Updated: Feb 15, 2019

Illustration by Valery Lemay

This is a question that we at Trailblazer Travelz have given much thought to even before we launched. Though, we can never be able to understand and know the true reasons for every individual in the world who loves to travel, or would like to travel, however, there are few commonalities that may be universal. The reasons why people love to travel are varied. They’re also very personal. In eat, pray love for example, by Elizabeth Gilbert: Liz chronicles her trip around the world after her divorce and what she discovered during her travels. Liz embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India and Bali. This book and countless others have inspired many Americans and people around the world in understanding the essence and what it means to travel.

During the New York Times Travel Show in January 2019, Phil Rosenthal, the host and character in Netflix series, Somebody Feed Phil, talked about “travel as a privilege not a right, and added that when we travel, we are all ambassadors.” When you understand the definition of an ambassador, it’s only fair to say that this statement should be a good reminder to our responsibility as travelers.

If you have read books about travel or biography’s of some of the worlds most interesting people you will come across people such as, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Ibn Battuta, Stanley, Livingstone, Burton, Speke, including few expats, who have found new homes in foreign lands during their travels. Here are few reasons why we travel:

Human Desire for Exploration:

Throughout history, humankind has shared an innate trait – the desire to explore and travel. “Prehistoric men and women may have stood curiously at the opening to caves and wondered what was over the next hill,” states Bob Granath. Centuries later, as flying became more popular and commonplace, the nature of the air travel experience began to change. One can argue that travel is a human desire for exploration which can lead to discovery. Discovering new and interesting things, new ways to learn to live, new ways of discovering cultures, gastronomic delights, lifestyles, nature, wildlife, artistic expressions such as music, dance and arts; but most importantly finding ourselves and the essence of our own being. As Michael Crichton described it, “Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am... Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines... you are forced into direct experience [which] inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience.” As humans it is in our nature to evolve, grow and move around. Travel is also part of growing, evolving and discovering.

Understand and Broaden our Perspective:

The essence of travel in its truest form is the culmination of experiences and the stories that we tell because of those experiences. Which is why cognitive understanding, open mindedness and creativity are necessary if we are to live in a democratic society. One that foster understanding through dialogue and guides us to practice compassion and exercise universally recognized human rights, social cohesion and respect for our shared values, values that goes far beyond our differences, differences that often times leads to conflict, ignorance and misunderstanding. The fact is that, “better knowledge and recognition of our respective differences leads ultimately to better mutual understanding, with particular regard to those objectives we hold in common,” as stated in the UNESCO World Report, Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue. We need to be open minded in order to have a broader perspective or else we risk having a myopic view of the world and that’s not the world we live in.

Immersive Experiences:

Authentic experiences and storytelling have been the forefront of Trailblazer Travelz being. We believe that travel goes far beyond the traditional travel cycle. We want our customers to have a deeper connection with the places they travel to and meaningful and immersive experiences that appreciate local and indigenous cultures. Creating experiences that focus on local cultural integration, wellness, culinary fare, artistic expressions and collaborating with local communities is one of the best ways to immerse oneself and assimilate into a new culture; while at the same time being aware of cultural appropriation.

For instance, when you study the evolution of wildlife travel to Africa, you will learn that it all started when members of the British upper class traveling to Africa in the late 1800s and early- 1900s to seek glory and adventure. Many of the early explorers, such as Stanley, Livingstone, Burton, Speke, and others had opened up the continent, and European colonization followed (Hanbury-Tenison, R. 2010. The Great Explorers. London, KK: Thames and Hudson). Many of these early tourists were seeking to replicate the experiences chronicled in the writings of the early explorers, and many were big game hunters. The popularity of safari-type adventures during this period peaked when Earnest Hemingway, Mark Twain and former U.S. President and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt went on safari to East Africa to hunt big game from April 1909 to March 1910.

When Theodore Roosevelt declined to run again for the presidency in 1908. He anointed William Howard Taft, his close friend and Secretary of War as his successor. Immediately following Taft's inauguration in 1909, T.R. set out for Africa to hunt big game and collect specimens for the Smithsonian Institution. His decision was based on his desire to leave the political stage to his successor and on his natural need for action. In April 1909, he landed in Mambasa with his son Kermit. Roosevelt, at the head of a safari including 250 porters and guides, trekked across British East Africa, into the Belgian Congo and back to the Nile ending in Khartoum. The ex-president thoroughly enjoyed himself. The expedition collected 1,100 specimens, including 500 big game. "The most noteworthy collection of big animals that has ever come out of Africa" he exclaimed. What better story can one write about or tell his grand children.

