Aldous Huxley was Correct about Travel

Shakespeare and Company

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Time for a “literary” post. Yay!

I didn’t like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”

I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!

I’ve always been more partial to George Orwell’s representation of dystopia in “1984.” Plus, when I read Brave New World, I was in the process of tackling a “100 Books Per Year” reading goal, which concluded with me skimming through thoughtful novels and not appreciating them. More isn’t always better, my friends.

So, I blame my dislike of Huxley’s world on both my love of Orwell and crappy desire to beat famous profiles’ reading goals on goodreads.com.

However, the other day, I stumbled upon an interesting quote written by Huxley himself. These words struck a cord with me far more than The World State and their weird reproduction rules:

“For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort.” – Aldous Huxley

This out of shape hiker is smiling with agreement. [Banff].
This out of shape hiker is smiling with agreement. [Banff, Canada].
Talk about speaking the truth!

As a blogger, I tend to focus on the amazing, inspiring, and earth-shattering parts of travel, although I did touch on the downsides when I explained 5 ways travel makes your life worse or at least more complicated.

However, it’s important to be honest about travel. Travel does – without a doubt – consume your money, time, energy, and comfort.

Let’s take the time to examine each pitfall, shall we?

The clock is ticking away. [Prague, Czech Republic]
The clock is ticking away. [Prague, Czech Republic]

1. Time

Argh, isn’t this sentiment true? I recently traveled for 6 and a half weeks in Central Europe. To do so, I missed out on many family events, including my cousin’s fiancee’s wedding/baby showers, and traditional 4th of July celebrations at the Jersey Shore. I heard details on the phone, but nothing can replace actually being present.

Now that I’m back in the States, I find myself returning to school in two weeks. What?

Was the trip still worth it? Totally! But we only have so much time. Making a decision between a familial obligation and impulsive trip is a reality for me and many others.

Also, as we Americans know too well, we receive the short end of the stick when it comes to vacation time. After asking around about this unique US phenomena, people don’t take time off to explore the world because:

1. they are scared their bosses will fire them for taking their entitled/contracted vacation time. Deport those employers to Mars, seriously.

2. they’re not even granted any vacation time at all.

Travel sucks away your time. For some people, said-precious time doesn’t exist due to professional and family obligations.

travel
I definitely have enough cash to afford this palace. Which is now a museum. [Vienna, Austria].

2. Money

As of right now? I don’t travel on sponsored press trips nor do I have a rich spouse fund my adventures. No trust fund either.

All my trips come directly from my own pocket. Even if I “made it big” in travel blogging, I’m sure I’d still pay for a chunk of my overseas adventures. Therefore I attempt to keep costs reasonable. I’m not an ultra budget traveler, yet I believe avoiding pricy package tours and luxury hotels results in more authentic experiences.

Currently, I travel in hostels – although my dorm days are numbered and my limit is 6 beds – as well as affordable and locally owned hotels. I want to try AirBnB in the near future, too. As for food, I aim to find local places without inflated tourists prices, eat at the market, and take picnics. Free attractions make my bank account sing for joy.

Regardless, traveling still requires a decent amount of cash to turn into a reality. For example, as a teacher, I’m limited to flying in peak periods, and sometimes I have to pay out of the nose for tickets (thanks, airlines).

Money and travel are linked. No money? No travel.

Travel
Move it and bike, kiddo! Move it! And ignore how loose my helmet is. I realize it was hazardous. [Aran Islands, Ireland].

3. Energy

Travel is utterly, absolutely, and truly exhausting. 

From jetlag to early morning trains to hikes in a national park to sightseeing in the heat, the physical exertion never, ever, ever ends. Sure, the sites and experiences are exhilarating and memorable, but they sap your energy. I know I have a difficult time catching up on sleep on the road, which makes the exhaustion even more pronounced.

Not to mention, travel consumes your mental energy, too.

I spend weeks researching every trip. Trust me, reading wikitravel and Lonely Planet and other travel blogs takes a toll on you after a few hours.

While I could opt for an all-inclusive resort on a Hawaiian beach, I still prefer the excitement of exploring a new city or white river rafting through a mountainside valley. I’ll just need to sleep for two weeks straight to feel normal again. No big deal.

travel
Gazing over this beautiful view of Dinant is comfortable. Travel, in general, however…

4. Comfort

Let’s start with the obvious response to this point. Long haul flights in economy class are not comfortable. Cramped 10 hour bus rides are not comfortable. Snorers in hostels dorms are not comfortable. Scorching hot temperatures and no air conditioner is not comfortable.

Honestly, unless you’re absolutely loaded with money and book first-class airline tickets and rooms at the Four Seasons for every trip, there are physical aspects of travel that test your patience.

Moving on.

Travel also sets off uncomfortable truths present in your own life. Perhaps your home country has flaws that you never realized prior to your trip. Perhaps your old high school friends don’t actually have much in common with you. Perhaps you don’t think your high-powered business career is such a good fit anymore.

To me, travel is far more than ticking off “must see attractions” and eating delicious food. Travel challenges my preconceptions of the world and its inhabitants, and some realizations shake you to the core. Be prepared.

Yet every dime and second is worth spending for this view in Austria.
Yet every dime, minute, and sleepless night is worth spending for this view in Austria.

Do you agree with Huxley’s quote about travel? Why or why not? What are some of your favorite travel quotes? Also, check out my profile on Bloglovin’.

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