In this post-pandemic world, the demand for leisure travel has never been higher. We all eagerly seek to indulge in "revenge traveling," even if it means paying a premium. Tourists flock to European hotspots in France, Spain, and Italy, despite constant flight delays, overcrowded streets, and tourist infrastructure. It's almost as if we're on a mission to travel, but what is the true meaning of traveling?
In this article, I would like to explore traveling from various perspectives — starting with the history behind a destination, the development of the aviation industry, and lastly, the modern-day impact of social media.
The History behind a destination plays a crucial role when it comes to traveling. The study of the past helps us understand the narrative of a place and the stories surrounding it before we even arrive at our destination. It's like understanding the nose of a wine, describing the aromas of a freshly uncorked bottle before even tasting the wine. This narrative can greatly affect how we experience and appreciate a destination. If you ever get the chance to visit Italy, consider these facts: Italy did not become a united country until 1861. Before then, it was divided into different kingdoms. Venice, at one point, was a republic that included regions such as Greece, Albania, Cyprus, and Slovenia. Even today, Venetian, the local language, is still understood and spoken by locals. Understanding history allows us to appreciate the unique cultural nuances that make each place special and gives us a deeper understanding of the people and their way of life.
The development of the aviation industry has revolutionized the way we travel. First, the invention of the jet engine plane allowed for safer and faster long-distance travel compared to ships– where it was not uncommon for sea voyages to take days, sometimes even weeks. Then came budget airlines, with cheaper airfares making travel accessible to wider demographics of people all over the world. Since these developments, travel has become synonymous with liberation and freedom in the modern world. Whether it’s a romantic honeymoon escape, soul-searching solo trip, weekend getaway, or a backpacking adventure between various continents and countries– The aviation industry has been the driving force behind globalization, connecting society and different cultures closer than they have ever been before. Unfortunately, the downside to this has been shown during the pandemic, where all airline operations and industries related to aviation suffered greatly, being highly susceptible to external factors such as government-mandated travel restrictions and inflation of fuel costs. From a customer standpoint, aside from the increase in flight cost and dissatisfaction, the longer-term effect is yet to be seen. It is safe to say, however, that changes in the aviation industry will have a strong impact on how society is shaped in the future.
Social media has undoubtedly played a role in reshaping the way we view travel. How many of us have taken the same photo of a scenic view a million times but never look at them again? As cliché as it sounds, we need to be more present and absorb that moment instead of snapping the perfect shot (unless that’s your job). When we seek travel inspiration, we are all inspired by travel content from influencers, but we forget the disillusion behind the reality that they wake up at sunrise to film, travel during off-peak seasons, and stage everything. We have a sense of disenchantment when we reach these destinations during peak season with overcrowded attractions.
From horseback to ships to modern airplanes, the way we travel has come a long way. In today’s world, it is something that is more accessible, and sometimes it’s interesting to examine this from another angle. I suggest we travel with intention and slow down in order to re-appreciate the moment, just like an old camera, which is authentic and purposeful. Moreover, I want to get lost in different cultures, learn more about others, and in the process, learn more about myself. These are travel memories that will last a lifetime.