When I was a little girl, I often would stare up into the sky and wonder how I could reach the rest of the world. You see, I though the clouds represented other islands, countries and even continents. I’m pretty sure, that is where my love for travel began. I remember twice climbing on the roof of our house in Puerto Rico, and jumping as high ask could to see if I could touch a cloud. Of course, the child is now all grown up and, understands geography much better, however, that desire to travel, and see the world never left. Still today, I often find myself looking at the clouds and longing for adventure.
During our recruitment time with Abante International, I come across many young people who are terrified of travel. It always surprises me when a young person tells me they have never gone anywhere. In my mind, I struggle to understand how someone could live in just one place for the rest of their lives, oblivious to all that’s waiting to be discovered. Then, I remember that I, too was once like that.
The first year Abante visited my home country, Puerto Rico, my husband led the team, while I stayed home in Atlanta working to help support ourselves, while our boys finished High School. I would often see the photos the team would post on Facebook and on our website, and honestly, most of the time, I felt jealous, but then other times, I’d ask myself, why in the world have I never gone to the rain forest in the island? Why is it my husband (who is not a native of the island) has seen more of the island and knows more than myself? I mean, that is kind of ridiculous, when you think of it. Funny thing is, even while I have lived in Atlanta, there are many interesting landmarks, and historical sites I have not visited, however, I have traveled all over Europe, the Caribbean, USA, and even some in Central America. Is there a name for this phenomenon?
“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” Robert Louis Stevenson
It is actually quite fascinating when you think of it. What are the factors that either prevent or encourage people to travel? I supposed for some there are certain phobias that get in the way of making the decision to go somewhere like, Aerophobia (Fear of Flying) claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), Mysophobia (Fear of Germs), Enochlophobia (Fear of Crowds), and xenophobia (fear of strangers), among others. All legit phobias, but what about the other less pedestrian phobias like, macrophobia (fear of waits), Thalassophobia (Fear of the Ocean), Nomophobia (fear of being out of mobile phone contact), Decidophobia (fear of making decisions), Chronophobia (fear of time and time moving forward), and Phobophobia (fear of having a phobia or fear), among others.
Travel phobias are so common that there is even an app for fear of flying: http://www.fearofflying.com/app/
Travel phobias are not the only factors that keep us from getting out and experiencing the world. D’Vera Cohn and Rich Morin conducted a survey, called The Pew Survey, that talks about this idea from a different perspective. The article is entitled; Who Moves? Who Stays Put? Where’s Home? Here’s an interesting except from the article:
“The Pew survey finds that stayers overwhelmingly say they remain because of family ties and because their hometowns are good places to raise children. Their life circumstances match those explanations. Most stayers say at least half a dozen members of their extended families live within an hour’s drive; for 40%, more than 10 relatives live nearby. A majority of stayers also cite a feeling of belonging as a major reason for staying put. Movers are far less likely to cite those kinds of ties. Fewer than four-in-ten say a major reason they moved to their current community has to do with family or child-rearing. Most movers have five or fewer extended-family members living within an hour’s drive of them, and 26% have none. The most popular reason that movers choose a new community, selected by a 44% plurality, is job or business opportunities, according to the Pew survey. About the same share of stayers (40%) cite job or business opportunities as a major reason for staying, but far more stayers choose reasons related to family and friends.” (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2008/12/17/who-moves-who-stays-put-wheres-home/)
I think, another reason why people stay put, and do not venture out of their familiar settings is because they lack the knowledge of how simple it is to “get out”. Most people I talk with (who’ve never traveled) often tell me, “oh, I couldn’t afford it”, or “I could never survive in another country”. Simply not true, however, they have made themselves to believe this fallacies. It only takes one trip, to realize how small the world can be. Don’t take me wrong, the word is big, actually quite huge, physically speaking, however, once you get out there, it shrinks by relationships gained, networking opportunities, historical insight, intellectual growth, and spiritual inspiration. There is so much input to be gained from traveling, and so much to discover about ourselves, and others. We shouldn’t let our fears or lack of information prevent us from venturing out into the unknown. With Google, and other search engines, research for traveling purposes has become easily accessible. There are no excuses for getting out there.
To help you overcome your fear of the expense of traveling, check out this article on cheap international flights: http://www.ytravelblog.com/cheap-international-flights/
Another great article with great tips for travel is: http://www.ytravelblog.com/how-to-save-money-on-travel/
If you are thinking of traveling for missions purposes, here is a good site with packing tips: http://preparemymission.com/packing-101/
This year, make it a point to do something different. Experience life in a different place. Learn new and profound things. Go out and meet new people. Serve others, and live-fully. Adventure awaits!