Possessions define us. We accumulate experiences, objects, memories, words, feelings. This is true for all human activities, but I find it interesting how this applies to travels. I for one take a lot of photos, keeps small change in foreign currencies and a lot of fridge magnets. I find it interesting that even the most virtual possession is still defined as “taken”. And this is not only in English, it’s somewhat general.
So yes, we do travel in order to enrich us, to accumulate experiences and hopefully to know more about the world. Usually we come back with trinkets, postcards (or photos) and in rare occasions with interesting new bacteria hitch-hiking on us. And I find it normal. When someone asks “how was so and so destination” I usually tell them one or two things that affected me personally. The things that I took with me.
However, in perfect equilibrium, the destination takes something from us also. Usually some money. Sometimes a few belongings lost or stolen. Sometimes we leave a part of us – figuratively! We lose preconceptions, we lose social inhibitions, we lose a lot of sleep and maybe even a bit of our hearts on a tropical beach or in a quaint little town.
Yet – for some of us it is still not enough. Sometimes we have to leave a mark on a place. in less words – we vandalize a place just so other people acknowledge our possession of a place. And this cheapens the experience for other people, at least because there is less space to mark our passage.