Does Travel Change Us? The Debate Goes On.

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  08.09.11 | 8:21 AM ET

A few months back, we blogged about a provocative essay by Caitlin Rolls that argued against travel as a life-changing force. Now The Smart Set’s Jessa Crispin has weighed in too, touching on everything from Rolls’ essay to Tony Hiss’ concept of “deep travel” to Crispin’s own early travels.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

5 Comments for Does Travel Change Us? The Debate Goes On.

Chris 08.09.11 | 10:27 PM ET

The funny thing about this “debate” is that anyone debating it is assuming there is a right or wrong way to travel, a right or wrong motivation to travel, a right or wrong outcome to travel. Everyone travels differently with different goals, hopes, expectations and results. None of them are particularly the right or wrong way. But there will always be someone trying to convince you their way was more real, more authentic, more transformative or more valuable. And there will always be a contrarian convincing you it was none of the above.

Henry Williams 08.10.11 | 10:12 AM ET

travel does change us because anytime you get to be in a different part of the world you’re not used to you see how people are so different and cultures vary from place to place

Davis 08.18.11 | 11:56 AM ET

Travel certainly can change us.  It’s just that most of us know a lot of people whom it hasn’t changed.

It is flattering to think that if they had just traveled the way we told them to, that they would have come back transfigured, but I have known a lot of people of whom I do not think that would be true.

Coolmons Blog 08.21.11 | 12:30 AM ET

I feel that travel does change us. If the so called vacation doesn’t take you out of your normal routine and experiences in an interesting, fun and relaxing way, whats the point of going.

Sagar 09.14.11 | 3:51 PM ET

Woah! As a person who strongly believes that travel can change a person for the better I feel kind of offended by the opinions of people who think otherwise.

As Chris rightly mentioned, there is no wrong or right way of travel.  But if you want your travel experiences to change you as a person then you need to travel for a considerable length of time. One week in Paris will not change you, a month is France in 4 different cities will definitely bring about a positive change.  And this one month should be spent with the locals trying to live with and understand them. Immersing yourself in the local culture is the best way to learn things about another country and also about your own. That is the positive change. You realize that the “way things are done” in your country or culture is not the “only way of doing things.”

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