As humanity, we owe a lot to travellers: without them, we would hardly have any idea about the world. Thanks to Christopher Columbus, the continent called America was discovered. So, if you can play new slot machines in Las Vegas today, you owe this to Columbus. (It should also be noted that thanks to the internet and slot machines no download feature, you no longer need to go to Vegas to do this.) Ibn Battuta showed the mysterious Eastern culture. James Cook created most of the sea routes that are still in use.
In short, travellers have existed throughout history and have always been beneficial to mankind. This tradition continues today: modern travellers also explore the world from one end to the other and share their experiences with us through social media. So what drives them? Since the world has been explored to a great extent, why are they still doing this? Let’s take a closer look at what motivates modern explorers.
The “One Life” Motivation
What motivates most modern adventurers is that they believe they have “one life” to live. There is a huge world out there, and they do not want to spend the entire life in one country: “If I have only one life, I should use it to see everything, as much as possible.” It was mostly trade interests that motivated early explorers, but modern travellers have more personal reasons: they simply don’t want to die without seeing the whole world.
Artemy Surin, the founder of the One Life community, is one of the best known of such people. In 2019, he was recognized by the London Royal Geographical Society as the first Ukrainian round-the-world traveller. Surin completed his journey in 280 days and named this adventure “Big Circle.” He photographed every stage of his journey with drones and shared it with the world. This was not always an enjoyable adventure either: He was arrested on suspicion of espionage for using drones in Iran and faced the death penalty. But ultimately, he was able to do what he wanted in his life: travel the world.
There are many adventurers who share the same motivation as Artemy Surin. For example:
- Kate McCulley: McCulley started traveling the world in 2001 and has visited 70 countries so far. She is not a full-time traveller: she prefers to stay at places for long periods of time and integrate with the local culture. She is one of the first solo female travellers and shares her travels on her blog called “Adventurous Kate.”
- Chris Burkard: Burkard has around 3 million followers on Instagram. He is especially known for his trips to Iceland: Burkard has been to this country 28 times. Most of the breathtakingly beautiful Iceland photos you see on social media were taken by him.
- Johnny Jet: Jet may be the first representative of modern travellers. He has been travelling the world since 1995 and sharing his adventures online since 1999. He was afraid of flying a jet, but thanks to his passion for travelling, he overcame this fear. Unlike other travellers, he shares his adventures on Pinterest, not Facebook or Instagram.
There Are Still Places to Explore
The desire to see everything before you die is not the only reason why modern travellers are motivated. There are still explorers in the pursuit of the unknown as they used to be. The area we live in as humanity corresponds to only 20% of the world. The total size of the lands above the water is 28%. This means two things: first, there are currently no people living in an area of 8% in the world. Second, the oceans that make up more than 70% of the world are still not explored. Therefore, most modern explorers are focused on underwater. According to them, we live in the “hills” and have no idea what is going on in the “valleys” below us.
This is actually true. We really have no idea about the oceans. Even our Mars maps are more detailed than the map of our own world. Among the modern explorers who focus on underwater Robert Ballard is the best known. For years he has been making maps of the underwater world for the National Geographic Society. You may remember him as the person who discovered the Titanic wreck. Ballard is one of the rare people who dived to a depth of 17,000 feet, and although he has devoted his life to this, he has only been able to map a very limited area.
Regardless of motivation reasons, the passion of human beings for travelling and exploring will never decrease – this is for sure. When there is nowhere left unexplored in our world, we will gaze at the stars, and travellers will allow us to map deep space as well.
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Last modified: April 2, 2021