Travel is said to be the only expense that makes you richer. Certainly, there are more and more people who save regularly to travel, investing an important part of their time finding out about destinations, offers or matching dates with companions.
Recently in western society for more and more people traveling is not a luxury but a necessity. However, the trip has different meanings or functions for each one. Can it become something problematic? And if so, where does it begin to be?
It is an Anglo-Saxon term that comes from wonder (wander) and lust (passion) and means a passion for traveling. For many, traveling is an activator of happiness. Knowing new places, contacting other cultures and ways of life can become an important motivation. At the brain level, the hormone of dopamine is activated, and with it the sensation of well-being and internal stimulation and even in some cases, almost of “craving”. But can we really talk about addiction?
When talking about “travel addiction” the term “dromomania” is usually used. According to the Royal Spanish Academy of Language, is the “excessive inclination or pathological obsession to move from one place to another.” However, there is currently no evidence that there really is an addiction as such. We understand addiction as an excessive need that brings with it phenomena such as dependence and tolerance, and this would not adjust when traveling.
Yes, it is true that some people have a repetitive tendency (compulsive?) To travel to the minimum that they have a few days off and it is also true that there are more beneficial ways of traveling and others less. In order to analyze it, we have to pay attention to the real motivation that leads the person to travel, as will be seen later.
The dissociative escape, also called a fugue state, would be typified within mental disorders, and nowadays it is understood as a type of dissociative amnesia. The person, apparently integrated into their context, starts an unexpected journey without knowing why. Throughout this trip he presents confusion about his identity, coming to represent another very different one (new name, housing, friendships, employment …) and he does not remember his past. During the escape, they do not present apparent psychopathology or attract attention.
In most cases, the person recovers his previous identity and memory. Although it is not too common, it is considered serious.
Leaving aside the dissociative escape, which is conditioned by causes of different gravity, it is important to point out here some ideas to avoid so that travel becomes problematic. What can make us lose the north?
First of all, it is necessary to abandon the concept of travel as something snobbish. Any trip can be enriching, regardless of the duration or distance. What will determine its use is the receptivity of the person and their openness to learning.
Traveling is not something problematic in itself, but depending on what activates it, it can generate difficulties. The key factor that must be addressed is what is the fundamental motivation of the trip. There may be unhealthy motivations both intrinsic (related to the interior) and extrinsic (to the exterior):
Need for social recognition (to upload photos and videos on social networks or impress the social circle by showing an alternative image).
The collection of travel guides. When the person is not steeped in the place and its essence but will check the places that are supposed to visit to testify that it has been there. This would be the difference between the tourist and the traveler.
Avoid other responsibilities or commitments. If you travel to not take care of something.
Need for stimulation before an unsatisfactory or unrewarding daily life. The trip is used to evade the present when the person is not well with himself.
When it is done as the only form of enjoyment. The person is limited to only one option.
Need for anonymity or not giving explanations to strangers. Get lost in the crowd. It would be a kind of flight, of wanting to be another person for a specific period of time or of becoming invisible to the habitual life.
When it is done to avoid pain, for example, after a traumatic experience. While travel can act as a catalyst for personal change, it is also true that when a person is psychologically ill, they can enter into vulnerable circuits. It would be interesting here to seek professional help to resolve the discomfort.
Traveling is not only a source of stimulation and experiences during the trip, but also modifies the after. Change our memories and also our value system regarding what is important.
Related to the above, if we increase our positive memories, our general well-being also increases and therefore stress or apathy is reduced.
Traveling not only serves to discover places but also ways of being oneself in situations that have not been before. It is, therefore, a way of reflection and personal development and shapes our critical spirit.
It helps us to perceive ourselves in a different way since traveling forces us to act in different situations.
Power the establishment of skills such as problem-solving, empathy, sociability, flexibility, tolerance …
Traveling short of our normality. It allows us to oxygenate our routine and puts us in new situations.
It favors recovery during an existential crisis since it allows two fundamental conditions: space and time. It helps to make decisions since it gives us different approaches to our usual concerns.
It enhances our creativity, as our brain becomes more plastic in the face of the need to adapt to new experiences.
Strengthens self-esteem Exposing ourselves to different situations creates self-confidence and reduces fears since it takes you out of the famous “comfort zone”.
What you should know…
Any trip can be enriching, regardless of the duration or distance. What will determine its use is the receptivity of the person and their openness to learning.
Traveling is not something problematic in itself, but depending on what activates it, it can generate difficulties. The key factor that must be addressed is what is the fundamental motivation of the trip.
There may be unhealthy motivations to travel both intrinsic (related to the interior – need for anonymity, escape from a painful situation … -) and extrinsic (with the outside – social recognition, avoid responsibilities…