I’m a big fan of CNN Business Traveller, which I think is one of the few shows which covers travel in a fair and consistent way. For that matter I’m also a big fan of Richard Quest, who is a true aviation geek and road warrior. He’s one of the few mainstream media people covering travel who actually knows what he’s talking about.
I watch CNN Business Traveller every month, though found this month’s episode to be especially interesting, as it focuses on travel woes, and specifically the trials and tribulations of being a frequent traveler. Here’s the preview for this month’s show:
You can watch the full episode here, or also read the story about the episode if you’re not a visual person. But I think this episode, and in particular the first segment, will resonate with a lot of road warriors. While they speak with a doctor and a researcher, I think the insight from the business traveler is perhaps the most relatable to many. The discussion goes something like this:
“Do you still enjoy it?”
“You know, I think at some point it’s hard to say enjoy. It’s something you can’t live without.”
“It is a love-hate relationship. There is a glamor to it, there’s an achievement. They’ve gamified the system to where you really want to earn that badge. But yet, the toll it takes on your personal, professional, and marital life is significant. Yet we keep doing this.”
“Do you ever feel lonely?”
“You see these amazing places, and then you realize you have virtually no one to share it with.”
“How long will you keep doing this?”
“As long as they let me do this. We complain about it but we don’t stop doing it. We like going out and seeing the world.”
Hearing that reminded me of “the curse of the traveler” which I first wrote about last September:
An old vagabond in his 60s told me about it over a beer in Central America, goes something like this: The more places you see, the more things you see that appeal to you, but no one place has them all. In fact, each place has a smaller and smaller percentage of the things you love, the more things you see. It drives you, even subconsciously, to keep looking, for a place not that’s perfect (we all know there’s no Shangri-La), but just for a place that’s “just right for you.” But the curse is that the odds of finding “just right” get smaller, not larger, the more you experience. So you keep looking even more, but it always gets worse the more you see. This is Part A of the Curse.
Part B is relationships. The more you travel, the more numerous and profoundly varied the relationships you will have. But the more people you meet, the more diffused your time is with any of them. Since all these people can’t travel with you, it becomes more and more difficult to cultivate long term relationships the more you travel. Yet you keep traveling, and keep meeting amazing people, so it feels fulfilling, but eventually, you miss them all, and many have all but forgotten who you are. And then you make up for it by staying put somewhere long enough to develop roots and cultivate stronger relationships, but these people will never know what you know or see what you’ve seen, and you will always feel a tinge of loneliness, and you will want to tell your stories just a little bit more than they will want to hear them. The reason this is part of the Curse is that it gets worse the more you travel, yet travel seems to be a cure for a while.
None of this is to suggest that one should ever reduce travel. It’s just a warning to young Travelers, to expect, as part of the price, a rich life tinged with a bit of sadness and loneliness, and angst that’s like the same nostalgia everyone feels for special parts of their past, except multiplied by a thousand.
All very thought provoking, in my opinion!