To See Wildlife:

Why we go where we go, it is the animals, nature, etc.? For most people who wants to experience wildlife, nature and some other natural phenomenons, East and Southern Africa along with Asia are usually the prime destinations. An African Safari is usually on most people’s budget list experiences. The fact that one gets to get up close and personal with these magnificent animals in their natural habitats is truly an adventure. Animals such as lions, rhinos, buffalos, hippos, wildebeests, elephants, giraffes etc. in order words, seeing the big cats and the big five excites everyone. Take it from Disney’s the Lion King, have you ever met anyone in the world who doesn’t love that movie or don’t know the meaning of “Hakuna Matata”? …but before we digress too much or invoke more lyrics it’s only fitting to know where its inspiration came from. A trailer released in December 2018 nearly broke the internet when over 300 millions people view the 93 seconds trailer. Though a computer animation depicting the Savannah’s of Africa, the lion king is truly a classic and one of the worlds greatest stories told on the silver screen and on broadway.

A real life lion king is the magnificent Serengeti Plain of Tanzania and Kenya, where you can find of the most thrilling natural phenomenon - “the great migration. "There is a lightening of the spirit,” Cyril Connolly wrote about the vast plain. “There's more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done." When musicians Elton John and Tim Rice wrote the opening tune to Disney's "The Lion King," they were describing the "Circle of Life." However, this lyric serves as a fitting description for the world-renowned Serengeti Plain and the Serengeti National Park. The movie trailer for 2019 live-action version of “The Lion King” will be hitting theaters in July 2019, which like the original, “journeys to the African savannah where a future king must overcome betrayal and tragedy to assume his rightful place on Pride Rock.”

This is among the many reasons why we travel and go where we go. Imagine if they are no longer there? With this question in mind, we encourage our community and all our customers to become aware of sustainability initiatives when they travel. We promote Conservation, sustainability and community initiatives in all our tours so as promote responsible travel that seeks to protect and conserve the environment and protect local communities. Indigenous cultures are dying because they don’t have the resources to survive and thrive, and responsible tourism has been quite promising in these areas. Read more on our blog under topics: Responsible Travel, and Conservation.

Relaxing and Rejuvenating:

To the discerning traveler, adventurer, connoisseur, or thrilled seeker, traveling is life and it brings joy, a level fulfilment and better understanding of the world. When was the last time you actually travel to a completely different place that you are unfamiliar? It should be noted that traveling for business or incentive trips are one thing, however, traveling to a completely different part of the world that is unfamiliar yet safe completely disconnected from the phone, and the mundane life you are used to is far more exciting and better for our wellbeing and understanding of the world. Traveling the world is exciting, meeting people and learning about them and their culture, experiencing a culture shock, the varied and tasteful cuisines, nature, witnessing beautiful sunset and glimmering sunrises, stargazing all night and recharging has more health benefits for our mind, spirit and body and our perception of the world.

Here are some interesting facts to consider. A study published in Hostelworld Global Traveler Reported that Americans are half as likely as Europeans to go abroad and visit more than one country. “The average resident of the UK has visited 10 countries, Germans have seen eight, and the French traveled to five nations on average. But Americans? They tend to visit just three. In fact, 29 percent of American adults have never been abroad.” Americans do travel, however, it is usually to neighboring countries, mostly Canada or Mexico and countries in the Caribbean’s. Affordability is evidently a big factor — about 71 percent of Americans say it’s too expensive to leave the country — however, research show that that’s hardly the whole story. Considering, what all the travel and deal sites have to offer. Today you can travel abroad without ransacking your piggy bank with thorough planning and working with specialized travel consultants.

Also, travel enhances creativity. “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,“ explains, a professor and author, Adam Galinksy at Columbia Business School who researched the concrete links between creativity and international travel. This means that new sounds, sights and smells all spark the creativity synapses in the brain. Travel alone isn’t enough, according to the research; international travelers have to be purposeful about engaging. “The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion and adaptation. Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.” For the rest of the other health benefits visit our blog - Africa my Muse.

Here’s a short Video of the 2019 Lion King Trailer.

Feel free to let us know how you like this post and if you have any recommendations and or real life experiences that inspired or shift your perspective about traveling. If you like this post, complement with; Top 20 Countries in Africa that are Worth the Trip of a Lifetime

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