I love to travel. Anyone who knows me well enough will tell you that it’s true. I’m no expert, but before this class I undoubtedly would have been able to provide you with, what I would have thought, a reasonable definition. I would have told you that travel is a physical action, a movement from point A to point B. I would have said that there is a destination, and a point of return. Yet from this class, I have learned that travel is so much more, and in ways, so much less than that physical motion I once thought to be so intrinsically tied with the word. Travel is a matter of perspective; it is what the traveller decides it is.
We have encountered all sorts of travel in this class. For me, the most expected were the long distance journeys, such as those we experienced in Kerouac’s On the Road or Lewis’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader. What I never dreamed of were the other types of travel we studied. Travel through education (Kolvenbach and King), travel through memory, storytelling, and survival (Fiegel, Danticat, Spiegelman), or even (get ready for this one) travel through tattoo (Wendt, Hau’ofa, Ellis). These were things I never anticipated; actions I would have never deemed “travel” before this class. Yet now I understand, as Calvino suggests, travel is all about perspective. It is about observing life and deciding what to do with it. It is about awareness, reflection, and empowerment. You never even have to move in order to experience it. From what I’ve learned, travel is the most beautiful, most transformative, expression of self-centeredness a person can experience.