The Beginner’s Guide To Stoic Travel

The Beginner’s Guide To Stoic Travel

When studying the ancient scriptures, we discover
a love-hate relationship between the Stoics and travel. So, is there a Stoic way to travel? And how can Stoicism benefit those who engage
in traveling? In this video I want to present you the beginner´s
guide to Stoic travel. The travel bug is a common phenomenon nowadays. For some people, travel has become an addiction. I think we shouldn’t forget that today’s recreational
traveling is, for the most part, a luxury. People pay large sums of money to board expensive
and polluting flights, going from hotel to hotel, from mountains to beaches, and jungles
to deserts, just for the purpose of experience. Others travel with a specific goal, like work
or charity, while enjoying the change of scenery that comes with it. I would like to explore two questions. The first one is ethical, exploring how and
for what reasons we ought to travel according to Stoic philosophy. The second one is practical, exploring Stoic
wisdom to make travel in general more enjoyable. Now, let’s start with the first question:
(1) is there a Stoic way to travel? Knowing that the main focus of Stoicism is
living a life of virtue, and that so-called preferred indifferents are secondary, we can
safely say that the Stoics won’t support the massive decadence that goes hand-in-hand with
several forms of travel. Another common occurrence is the usage of
travel as a means of escape, or to find peace and resolve emotional turmoil. The Stoics don’t see travel as a valid method
to find tranquility. Seneca argues that travel is no solution if
we aim to improve ourselves emotionally. He states that instead of leading our emotions,
we are carrying them. I quote: What benefit has travel of itself ever been
able to give anyone? No restraint upon pleasure, no bridling of
desire, no checking of bad temper, no crushing of the wild assaults of passion, no opportunity
to rid the soul of evil. Travelling cannot give us judgment, or shake
off our errors; it merely holds our attention for a moment by a certain novelty, as children
pause to wonder at something unfamiliar. End quote. Seneca ensures us that no matter how far we
travel; it will not resolve the emotional state that we were in before we departed. The constant change of scenery will not change
anything within us. During the time I created this video I was
traveling myself, spending a while abroad, and I noticed exactly what Seneca said. When the novelty of being away from home or
a new location wears off, we will be confronted by ourselves again. Our anxieties, negative thinking, personality
traits: not much has changed just by the moving from one place to another. When traveling, the external circumstances
may change, but we will carry ourselves everywhere we go. According to Seneca, it is essential that
we fix ourselves to truly enjoy traveling instead of expecting our traveling to fix
us. I quote: If you would enjoy your travels, make healthy
the companion of your travels. As long as this companion is avaricious and
mean, greed will stick to you; and while you consort with an overbearing man, your puffed-up
ways will also stick close. End quote. Even though I agree with Seneca, I think it’s
also possible to travel and fix ourselves along the way. Without expecting that the change of scenery
will solve anything, it surely is possible to do some inner work during our travels. Traveling can give us unique opportunities
to expose ourselves to what we fear or learn new skills. In some cases, changing location can benefit
us in becoming better people in the form of seclusion. For example: in his letters to Lucilius, Seneca
seems to value spending time in solitude and tells us that we should stay away from crowds: To consort with the crowd is harmful; there
is no person who does not make some vice attractive to us, or stamp it upon us, or taint us unconsciously
therewith. Certainly, the greater the mob with which
we mingle, the greater the danger. End quote. So, a valid reason for travel could be the
avoidance of bad company; something that Epictetus also advices. When we live in a toxic environment at home,
travel gives us the opportunity to escape that and find better company that is more
aligned with our own values, or to simply spend time in solitude. Withdraw into yourself, as far as you can. Associate with those who will make a better
man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. ..wrote Seneca. Simply put: Stoics can travel when it supports
or cultivates their ability to live virtuously. Another example would be to travel for a specific
cause. When duty calls, or we have another good non-recreational
reason to pack our bags and change location, our traveling contributes to the common good. So, when this is the main purpose of our travels,
and we happen to encounter some preferred indifferents on the side, so be it. Some examples of travel with purpose are: Traveling for work
Traveling to teach Traveling for environmental issues
Traveling for charity The second question: (2) how can Stoicism
benefit those who engage in traveling? Okay, let’s forget the ethics for a few minutes. Regardless of the reason of your travel, what
can Stoicism teach us that can make our traveling more enjoyable? Quite a few things, actually. When we engage in our journey, we’ll be more
intensely confronted with the fact that the world is completely out of control. We don’t control the weather, the delays
of air traffic, taxi drivers that try to scam us, or if our hotel room looks kind of different
from the picture in the travel catalog. In Stoicism, the dichotomy of control tells
us that it’s better not to care about the things beyond our control. This doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to stand
up for ourselves, but a healthy detachment towards preferred indifferents will make the
journey more enjoyable. The key is to lower our expectations. If we care too much about everything that
could go wrong, we let the tranquility of our mind depend on the unpredictable experience
of travel, which isn’t a very smart idea. Caring too much about external things boils
down to desire and aversion. We might have a strong desire for beautiful,
white beaches and light blue water, and a strong aversion towards rainy, cold weather
and missing our flight. We might say that when we incur the former
that our journey – or vacation if you will – is a success. But when we incur the latter, our journey
is a failure. Imagine tracking every taxi ride using Google
Maps because of the fear of being scammed or being irritated when a train arrives too
late and angered when the local people aren’t as friendly as we wish they should be: how
horrible would such a journey be! Instead, enjoy the good and make peace with
the bad. And definitely don’t let either of them disturb
your equanimity. A way to lower our expectations is doing the
negative visualization by Marcus Aurelius, which I have made a separate video about. Another idea is to keep a journal or travel
log, so you can write down the daily experiences because travel can be very overwhelming and
evoke anxiety. Aside from the practical tips that Stoicism
has to offer that may enhance your journey, I think it’s still essential to mention that
a Stoic puts virtue first. In short, this would mean that, while traveling,
we ought to consider wisdom, moderation, courage and justice. I think that moderation is an important one
to prevent the decadence and focus on fulfilling the passions like lust and delight. Even though this might be exactly the false
concept of happiness that travel agencies are trying to sell you: indulging the senses
like stuffing ourselves on all-you-can-eat buffets in luxurious resorts, or the sight
of palm trees and tropical beaches may be fun for a while, but will never satisfy us
in the long run, nor will it make us better people. There is nothing wrong with enjoying these
things. However: because finding contentment, inner
peace and the improvement of character is an integral part of Stoicism, incorporating
these pursuits in our journey is the priority. Thank you for watching.


