Two kinds of travelers

Basile Samel
Nov 12, 2018 · 2 min read

This post is part of my 200 words per day challenge that I am sharing publicly on Twitter in order to improve my writing and develop a writing routine. Feel free to join and comment.

In my engineering school, INSA Lyon, it is part of the program to write an essay revolving around humanities.

I was 21 at the time, and choose the topic of nomadism. Its implications and causes, and ended up with a 20-page essay on travel and nomads.

At some point I stumbled upon an interview of Deleuze, author of the concept of nomadology with Felix Guattari, questioning the concept of travel. What is a bad travel or a good travel.

Deleuze states that he hates the conditions in which most people tend to travel. More specifically, he brings up “Oedipian” as a term to qualify those conditions.

Three years forward, I traveled a lot throughout Europe, now in Asia, and had the opportunity to apply concepts I studied in my essay to real life.

I wish to formulate that there are two kinds of travelers: oedipian travelers on one side, and jungian travelers on the other.

When Oedipus learnt of the prophecy that he would end up bringing disaster to his city and family, he decided to flee from Corinth and travel to Thebes. Oedipus used travel to run away from an immutable reality, his destiny.

On the contrary jungian travelers as I call them, follow the archetypal hero’s journey: travel as a tool to grow and in the end, meet destiny. Carl Jung extensively interpreting Joseph Campbell’s myth of the hero for his own psychoanalysis practice.

Oedipian travel, as escapism. Jungian travel as a way to become a better person and benefit humanity as a whole.

Indeed, nothing is black or white, but it’s always important to understand the reasons why we do things and if their pursuit is worth the time.

As a traveler, are you avoiding your issues ? If yes, how can you solve those issues first ? Travel is no substitute to a deep internal introspection but can better or worsen it.

Liked this short post ? Follow my adventures in real time on Twitter.

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