Why do we travel? And what does it do to our psyche?
This year has been one with a number of interesting travel excursions for me, some work related and others more personal with family. As 2017 draws to a close, I am headed out again with my family to visit India.
We often travel for work to accomplish certain tasks that are not possible without face-to face-interactions, in spite of the tremendous growth in technological communication. For instance, we may attend a conference in our professional disciplines to present a paper or interact with our peers. We may attend a meeting of a board or committee where a compressed schedule is prepared for us to have discussions and possibly vote on certain changes. These work-related trips often require preparation, such as developing and rehearsing a presentation or reviewing the meeting materials.
I had the opportunity to embark upon three work-related trips this year and all resulted in interesting post-travel thoughts:
A trip that I took this summer with my wife to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary more than made up for any stressful experiences. We went to Paris and Barcelona and enjoyed the unique flavor of the rich experiences offered by these two amazing cities. We found nice, small boutique hotels to stay in the heart of the cities and were able to mix the organized sightseeing activities with our own excursions using public transportation.
We were able to also fulfill one of my obsessions: trains. We took the high-speed TGV train for a day trip from Paris to Lille, where we stumbled upon a local festival in the town square. A euphoric and very memorable experience.
Everyone should try to fit in some travel in their lives that expands their boundaries of cultural and social interactions.
Once we overcome the apprehension of upcoming travel, whether due to the unknowns related to visiting somewhere for the first time or having to prepare extensively, we should certainly make the most of the experiences.
After my experiences from travel this year, I am less apprehensive and expect to enjoy all the benefits that may come with each trip. I want to go beyond any limits of my current understanding of the places visited and learn more about them.
I want to experience the euphoria!
Manoj Chopra is a professor of civil engineering in UCF’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering. He can be reached at Manoj.Chopra@ucf.edu.