Ever wondered why we travel? This author has uncovered 12 universal motivations

I started by asking my well-traveled friends about their motivations: Some traveled to improve a particular skill, such as writing; some to heal physical or psychological wounds; and others to discover something about the world or themselves. Then I interviewed historians, philosophers, anthropologists, and scientists about the evolutionary origins of our motivations, and the events that changed the nature and purpose of human travel. I also dug into research papers, literature, and poetry, to identify common threads and themes.

In total, I discovered 12 distinct travel motivations: Curiosity, Inspiration, Happiness, Mentorship, Serendipity, Hardship, Service, Empathy, Healing, Wonder, Eroticism, and Hope. When I reflected on my own travel history and mapped it against these motivations, I noticed that my most rewarding travel happened when my motivations and travels were aligned. Once I became aware of them, I began planning my journeys around them.

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