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    henry partogi

    Bruh,just want to know are you a german man live in indonesia or have a connection in indonesia,i currently live in Depok,which is the area that filled with almost everything you hate as a introvert and you channel content

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    Arjun Ramachandran

    Even I had also felt the same. I assumed it had to do with my depression but after watching this video I realized that travel can remind us to be like kids,see everything in awe and new. No matter what we do to escape our demons,it will be at peace only if we work on ourselves.

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    Power Matrix - How To Master The Dark Arts

    I didn't know the stoics tackled the topic of travel.
    Thank you for the great video!

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    Bart Fart

    Before my daughter was born my only goal and purpose in life was to travel far and wide.
    Now my life's goal is to be a good father but very close behind that is traveling far and wide with my daughter. I used to travel for learning and I now I travel for teaching.

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    Steve Sayewich

    Thank you from one traveler to another. Wherever you go, there you are. And from the Tao Chapter 27, "A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. "

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    Let's Talk Philosophy

    What I've found when traveling is that often you can get caught up rushing from place to place "just to see everything." But often in this pursuit of everything you end up truly absorbing nothing. The culture slips you by, the people are blurs, and the anxiety of rushing around can insight arguments. If I had to give one tip about travel it would be to take your time, absorb and appreciate the opportunity that you have. As many will never leave their home town.
    Cheers again Einzel, great video!

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    Jam Murillo

    2 years ago, I was surrounded by toxic peers who pushed me to travel as often as they desire/purchase things and experience that have no value for me. I was depressed, I could not keep up with their lifestyle, they looked down on me and made me feel inferior. I was scared to walk away because it meant being lonely. Then, realisation hit me hard, and Stoicism happened.
    Fast forward, I live in solitude now with very few close friends and small social circle. I travel solo now, but very seldomly, happy and contented. Quality versus quantity indeed.

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    Wanderlust Introvert

    Amazing Video as allways! Also weird coincidence that you upload at the same time as me. My 7 followers must be confused but I am sure they will watch your video first – as they should 😀

    Greetings from Germany!

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    Peter Jablonski

    I'm planing my trip to Provance. And I found this video by accident. I don't agree with you. There's nothing wrong with enjoying life and luxuries. Life is worth living exactly because of those short moments of excitement. As much as I appreciate some of the stoic exercises, the general philosophy seems to me dry, depressing and very sad. To be alive means to experience the only thing that exists – here and now. It's the opposite of a numb robot-man.

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    O'SSÉIN - Master Your Mind With Me

    Travelling is used as a form of escape.
    And as we know, people always bring along one person whom they don't want there – THEMSELVES

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    By travelling I managed to get rid of my problematic social anxiety and shyness. It was much easier to practice being social while in a completely different city or country every day. So I can't completely agree with Seneca's statement about being the same person when coming back.

    Then again one could say I travelled with a purpose and goal that was not completely recreational (I travelled with the intent of getting rid of my anxiety), so I guess that could be seen as Stoic.

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    Jo B.W

    Um, 'bridling' is pronounced 'bridle-ing' as in a horse's bridle. I was listening away from my computer and wondered what you meant, lol. Thank you for all of these wonderful teachings. You are helping so many of us have calmer and steadier lives.

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    Once one found his soul place, travelling is not necessary anymore. A few only are thrown there by birth. Therefor: travel – find – be.
    Some are done after a couple of meters, for others it takes what seems to be a lifetime.
    But in the end, no matter what, the soul will find its place.

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    Lazy M

    “All this hurrying from place to place won’t bring you any relief, for you’re traveling in the company of your own emotions, followed by your troubles all the way”.

    “Só long as you carry the sources of your troubles about with you, those troubles will continue to harass and plague you wherever you wander on land or on sea. Does it surprise you that running away doesn’t do any good? The things you’re running away from are with you all the time.”

    Seneca CIV

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    Joe Davis

    Thank you for this video. Travel is an important subject, it can really be a pain. I travel only out of necessity. However, to see what's around, videos are a legitimate form of virtual reality. My favorites right now are wonderhussy Adventures and the ditch Walker Arrowhead hunting videos on YouTube, and hitchhiking on Instagram.

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    Camilo M

    I've enjoyed traveling for work, but I enjoy tge escape from work when I travel. I meet amazing people from Europe and Latin America when I overcome myself to meet new people. The second half of your video spoke to me more after the first half was established with me working.

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    J G

    I miss the days when travel wasn’t about showing off your travel on social media. So often people only go to a place to Instagram it to “prove” they went there or saw something they felt like they were “supposed” to see.

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    Time to Reason

    Stoicism, Buddhism, Daoism all are a journey. Travelling our own lives, without a/the help of a divine. Travels are our teachers, our own divine guide. Thanks for another wonderful video.

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    Austin Johnson

    I always watch your videos but this made me subscribe. Seneca is right I came to the same conclusions. Afghan though I moved and traveled I always packed myself with me

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