Migration as discovery – a sociological approach
The process of travelling is done through the medium of tourism and the more accurate exploration of the world. It takes place when we stop looking for life in the images of life, but we push it a step further and we dare to go beyond ordinary impression and ideas. We want to discover the art of living in a different place in its real form and meaning.
What forms does travelling take? What drives our desire to travel? The reason is twofold: the quest for self and the escape from the everyday reality and the curiosity one has about a different culture, civilisation, and country as a whole.
As Santayana argues, “[w]e need to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness”. This is to be done within the framework of the quest for self. Also, we start doing it the moment we realise that it is time to stop being spectators on the stage of life and we start to be actors. We have so many questions but so little answers… Migration can be an answer to all these.
Life is a theatre, but when we are running the theatre we are in a position of control. Travelling means mobility. Mobility means migration. It therefore implies discovery. Discovery of ourselves. Discovery of someone else and of something else.
Furthermore, “we travel to lose ourselves and then to find ourselves” (Iyer). We travel to learn how to open our hearts, how to become more tolerant and flexible. We often travel in search of a new ‘light’, a ‘light’ that ‘home’ does not host. And we travel in search of both self and anonymity in order to apprehend the later by finding the former. Travelling provides us with an opportunity to embrace a new lifestyle, as we often live, when travelling, within no context and without a past or future. Novelty-seeking behaviours live a life dominated by their desire to travel. And a good thing about travelling is that it is never-ending. Everything is exploration, discovery, everything is migration. And sometimes “to travel is better than to arrive” (Stevenson). It gives you what you need: autonomy and a bigger picture of the world.
We live in a knowledge-based society where information is the key to success. Travels can satisfy our curiosity by seeking knowledge for life from them. We seek in other cultures the past and their interpretation of the world. We reflect on past greatness. According to Nietzsche, tourism teaches us how our societies and identities have been formed by the past. We can therefore acquire a sense of continuity and belonging. Admiring old buildings and interacting with the locals is not limited to its material aspect. It goes far beyond it. It leads us back in the past and it makes us question the present and the evolution of life. A journey can therefore provide us with material and spiritual souvenirs. The experience we acquire during our mobility helps us gain an insider’s perspective by using the method of participation-observation. It may translate into a respect for diversity.
Travelling is therefore a complex process which can be achieved in an aim of self-discovery. We also can travel in search of something new, something different. We might travel because we are curious. Or maybe because we have it in our genes. But we all travel to find out why is it we are travelling.