Does Travel Prevent Us From Seeing The Beauties Of The World?
I’ve been browsing through old travel pictures lately. Not just because we can’t really travel these days, but also because they take up too much space and we’ve never ever even bothered to watch them. So why not now? It’s an unwatchable amount of pictures, by the way. And I delete tons of them during the process. But what surprises me about them is not just how bad their quality is, the lights, the composition, everything. (Really, who took pictures like these? It was me… back then. Looks like I’m improving.) It’s also strange to see what I held worthy of a photo. Well, almost everything. 😛
From ducks and squirrels in London’s Hyde Park to rooms and bathrooms in different hostels and hotels. God, I even got myself photographed with a Starbucks on our first visit to London. Unlike now, there was no Starbucks in Hungary at that time. And while it’s ridiculous to see that I took a picture of every single skyscraper in London, I also feel a bit envious of the person I was back then. Because I was astonished by every single skyscraper in London! I’ve never been to such a giant city before, and it blew my socks off. But I could never feel that way again – about London or any other metropolis.
Here’s a lame selfie of at least something noteworthy:
Having travelled a lot in the past decade, I have a different perspective now. I’ve seen giant cities and castles, magnificent architecture, stunning views, mighty mountains and waterfalls, fabulous lakes and canyons. A lot of them took my breath away. But the more I encountered, the harder it was for them to knock me off my feet.
The more wow-moments I had on the road, the harder it became to get another one. A friend enthusiastically tells me about a place she visited, and I’m excited to go there myself, but then it couldn’t live up to my expectations of an “amazing, lively city”. I don’t feel it’s one of the best cities I’ve ever seen, because I’ve been to countless cities, and it’s just impossible to feel that way about all of them. I still appreciate most of the places I get to visit, but more of them tend to be “Oh, it’s really nice here” instead of “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before!”. Although the longer we can’t travel anywhere, the more likely this will change. Will it?
Our fast-growing and curious baby boy also makes me realize this on a whole different scale. He finds every single thing super interesting. He doesn’t need a giant city or a stunning waterfall to be impressed. Just show him a pebble or a leaf. But he’s equally excited about trash cans, empty plastic bottles, rolls of toilet paper, not to mention a vacuum cleaner in operation. To him the world is new and full of excitement, while for me… well, it’s just as is. I find nothing exciting in vacuum cleaning, unfortunately.
What am I about to say with all this? I don’t know. They just make me think how strange we humans are. We’re eager to experience something special, but the more often we get to experience it, the less special we actually find it. And while we know that it’s special, we don’t feel it after a while. Travel gives us a chance to experience countless new things, but it diminishes our excitement with time.
I think, in the end, it all comes down to what’s inside us. We don’t see the world how it is. (That would be too simple, after all.) We see the world how we are. We can learn to look at things with fresh eyes. We can be aware of our biases. We can learn not to have expectations. But as our experiences shape us, we’ll experience things differently than before. We can’t help that. And we better take care of that excited child who’s inside all of us.
Note: most of the shots were taken on our recent trip to Lake Bohinj, Slovenia – in case you’re curious which place could be this special and unique and breathtaking and simply perfect. Or how much my photography skills improved since London, 2013.
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