¿Can you imagine a world without travel?

¿Can you imagine a world without travel? Neither can I.

When I was 16 years old, I started my first job working at the surf shop in my hometown of Irvine, California. The days were slow, and in between re-stocking, dusting surfboards, and folding clothes, I would browse through the beautiful surf photography books for sale. In the back of one of those books, I found this quote:

“Travel keeps you young. It does this by simply putting you in situations that make you feel like a child again. Magically lost in a moment of discovery. Beautifully confused. It could be the first time you awaken to the 5:00 am call to prayer from the local mosque on Morocco’s far Atlantic shore, the first time you feel the weight of the Egyptian sun on your shoulders, the first time you paddle out over the shallow reefs of the Caribbean or the first time you realize that people living in squalor can achieve happiness as easily as those living in mansions. There are life’s opportunities to shed the hustle of modernity, to join the moment, and stop sprinting toward some prefabricated goal. Your heart races. Your metabolism shifts into a lower gear. Everything is new again. You’re sipping jetstreams.”

My life took on new meaning after I read that quote. Everything I saw described, I wanted to experience for myself. I saved 2 years worth of minimum wage, and left on my first solo trip to Europe.

Fast forward to today. I live in beautiful Costa Rica, where an hour drive can look like a completely different world. But during these unprecedented times, even a dip in the ocean is forbidden. And so I’m confined to my one-bedroom apartment thinking, can I imagine a world without travel?

The truth is, for some of us, travel isn’t something we want. It’s something we need. Our bodies crave it. We seek to leave our routine and experience the extraordinary. We desire the unfamiliar because it makes us feel alive.

But more importantly, travel is knowledge. It connects us. In a world where politics, war, and in this special case, a virus, strive to separate us, travel is there to unite us. To see the commonalities between a rice farmer in rural Thailand and a baker in Southern Italy. I am a firm believer that travel is a form of education. Oftentimes a more powerful one than traditional classroom education. Travel teaches you about who you are and the world around you. It teaches you that we as humans, although we live vastly different lives, are alike in our core. Travel can demolish racism, intolerance, and ignorance. In my opinion, that knowledge is more powerful than anything I’ve ever learned in school. 

A world without travel is a dangerous one. A world without travel is a close-minded one. A world without travel is a world without progress. Will my nephew grow up to experience sunrise at Machu Picchu? Will he be motivated to learn a second or third language after backpacking through Brazil? These are the questions running through my mind as I read the news.  

Author: Delphine Zebouloun

Delphine Zeboulon

Delphine is a lover of nature and the outdoors. It’s no wonder she moved to Costa Rica 6 years ago. She has over 8 years of experience in the tourism industry, focusing on sustainable and community-based travel. When Delphine isn’t working, you can find her surfing in Guanacaste, hiking in Heredia or making arepas with la suegra. 

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