Viajar por Viajar

“Are you two looking for work?”
“No, we aren’t looking for work.”
“No? Then why are you traveling?”
“…We travel just to travel.”

This is one of the defining scenes my favorite movie: The Motorcycle Diaries. Ernesto Guevara, before he becomes the polemic Cuban revolutionary “Che” Guevara, is traveling the South American continent with his friend Alberto Granado. Here they are camping with an itinerant couple in the Atacama desert. The Argentine duo is exploring the world to learn about it; the vagrants have been forced to travel in order to find work.

A lot of the weight in the scene comes from each side realizing the other’s motivations. The opposite would never have occurred to them as a possibility. It portrays that as a pivotal moment in Guevara’s outlook on life. In the context of travel, though, it solidifies the idea that some people are simply wandering spirits whose natural state is motion, and who need to see the world just for the sake of seeing it.

In the prologue, Guevara reveals his restlessness and his aversion to the concept of a static life. He explores what he truly wants from his life. Much like Guevara, I’ve been spending a lot of my mental energy on what I want to do with mine. I keep coming to a conclusion that I have shared multiple times in many ways: I want to travel, to see the world and share it with the rest.

That led to asking why I want to travel. Surely there must be some deeper motivation. Am I running away from something? From the responsibilities of adulthood? Or am I chasing some nebulous idealism? It would only make sense, right?


Like Guevara, I travel for travel’s sake. Viajar por viajar. That’s what drives me, what makes sense to me, what gives meaning to life. I never feel sharper than when I am on the road.There is no specific thing about travel that draws me to it; It’s the entire concept that pulls me out into the world. 

It’s not running from anything, nor is it chasing. I’m thankful that my friends and family are supportive (and envious) of my trips, but I’m aware that many people view long term traveling as an irresponsible flight from the challenges of life. On the contrary, it is just a different understanding of life. Through this mentality, it’s natural to wander and explore, while settling into a steady and predictable routine would be running away from a real life.

In light of this, I have slowly gravitated toward the idea that I’m not trying to “find myself” or anything like that. Instead, this is my “self”.

Benditos sean… Benditos sean tus viajes.”

“Bless you… Blessed be your travels.”

Watch the scene here.


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