Bolivian festival in Buenos Aires

Why do we travel? Why do we have that desire, that yearning, to visit far away places?

What is it about our lives that we seek to fulfill elsewhere? Perhaps, it’s as simple as a curiosity about the world.

We’re faced with the appealing belief that there is more to life than the everyday encounters in our hometown, no matter how large. Tourists view Buenos Aires as an exotic destination, though porteños may twitch their noses, wondering why so many foreigners come here. Likewise, the curious porteño fills pulled elsewhere, possibly the very humdrum towns that we’ve gladly left behind. We all want to go somewhere else.

If travel is not about curiosity, experiencing a different culture, learning more about the world (and possibly ourselves), then is it nothing more than checking off a list of accomplishments – been there, done that?

For some, (many, most?), travel may manifest itself in that competitive breed of list checkers. But I would like to think that we have a deeper sense of purpose, even if our actions don’t always reveal that core. Yet, why do most travelers learn so little about the places they visit? Are they just not that curious? Do they not know what questions to ask, how to learn?

International travel costs thousands of dollars. If we pay that much for an experience, should it not damn well be life enhancing?

How should we prepare ourselves for encountering a distant part of the globe? How do we learn about a culture, a society, a place that is not ours?

In our travels how do we best engage our curiosity about the world?