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Catherine Dodd Corona

Why we travel. In the eyes of Iyer.

The nonreligious religious aspect for why we travel.

Progymnasmata: Chreia

In a world full of social media, selfie sticks, and full camera rolls it is hard to emphasize the magic of travel. It seems today that a large group of people only go on adventures for the pictures and audience that will see them. But I would argue that regardless of their aim internal growth is stapled to the experience. Iyer, a well known author on travel, highlights this romantic perspective on why we travel. While he has other aims in his essay, Why we travel, one of them is clearly the aspect that different cultures cause an internal awakening. He states, “in some sense, that all the significant movement we ever take is internal.” In this he exemplifies the significance of moving internally and growing. Not only do different cultures emphasize this internal movement but it places it on fast forward. Placing oneself in an uncomfortable, unknown is essential for internal growth. He also discusses meditation, and in a way how traveling can make reflection explode and speed up. Not necessarily reflection on the differences and similarities between culture but instead reflection on the inner being. This is a very religious, especially Buddhist, practice. He makes this point by first stating that he is not religious but this practice in a sense certainly is. He writes, “I’m not religious, but one beauty of a religious practice, I sense, is that though it does not infallibly give one solace or wisdom. It almost always leaves one with a greater sense of humility.” In a romantic sense he highlights this external, larger entity that we sense and feel, when we practice inward reflection. He also states that reflection caused by travel often does not instill solace or wisdom but leaves a person humbled by the grander entity. Which contradicts the reason lots of people travel, to gain wisdom and separate yourself from the well known. Even though these aims contradict themselves they are both good reasons to step into the unknown. This greater entity is the indescribable feeling of connection between different cultures. We travel for that reflection and connection to the greater world. 

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