How Can Travel Be Defined?

The nature of travel is more than simple movement. Unlike the ritual processes of movement that we undergo in our daily lives, the notion of travel encapsulates a rupture and a disruption from the routines of transition within the confines of a fixed, predictable world.

The familiar trappings of the world that surround us can be defined by its appearance – seemingly stable and unchanging, they belie greater uncertainties beneath the surface. The private flat, the office, business and bar, the familiarity of the coffee shop chain, supermarkets, pre-packaged holidays and experiences. All of them deliver an image of comfort, profitability and stability that meet our desires for a brief period, but offers no true and lasting satisfaction.

Travel offers the opportunity to escape this world of empty facades, by shattering familiar illusions to reveal new environments, new networks, places and people. In doing so, the traveller seeks to experience the world in an unadulterated state – free of its illusions, and standing “as it really is”. However, to achieve such a violent disruption, it is necessary to create a “vehicle”, or support structure, that provides both physical and psychological support through the transition between the familiar and unfamiliar, into a world where its structures can no longer be taken for granted.

Regardless of whether the transition is temporary or permanent, it is a necessary one. Any disruption to the familiar, albeit illusory world of the everyday, requires effort and exertion to overcome the ingrained cultural structures of a mainstream, consumer-orientated society that is built on the grounds of distraction and deception. Established over a lifetime of sensory overstimulation, commercialised news, entertainment and culture, these structures are deeply rooted, and heavily influence an individual’s understanding of reality. In order to navigate through these established connections, an individual’s support structures and vehicles must function both strategically and tactically – with the ultimate aim being to evoke an existence “in the world” as it is, stripped from falsehoods. These require the detailed investigation of intensive and multi-layered interactions, with people, objects and networks, that is achieved through the medium of travel.

While the superficial world may be bound in media that constrain and limit perception, it also offers an opportunity to unravel it, to explore new possibilities for change. This can be seen through gaming culture, whereby a gamer can invent and imagine an alternative world that transports him into other spaces, undefined and unrestricted. Such a world is only limited by the gamer’s own sense of adventure and desire to explore, both characteristics which are in turn nurtured by the openness of the gaming environment.

This foundation of change and inventiveness can also be seen in other arts – music, for instance, creates and redefines an alternative space for thought, or what could simply be described as “using the imagination”. Both music and gaming culture achieve this transition from the ordinary to the extraordinary, by defining and reconfiguring existing boundaries. Time, energy and space itself can be rearranged, in order to allow the possibility of change. It is these newly configured spaces that an individual can then navigate and discover, through their unique vehicles and support structures.

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