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three people Kayaking with the ruins of the Erie Canal locks behind them

Why Do We Travel??

Karen Kuhl – Executive Director – Cayuga County Tourism Office

Working in a tourism office my world is filled with ways to tell people the amazing beauty and character they will find when they arrive in Cayuga County. We’re constantly considering travel motivators and how to match the travel audience with the tourism assets in our county. But I occasionally need to take the time to pull myself away from the daily decisions and remember why this industry is the world economic powerhouse that it is. So, I resolved to reflect on the question, why do we travel?

  1. To Broaden our Perspectives – At home, we get set in our routines. We work, shop, take care of ourselves and our home, visit our local friends and relatives, and then do it all over again. We stay within our comfort zone that allows us to live in auto pilot. When we pull ourselves outside of this comfort zone and take ourselves to a place where we’re unfamiliar with our surroundings, it opens our perspectives. We see things in a new and exciting way, each day we wake, we face new places and people. We find a new favorite dish, a new song to dance to, we explore new shops and that souvenir we bring home transports us to that special moment. 
  1. To have Adventures – As we get further from our comfort zones, we’re more likely to try things we wouldn’t try at home. Bungee jumping, white water rafting, scuba diving, rappelling, for some reason all seem much more possible when we’re away from home. 
  1. To Eat – When I travel, I engulf myself in the culture through food. Trying new spices and discovering new cooking methods. Each community has something special and unique to try, maybe you’ll find a chocolatier with creative ingredient combinations, a new coffee drink, or an entirely new culinary technique all together. Traveling to find new culinary experiences is top on my list.
  1. To Meet People – While traveling you will meet locals to the destination as well as other visitors to the area. You will find many people with common interests in the activities you choose to explore, an art gallery, a Renaissance festival, or a motor speedway. You will be surrounded by like-minded people, some of them might lead to a nice conversations and others can lead to lifelong friendships. The great thing is that you will meet people from different walks of life that you might never have thought you had something in common with.
  1. To Learn Patience – Patience can be learned while waiting in long lines for a thriller ride or from sitting on the sand sipping an umbrella drink and reading a summer novel. But the most vulnerable lesson we learn with patience is communicating in a different language. Patience is required for effective communication. You can prepare by learning some words before travel, or you can try using hand signals to get your point across. Either way you must exercise patience, or you won’t get what you’re hoping for. 
  1. To remember how much we love “home” – No matter how wonderful the travel experiences were, there is an amazing feeling that comes from returning home. The greeting from your pet and the comfort of sleeping in your own bed. Sometimes the best part of going away, is coming back home.

Through travel we learn new things about the world and about ourselves. We expand our horizons, our social circles, our empathy, and our comfort zones. We learn to appreciate different cultures and our hometown. I will close this retrospective with the Dalia Lama’s advice “Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before.”  Somewhere you’ve never been before doesn’t have to be far away, it can be a new park, hike, museum, or restaurant in your hometown. Trying something new expands our horizons and helps us appreciate the things we have. 

Check out and find somewhere new to go in your own backyard.

About the Cayuga County Office of Tourism: The Cayuga County Office of Tourism is the designated Tourism Promotion Agency for Cayuga County and promotes the County’s attractions, events and lodging establishments.