J’aime voyager. In French, “I like to travel.” The verb voyager=to travel. The commonly used American expressions “I like travel” and “I like to travel”, emphasis on the infinitive in the latter phrase, are two drastically different statements that tell a great deal about the person uttering them.
There are those who like travel-they like the excitement of a new place, the idea of going to sleep somewhere different or far away from the place where they woke up. These people like getting lost, or reading maps, or learning new languages. These people usually enjoy discovering new little nuances in each place they visit and remark at the “newness” and “difference” of everything they encounter. They could maybe just walk around in a foreign city and sniff out their interests. There are people who travel to arrive at a destination, and explore and get the most from their “travel” experience.
Then there are people who like to travel. People who love packing, who love the act of getting from one place to another. People who seem to enjoy arriving at a destination more than they enjoy actually exploiting it. These people are more enamored with people watching and observing slight differences between places. They like traveling in style- first class upgrades, the best hotels. Upon arrival, they also might engage in the usual touristy- activities, and obviously depending upon locale, the time spent enjoying their new place varies. But their real adventure lies in the act of arriving on time, and checking in, and then securing reservations at the best local place.
Not to say that these are black and white, by-the-book definitions of travelers. Many people probably inhibit elements of each traveler- they enjoy certain things about certain parts of each journey. Each travel experience is unique. No two journeys are alike, whether two people have the exact identical itinerary or if the same person does the same trip thirteen times. Each experiences brings new elements of adventure into the mix.
For me, I have found that I most often enjoy the act of traveling more so than dealing with differences and new things that I find in a new place. Obviously, each scenario brings its own preferences and tastes as well. When traveling to Amsterdam recently, the first class car of the TGV was far superior to the experience of actually walking around the Tulip Museum and shopping along the canal. But when I’m driving from Baltimore to visit my boyfriend in Annapolis, I find the destination to be the highlight and reason for the trip, not the nice hour-long car ride.
Each journey brings out different features in each traveler- someone may love reading maps in Dutch, while their companion is just aching for fries and a Diet Coke. Another may love sitting on the Eurostar in silence, watching the Europeans moving about the train, while their fellow traveler searches for a computer outlet to watch a DVD.
Sometimes, you get in the car to get somewhere and end up having more fun on the road with your friends than you do once you arrive at the party you set out for. And sometimes, you have to sit through a horribly long and uncomfortable JetBlue flight just to see the Florida sunshine and sit on the beach.
Each is a different voyage.