We started as nomads
Human beings are travelers by nature. We have always looked for a way to move from one place to another, we have looked for a way to get to know other lands, another culture, and another universe. We are migrants by nature and we are in constant search for change because a trip changes and renews us.
Since ancient cultures, humanity has sought ways to have contact with other civilizations and cultures, in such a way that they enrich their own, but beyond cultural enrichment, the traveler has sought personal introspection on the journey. Joseph Cambell laid the foundations for this concept in his book: The Hero with a Thousand Faces, synthesizing the stages of the journey that a hero makes when leaving his idyllic zone. The person goes through certain vicissitudes until returning home with the elixir, which is represented by the awareness of the learning acquired throughout the trip, in other words, traveling gives power to the human being that can occupy his please to transform yourself and help others to do so, through your journey or by passing on the synthesis of what you learned.
We can apply this theory from a personal and ordinary trip to great epic sagas of classical narrative. Traveling changes the way we perceive the world and perceive ourselves in it. Despite all that has been said about travel, the term as we know it and live it today is recent. In classical civilizations, people traveled to explore and conquer other lands and other worlds, because the spatial conception was completely different –perhaps as we do now with outer space–, and not because of an intrinsic pleasure involved.
The means of transport has been the key to the development and concept of travel
Currently traveling is the destination and not the journey, but it has not always been like this. Previously, the trip was also a journey, because the travel times were very long, even up to six months. The journey was enjoyed and lived in the same way as the destination. Technological progress and the means of transport modified our relationship with the space of departure and arrival; being a key factor in the commerce and economy of the place. At first, seaports adopted an important sociocultural context in each civilization. The greatest cultural exchange arose at their feet.
With the Renaissance, interest in classical culture flourished and with it, the trip became a pleasure, it is no longer sought to explore for an economy in between and to conquer the land, but to see with one’s own eyes the places of the glory of humanity. It is the beginning of the “Grand Tour” or trips made by the aristocratic class, particularly from England and Spain, to the new continent, or Greece and Rome. Look with your own eyes, find treasures, try new flavors, look at new colors. Collect. Even though the journey is one of pleasure, it continues to involve the tests and rewards that the hero who leaves his house must go through to return renewed. Travel time continues to belong, “holidays” are not days or weeks, they are months, even years. Because the essence of travel, despite being cultural and for pleasure, remains the same: going out to explore: “the ultimate goal of travel is to gather experiences”.
The idealization of the past
“All past times were better,” says the Spanish poet Jorge Manrique and that plays in favor of the first pleasure trips. Know the history first hand and recreate in the mind the dialogue that the archaeological ruins in sum with the gastronomy, the landscape, and the art of the region generate in the visitor. Reconstruct the past from my intertextuality with the place.
In the ’70s the tourist bubble took another important turn. The camera and the instant capture of the moment turn to vacation photo albums. It is common to find photographs of women and families with swimsuits on the beaches absorbing the essence of the moment: the happiness of the trip, or what is translated to the week off with payment that the company gives to release the workload of a whole year. The luckier ones take gap years in search of personal catharsis. The great theme parks were born and even though around 2,000 years ago there were already travel guides, they gained a glimpse in this century. They help the traveler to travel paths according to his interest or tourist inclination. The trip is complemented by the pleasure that the stay offers the traveler.
The essence of the trip continues and is maintained: the tourist experience, the introspection, but an extra factor is added: getting rid of the workload. Technology advances and does so hand in hand with travel. As a result of the pandemic experienced in 2020, virtuality changes the vacation space. Now everything is done behind a computer because space does not allow human contact. Digital immersion and virtual tours take the place of sensory ones and comfort is added. There is still segregation of those who can enjoy travel, not everyone can have a connection, internet, and virtual reality glasses. The experience has changed.
In the future, the means of transport will evolve and will be towards other planets. Exploration and experience will return to our vacation concept. The excursion time will be long again and the treasure hunt will return. The tour guides and the sensory experience will be different because we will change the swimsuit for the spacesuit.