The Institute of Lifelong Learning

Early in 2004 I was about to start my first blog. I had already been on the road for a few years and I was trying come up with an appropriate name. It had to describe quite closely what traveling really meant to me. I knew that I was getting from it much more than just visiting places, seeing things or meeting people. At the time I was practicing a “work-your-way-around-the-world” style of backpacking, which meant that I was prepared to do virtually any type of work in order to get to almost any destination, as long as it was away from home and it would lead to more destinations – an approach very far removed from a city-break, a 10 day tour, or a three week seaside vacation. “Work-your-way” is also not quite the same as doing projects or youth programs such as a gap year or volunteering. Neither is it pure economic migration or permanent immigration. It’s ongoing backpacking which might over time incorporate many, if not all of the above, as the hybrid process of extending the journey systematically continues.

I was starting to think of myself as a “modern day gypsy”. Something had happened along the way which provided me with a deeper purpose, but trying to define what it was remained elusive. After playing with words for a couple of weeks I came up with “travelosophy” which sounded a bit like my favorite on-line flight booking centre, but it was original with a very different meaning. A few months later I posted “Practicing Travelosophy” and I would now like to expand a bit more on that theme.


Nomadic tendencies are often instinctive and have been around for as long as humanity itself. Travelosophy has been around for as long as people have been thinking about nomadic tendencies. After all, for some, to travel is to be. The word Travelosophy is not in the dictionary. Should it be? What is a synonym for Travelosophy?

What is Travelosophy?

The search for balance and understanding through movement and knowledge

The quest for wisdom through the process of travel

The art of long term travel and reflection

Insight gained through extensive travel and applied in understanding everyday life and the world we live in

A physical journey lived as an essential part of an individual’s life journey and spiritual journey

Practicing Travelosophy

Travelosophy is an educational approach to travel through immersion. The travelosopher experiences a destination by spending an extended period of time there. He or she lives among and works with the people. He remains informed about current affairs and has a keen eye for observing all aspects of the culture he temporarily resides in. She possesses a natural balance of respect, tact and sensitivity towards local customs and practices. He is a stereo-type-breaking investigative reporter of sorts who explores beyond the obvious to break the mould of common knowledge. She is independent and is usually not affiliated with any ideology, group or cause. He works for him self and therefore takes the time to observe, to understand and to reflect. Travelosophy is an art form which will often leave the artist broke and exhausted, but always fulfilled. It is usually an incurable addiction.

Is there a spiritual side to Travelosophy?

The process of moving and having to constantly adapt and learn leads to a higher sense of self and world awareness. This may promote an appreciation of the mundane, the norm and the usual, on a higher level, which culminates in a fundamental understanding of how the process of growth is facilitated by energy, exposure, survival, experience and motion. In essence a state of enlightenment can be achieved, through the gritty struggles and knocks of live, multiplied and enhanced by the process of continuously changing physical and social environments. By displacing the self from comfort zones, fixed abodes and the hording of material possessions the travelosopher is freed from excess baggage.


Who might become Travelosophers?

What does Travelosophy mean to you?

What is your Travelosophy?

Text and Photo by Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

© 2008

Also see:  The Road to Travelosophy

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About Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

Explorer, Philosopher, Photographer. View all posts by Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

14 responses to “Travelosophy

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