We get bombarded by travel inspiration every day. Travelling vicariously is probably the most popular form of travel of all. Exposure to television commercials, programmes and documentaries which can whisk us off to the most distant and exotic destinations at the flick of a switch. Epic movies are cinematic events, circumnavigating the planet within the space of two hours or even orbiting our world and viewing it as a small blue-green marble.
Fuelling the Wanderlust
Travel literature has been around longer than the phrase itself. The works of RS Stevenson or Mark Twain have inspired countless young imaginations to travel far beyond the confines of torch-lit bed linen tents. Milton has provided inspiration for many generations of travellers. Stunning coffee table books and travel publications offer still further fuel for armchair travellers. The internet is the latest source, viral social media and ‘smoasting’, blogs and commercial travel websites all plant the seeds of wanderlust.
They are merely the sources of inspiration; the catalysts. A breath-taking image may provide the first spark but imagination requires to go beyond the picture, to fill in the gaps that turn a fleeting glimpse into a dream destination. It is one resource available to all.
“Regardless of how far we travel, our imagination will always have travelled further”
Imagination is limitless, it can take us anywhere, far beyond the confines of our own situation or even planet. Even when only providing the most fleeting glimpse of a possible destination our mind is capable of taking us there. It is a powerful tool that uses fragments of existing knowledge, combining even memories buried deep within our subconscious to take us on an amazingly detailed journey.
It is timeless, there isn’t any reason an office worker with only two weeks holiday can’t take a six month sabbatical sailing to Tristan de Cunha within a single dream. We can travel with anybody; guys fancy an afternoon by a tropical lagoon with Halle Berry or ladies, maybe sipping cocktails with Robert Pattinson poolside in Hawaii?
It is possible to even escape our personality; becoming James Bond, battling evil baddies, drinking Bollinger champagne and fornicating our way around the world in service of Queen and country. Hell we can even travel through time! It’s a little like the film “Total Recall” without the threat of being lobotomised.
Many people now have bucket-lists, detailed goals and dreams they hope to fulfill before they reach their final resting place. It seems reasonable to assume that several destinations on most lists are added without any real knowledge of the place. The first spark of inspiration provided by a short article or single photograph but imagination requiring it be added to the list.
Our imagination can take us anywhere, anytime and with anyone, it is without boundaries. It is possible to explore the bottom of the Mariana Trench or a Black Hole in space. Haven’t done this already… your imagination is selling you short!
In dreams the realities of travel do not exist, everything is all plain sailing. Why waste time dreaming of possible challenges; obtaining visas, crossing difficult borders manned by officious and often corrupt guards? It seems unlikely we will dream of flight delays, visiting over-hyped tourist attractions, sleepless nights in noisy hostels, we will never be scammed and our money never lost or stolen. You do…. you worry too much, dream about perfect paradises!
Dreams are available to all, it is a commodity everybody can afford. The circumstances of an individual will of course likely shape these dreams. A starving child in Somalia certainly dreams of a full belly and a homeless person in any of our great cities just wants to dream in a warm place. Our imagination transports us beyond the confines of our personal situation. It maybe naïve but hopefully even the most destitute may sometimes enjoy the luxury of dreaming on a grander scale.
Day dreamers are often a maligned species, they are somehow tainted and accused of never likely to achieve anything. Really? I submit that the greatest explorers, statesmen and entrepreneurs all probably started out as dreamers. Do not be afraid to dream, imagination is a powerful tool, without it there would be little creativity in our world, it would be a dull place to hang out.
There is a downside; arriving at that dream destination full of anticipation, preconceptions can often lead to disappointment. Even paradise will rarely deliver if the bar is set too high. It maybe easier to say than do, but attempt to temper the anticipation. Travel with an attitude for adventure and see the world through the eyes of a child. A sense of wonder makes every journey an adventure.
Our planet is shrinking, as technology continues to advance. Air travel has brought even the most remote location within reach of many. Travel to the polar regions has never been more popular, space travel will soon be possible, we can book rooms in hotels beneath the ocean or made of ice. I am grateful there are still places that will remain beyond our reach and are only possible through mind travel.
Having dreams is perfectly natural and is not to be scorned, travelling vicariously through the experiences of others is the only option for some. It is healthy however to also have achievable dreams. The impossible maybe a pleasant distraction, but for a truly fulfilling life, we need to reach out and occasionally touch our dreams.