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What We Travel For — Quote

The allure of travel is more than going to places and looking at stuff.

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“Sometimes you feel yourself weightless, thinned. You draw back the curtains (if there are any) on a rectangle of wasteland at dawn, and realise that you are cast adrift from everything that gave you identity. Thousands of miles from anyone who knows you, you have the illusion that your past is lighter, scarcely yours at all. Even your ties of love have been attenuated (the emergency satellite phone is in my rucksack, and nobody calls). Dangerously, you may come to feel invulnerable. You fear only your failure to understand or to reach where you are going. Sometimes you are moved by a kind of heartless curiosity, which shames you only on your return home. At other times you are touched, even torn; but you move on.” -Colin Thubron, Shadow of the Silk Road

That absolute feeling of detachment — that space to think and frolic in a little world that’s all your own, that feeling of absolute relaxation when sheer distance from the source renders commitment and obligation moot — is one of the hidden joys of travel, and is ultimately what ropes you in for the long haul. Travel is a psychological enema: you pass through security into the airport terminal, you buy your ticket and step onto the train platform and everything else just flows out and washes away.

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Filed under: Perpetual Travel, Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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