Do we travel to escape real life?

photo interview project with long-term travellers

As a Chinese who born and raised in China, the idea of long-term travelling does not making any senses for me. I’ve consistently questioned myself since starting: What do I want to learn from this? Is it worth the time I spent? What should I do after my trip? Why people not do something more practical instead of travelling?

Travelling or a nomadic life style is such an unrealistic thing to me.

Well, I found this so interesting, I started asking the people around me, which in turn triggered me to start this project. I photographed and interviewed a few travellers I met during my trip when we were doing wwoofing in a remote place in Canada.


How we made this photo project works?! Read more here: Behind the scene


Mikkel, From Denmark, Has been travelling for 1 year.

Why do you travel?

Curiosity, and to satisfy my hunger for learning new things, and meeting new people.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned on the road?

Be open and spontaneous. Making to many precise plan and having to many expectation is like putting yourself behind bars. It was hard for me when i started travelling, but I spent a lot of brain energy on it, and I think I have come a long way with it. Great stuff happens if you dare to walk on new and unknown roads.

What do you struggle with when you are traveling?

My struggle is not on my travel, its in my head thinking about my family when they´re going through harsh stuff, its a frustration that i cant be there to give them the hugs and care they need.

Ruby, From Australia, has been traveling for 1 year

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

The sense of freedom, that you can go anywhere or do anything. There’s nothing like standing at the airport as your next big adventure is about to begin and you don’t know where it will take you!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go…”. Dr Seuss.

What do you first notice when waking up in a new place?

The different sounds — those little things that might be insignificant but say ‘you’re not at home any more’.

What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?

That you don’t have to plan everything so far in advance — something always comes up at the right time and it’s often the spontaneous experiences that you never could have planned that end up being the most interesting.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to start your travel?

Stability and the sense of security — I quit my job to start travelling and I don’t have any real long-term plans, a home base or a sense of where I belong. I sometimes feel pressure to do what is generally accepted — settle down, buy a house, pursue a career. I have no idea what’s next and generally that’s exciting but also a little scary too.

Jonathan, From UK, has been travelling for 1 year.

What sense do you value most while traveling?

Smell is such an evocative sense. It’s so easy to be transported to the heart of a memory by a specific smell. Also The temperature and the light is the first thing I notice when I am in a new place, I like a little chill in the air and gentle diffused light.

What do you struggle with when you are traveling?

I hate not being able to do everything. There isn’t enough time or money. Sometimes you have to resign yourself to missing out on things.

If a fire was about to eat you up, what is one thing you would bring with you? Why?

My journal and my moonstone ring. For practical reasons — my passport and credit card

Emilie, From Denmark, has been travelling for 6months

What do you struggle with when you are traveling?

Not having enough money.

What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?

I travel to get away from the monotonous life of those cities. I found how difficult it is to go back home, once you get out there.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned on the road?

To keep your expectations low and be prepared for the unexpected.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to start your travel?

Not having the security of a home base.

Robin, from Germany, has been travelling for 4 months

What sense do you value most while traveling?

Sounds. Hearing, what is there, what does local language sound like, which animals are there?

What do you miss the most about home when you travel?

My friends, my girl and my family, German beer, bread.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to start your travel?

Leave my GIRL behind in Germany.

If a fire was about to eat you up, what is one thing you would bring with you? Why?

A lot of water, that I can put the fire out. :P

Michelle, From UK, on and off has been travelling for 10 years

Why do you travel?

Because it feels like the right thing to do. Like this is the path I should be on.

What you are going to do after you finish your trip?

My trip has no end date currently.

What do you first notice when waking up in a new place?

The first thing I notice when I wake in the morning is the time and places to go people to meet!

When you find yourself in a remote place do you struggle with loneliness? If so how do you deal with this?

I struggle with loneliness even when I’m not in a remote place. Sometimes you can be surrounded by people and still feel very lonely. Human touch is a human need not just a want. I find giving and receiving hugs as much as possible help.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to start your travel?

The biggest sacrifice I have made in my travels is that I have no real roots anywhere now so I don’t feel settled anywhere.

Valentin, From France, has been traveling for 6 months

What do you struggle with when you are traveling?

Fit everything in my luggage!

What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?

I never use all the clothes I brought! More seriously, I know now it takes around 1 month to feel comfortable when you arrive in a city you don’t know.

What do you first notice when waking up in a new place?

Is it sunny outside?

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to start your travel?

Quit a job I liked, when I liked it the most.

What you are going to do after you finish your trip?

Go back to France, find a good job, start a family with a beautiful blonde wife, 2 kids, 1 boy and 1 girl, buy a house, buy a daddy car, perhaps buy a dog.

Hélène, From France, has been traveling for 4 months

Have you experienced culture shock?

The only cultural shock I have is when I go back to France. People don’t smile, smoke everywhere, are selfish, tightfisted, fearful and sad…

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned on the road?

I have learned on the road is that there is no just one way of life. We are not forced to follow the way that the society want you to be. For me everything is possible, it’s just about choices. On my back, I have a tattoo says “we are what we want to become”.

When you find yourself in a remote place do you struggle with loneliness? If so how do you deal with this?

I had never travel alone, I think I can’t do that. But sometimes I feel alone because my english skills don’t allow me to join all conversations and to be totally myself.

Oliver, From Suisse, Has been travelling for 2months.

What made you choose this country(Canada) over all the others out there?

Not Trump land.

Where can you see yourself in 5 years?

Saving money for travel.

Clem, From France, has been traveling for 5 years

Why do you travel?

When I travel I feel good. When I don’t travel I am depressed.

What do you first notice when waking up in a new place?

What’s the landscape like? Flat, hills, or mountains?

What is the most valuable or profound lesson you’ve learned on the road?

Don’t waste your life doing something you don’t wanna do (work).

What you are going to do after you finish your trip?

I will not finish my trip.

Ben, From Australia, Has been traveling for 3 years

What you are going to do after you finish your trip?

Start the next one.

What do you first notice when waking up in a new place?

The nearest place I can get my breakfast.

What do you struggle with when you are traveling?

The lack of a dry, clean, nicely smelling place to keep my clothes.

What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?

Be yourself, that way you’ll attract people who like you for who you really are.


The journey has the magic to simplify your life and needs. You wondering and happy like a 5 years old.

I felt my life was so bored, I stuck in this city for years and I am dying for a change. It was indeed a running away.

People asked me, “Are you finding yourself?”, I am sure it is a self-discovery trip but more or less we are absorbing everything on the road and reshaping ourselves.

The best way of finding yourself is losing yourself first.

We walk away to see ourselves from distance, and walk back to revalue ourselves.


“Do you travel to escape real life?”


Do you see yourself in them?

At least for now, the purpose of my trip has changed. And I am lucky enough to still be on the road.


A Never Ending Story
- Una