What Is The Purpose of Traveling?

“Not all those who wander are lost”
J. R. R. Tolkien

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Full of Wonder, Photograph by Suzanne Lorenz

I come from multiple generations of travelers and wanderers. It seems to be in my genetic make up to “see what’s on the other side of the hill”. What is confusing is that I equally love the security of home. My connections to my family, my community and my routines are very meaningful and a big part of what I value in life. Traveling takes time, money and a commitment to uncertainty, the unknown of strange places, landscapes and people. So, what’s the allure?

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Beauty, Beauty, Beauty, Photograph by Suzanne Lorenz

When traveling, life seems uncomplicated. Sam and I make a decision where and when to go, a plan to have the time, money and energy it takes. Then we go. I love the simplicity and joy of traveling to unknown places. I’m a curious person. Where does this road lead?

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Glacial View, Photograph by Suzanne Lorenz

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” Ansel Adams

I’m a photographer so I want to see things, really see them. When I look, I focus on what I’m seeing both emotionally, physically and spiritually. As a photographer, my seeing is enhanced by the process of mindfully recognizing beauty, stopping and giving that scene my full attention, then pressing the shutter (shudder!) of my camera. That click, that connection, resonates internally like the connection of a club hitting a golf ball, or a bat connecting  with a baseball. All my pleasure center neurons are firing, serotonin is releasing. Joy and reward. I also want to share the beauty with others so they will love and appreciate our beautiful earth and want to preserve its treasures.
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Calgary, Canada Sunrise, Photograph by Suzanne Lorenz

Miles pass by in the changing colors of trees
Grief and sorrow forgotten in the warm autumn breeze
As the greens turn to yellow, orange and gold
My crosswinds quiet in nature’s hold.
Suzanne Lorenz

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Changing Leaves, Photograph by Suzanne Lorenz

Traveling also involves grief. I arrive at a place, get to know it through all my senses, sight and sound, then I choose to leave it and grieve it knowing I will never be back in the same way again. Sometimes I take photographs to capture a memory and an emotion that will be lost.

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All is Well, Photograph by Suzanne Lorenz

Here’s what some of my friends say traveling is to them:
“Traveling reduces my anxiety of feeling stuck. It offers a sense of freedom” Jean

“I traveled to  experience the world, to learn about the world and experience it through life . I have traveled the whole world starting when I was 14. I told my dad I’m not going to school but I was going to learn and educate myself through travel, and I did. I’ve been everywhere in the world, seen everything. I’m almost done now.” Zaidah
What is traveling for you?

Education? Art? Freedom? Beauty? Relationship? Spirituality? These seem very familiar values. What is the value and purpose of traveling? For me it’s all of the above values and the immense privilege to live out my days staying in balance with myself, my partner and the world to which I want to make contributions. In a small town cafe I read an article in a local newsmagazine and found this quote: “The top three most popular bucket list items are: 1. Offer support to a humanitarian cause, 2. Write a book, 3. Pursue a passion.” I do this by traveling and by staying home. Both have an equal purpose for this strange journey we’re on.

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Leaves and Stone, Photograph by Suzanne Lorenz

8 thoughts on “What Is The Purpose of Traveling?”

  1. I love these beautiful photos and your thoughts on travel. As a Sagittarius I love to travel, and then with all my earth, lots of planets in Virgo and Capricorn, I love to root down in one place and really get to know that one place well.

    When I travel, seeing new things gives me fresh ideas and insights into my life. I return home inspired and on fire for the next chapter. If I travel too much I start to feel ungrounded so when I’m home I try to stick around a bit. Then I really feel the joy of hitting the road when I am ready for an adventure.

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