Les élus, Travel Writing

Why do we travel – The complete series

The need to travel is mysterious

With the help of a friend, I have suggested and conceptualized a travel series for Al-Masry Al-Youm’s English portal, where I’m currently travel editor, that explores the question of why people travel. Inspired by two similar articles in Salon.com and The Observer, the series was launched and every week a new writer spoke of what made them leave the familiar or “home” in search of new land, new experiences and new faces. Why do we turn our back to what we know and seek novelty? For adventure? Because we’re lonely? Because we can? I put together here links for the complete series where writers and travelers meditate on this question and attempt to reveal the mystery that often shrouds the practice of travel.

Each recounts their personal experiences and their own philosophy of travel:

We have also accepted two contributions from readers:

On Twitter: @pakinamamer tweets for @ME_Traveller


2 thoughts on “Why do we travel – The complete series”

  1. Nice idea, Paki!

    A timely series too, since many of our conservative countrymen are becoming hostile to the whole thing of “tourism” and like to see a corrupting element in it but they just camouflage their suspicions and xenophobia with talking about ‘cultural sovereignty’, so to speak.

    An oft-quoted and unattributed Arabic adage says, “Travelling has seven advantages.” Could be Imam al Shafei, but this spoke only of 5, in one poem. Ever wondered like me what those might be?

    تغرب عن الأوطان في طلب العلى
    وسافر ففي الأسفار خمس فوائد
    تفريج هم واكتساب معيشة
    وعلم وآداب وصحبة ماجد
    فإن قيل في الأسفار ذل وغربة
    وقطع فياف وارتكاب الشدائد
    فموت الفتى خير له من حياته
    بدار هوان بين واش وحاسد

    We Arabs used to be great travelers. But this is not the case anymore for common people. Poverty, but also (and actually comes after) borders! What an evil invention.

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