Why travel?

Let me get something straight as a start. I consider travelling a luxury, and myself privileged to be able to experience everything that it comes with. The good and the bad.

I grew up in Hungary in the 1980s, where daily life as well as thoughts were heavily controlled by the Soviet Union, directly or indirectly. Travelling beyond the borders was not a given. I travelled a lot within the country with my family in my childhood, spending a week or two in some of the popular tourist destinations, but up until my teens, no one I knew could board a flight just because they needed a few days away or a swim in the ocean. Many travelled to the former member states of the Soviet Union as well as to the ‘mother country’ itself, mainly for work, studies, and forging connections. Leaving for the West though was not allowed for the majority. Some of the lucky ones who managed to obtain a visa somehow to ‘fairy lands’ like the US or the then West Germany, only returned after the change of regime in 1989. Or never again.

The first time I could feel and see the tarmac was when I accompanied my father on a business trip to Luxembourg. I was 20. I remember how bored and annoyed my fellow passengers looked like, and I could witness the same during my trips in the many years that followed. How could anyone be so disinterested while the clouds are gliding by within reach?

By now I am aware of the many reasons people take a flight for and I know that it’s not always a pleasurable one. Often it happens by necessity, and in such cases it may be understandable if the person sitting next to me spends the flight grudgingly. However, I feel that it became way too easy to travel for holiday or remote work. Every destination is a few clicks away and we don’t seem to appreciate what’s readily available, forgetting that being locked in their home country is still the reality for so many. Either because the ruling regime forbids travelling to foreign lands, or because poverty destined many to spending a lifetime where they were born.

I don’t have a bucket list of countries that I would like to visit. I don’t see the point of ticking one destination after the other and reaching a certain number by the age of whatever. It is not sustainable for anyone. I spend a longer period in a place and I return if I can, until I turn it into a second home. This kind of travelling requires the ability to understand that my way of thinking is only one of the many. You have to be like a sponge, letting in then out whatever comes. You absorb the things that will help your journey and let whatever feels harmful go. This includes people, places, goals, and dreams.

When you next find yourself in a foreign country, I want you to stop, look around, and feel the place. Observe how people live, hear them laugh, notice their struggles. See the connection between your world and theirs, and try to think into how their way of thinking helps to tackle life’s challenges the same way as yours do. There are so many routes to the same destination. Make sure you accept that you are a guest when you travel, that is, you are the one who has to adapt, not the other way around. Once you start being conscious about your surroundings, the experience of visiting a strange new place will inevitably transform the way you see people whose background seems indecipherable at first. It may even happen that you can ditch that bucket list because fewer and humbler experiences will enrich you more than any stay in an enclosed five-star hotel could. You will never know until you try.

When I started playing with the idea of choosing freelance writing as a career, it was clear that travel would be one of my niches. I would like to give a more nuanced picture of whatever destination I am hired to deal with, with a focus on introducing our similarities through our differences. Because when people from different backgrounds meet and work together, giving due respect to one another, magic happens.

Having a strong academic background in the social sciences, with several research trips behind my back, I can help you with the following types of travel writing:

  • blogs
  • destination articles
  • ‘how-to’ articles
  • itineraries
  • listicles
  • longform posts
  • op-eds
  • personal essays
  • press releases
  • round-ups
  • special events
  • special-interest articles

Walk with wonder in your eyes.

Booted feet walk in the late-autumn forest, with the ground covered by yellow and brown leaves.

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