travel wants from me but I wouldn’t think that if it were a person it wants money from me. Money is just a small part of the equation for me. When I travel, I’m always after the experience and the things that I would learn from it. So yes, I agree with what you said. Most probably those are the things that travel wants from us. And if I may add, travel wants us to be open-minded. To really understand that there are differences in religion, tradition, and culture that we should respect.

  • Awesome post! People often don’t realise that as much as travel gives – it really does expect a little bit in return. Like any good relationship – it’s all about a bit of give and take!

  • So true….people just don’t want to face the other side of traveling and just end up blaming on the money….and say it’s only for richer class of our society

  • I am willing to reciprocate! Ill try to appreciate humanity more and spread live and kindness here or abroad!!

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