What did people say 100 years ago
People have been traveling since the beginning of time. Nothing about that has changed to this day. The purpose of travel and the way in which a journey is undertaken, on the other hand, has changed considerably over the course of human history. Along with the well-known globalization and the development of an affluent society, that has Travel takes on a different meaning and assumed unbelievable proportions to this day, the peak of which has probably not yet been reached. In view of the luxury that is common today, which we encounter even on the most spartan trips, such as backpacking, hardly anyone can imagine what such a trip must have looked like 200, 300 or even 1000 years ago. However, it is always exciting to see, because at times when the hype of “authentic” travel is greater than ever before, it certainly doesn't hurt to reflect on the roots of our favorite leisure activity.
The history of travel - a journey through time
Antiquity | Middle Ages | Modern times | 20th century
Antiquity - The beginning of travel as we know it
People have always traveled, just not always in the way we know it today. Sure, in the beginning people were nomads. They wandered from place to place in search of food and water. But of course that is not what we mean by “travel” today. The first "real" trips were most likely religiously motivated pilgrimages to the temples of the deities of the ancient Egyptians.
A small overview of the time: the time of the ancient Egyptians lasted from approx. 4000 BC to approx. 400 BC. It's hard to believe how long ago that was, right? The Roman Empire existed in different variations from approx. 500 BC to approx. 500 AD or in the Eastern Roman Empire even into the 15th century. The Middle Ages began in the 6th century and ended only in the 15th century.
Even in the times of the ancient Romans, people traveled and it was quite comfortable even for the conditions at the time. Because in the Roman Empire the road network was greatly expanded and maintained. In addition, there were often accommodations along the paths for pilgrims and business travelers. But you shouldn't imagine traveling at this time to be too pleasant: in the vast majority of cases, the trips were completeon foot covered because very few could afford a horse or even a carriage. Most travelers covered between 20 and 35 kilometers a day. So it could take days, weeks, or months to finally reach your goal. However, after Roman rule in Western Europe ended and the Middle Ages began, the roads fell into disrepair and travel became more difficult again.
The dark Middle Ages - dark times for traveling?
In the Middle Ages, the most common form of travel besides commercial travel was also pilgrimage. One of the most famous pilgrimage routes of the Middle Ages is theWay of St. James, which leads to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain and is still committed today. Today the journey there - even if it is done on foot - is a lot more pleasant. You have to imagine a trip in the Middle Ages as follows: The country was hardly populated and nature was mostly still untouched and wild - that sounds very romantic at first, but that was precisely the biggest problem for travelers. There weren't many paths (and most of the paths weren't paved and very difficult to walk) let alone bridges to cross rivers, so you had to be very knowledgeable to really find the way to your destination. Because if you got lost you were as good as lost.
If you got lost, you were as good as lost
Not only did you very rarely meet someone who could help you, no, you always had to expect to be attacked by highwaymen. And if it's not that robber were that wanted to kill you, then it was the wild animals, like for example Bearswho at that time were still walking freely in Germany's forests. But if you did come across a village or a hut, you could expect help to come and get a hostel. In the Middle Ages, hospitality was one of the greatest goods.
The modern age as a new era of travel
The discovery of the world
Up until the modern era, very few people really liked to travel, because that Traveling was fraught with dangers. That changed slowly from the 16th and 17th centuries. The era of travel began, with research and educational trips on land as well as at sea. Christopher Columbus had already discovered America on his search for a sea route to India and thus supplemented the map of the world (hardly imaginable that only Europe and Asia existed in people's minds at that time!), But so many wonderful spots of this world had not yet been discovered .
So many wonderful spots in this world had not yet been discovered
How is that Travel to distant and unknown countries must have felt when the world was still in its original state? I could dream about it all day ... On many research trips over the years, so many large and small islands, unknown animals and plants and even entire continents were discovered. After years of traveling through Southeast Asia, James Cook and his crew discovered New Zealand around 1770 and became the first European in the world to set foot on the continent of Australia, because his ship had run aground on the Great Barrier Reef!
Traveling as a hobby in aristocratic circles
Apart from the researchers, travel was otherwise only granted to aristocratic circles, because hardly any farmer or craftsman had the money, the time or the right to travel abroad. In the beginning it was the British and later many other noble houses, but also wealthy middle-class people, who gave their sons to the so-called "Grand Tour“Through Europe and in particular Italy sent as a land of culture and prestige. The young men traveled with their carriage and their travel locker, in which they carried their entire wardrobe, and were supposed to expand their language skills and make new valuable contacts during their educational trip. You can imagine it a bit like our social year or Work & Travel today, just a lot more classy. Places that you had to see as a man of rank were back then Rome, Venice, Florence, Vienna, Paris and Nice. Difficult to imagine how it must have been back then! Lords of the highest order were guests here and chatted in Italian and French about European politics. Would that have been something for you?
This travel trend led to the opening of hostels and restaurants on a large scale along the usual travel routes, some of which still exist today! And the roads have also been preserved over the years, so that they are mostly used to this day, often in the form of today's highways.
In the 19th century, more precisely in the Romantic era, the meaning of travel changed fundamentally again. The Love of nature and the urge to experience yourself made travel a new kind of experience. Only now did hiking and the beauty of nature become interesting for many people. Besides, only now were the Alps discovered as a travel destination and - hard to believe - the Invented ski running!
Thomas Cook organized what was probably the first package tour and founded the world's first travel agency in England in 1845.
The German term "Wanderlust", which is used in an incredible number of languages today, was coined at this time. Even then, the wanderlust fever had grabbed people who were now also looking for fun and relaxation on their travels. But Italy or the local seaside resorts were no longer enough. So it went, for those who could afford it, with the world famous Orient express, a luxury train with dining and sleeping wagons, which was also called “the king of trains”, to Istanbul or by steamboat to Egypt. Unfortunately, there are no longer luxury trains like the Orient Express in Europe - I would have loved to take a ride in this gem, but you can currently watch the film adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel "Mord im Orient Express" in the cinema and take you back to this bygone era !
So although a lot of people had already contracted the travel bug, it had unfortunately not yet reached some layers of society, because normal workers still had no money and no time to be able to afford such leisure activities, because most of them were too Saturday and Sunday normal working days.
You don't travel to arrive, you travel to travel.
Scholars and the rich were the ones who had the opportunity to travel and enjoy life. Johann Wolfgang Goethe wrote about traveling: “You don't travel to arrive, you travel to travel”.
The 20th Century - A Chance to Travel for Everyone
When, after the Second World War, at the beginning of the 1950s, an economic upswing set in in West Germany, which culminated in the legendary economic miracle of the 1960s, there was soon no stopping holidaymakers who could now afford what they had done before was denied. People now took the opportunity to break out of the narrowness of the big city and the stress of everyday life - that's probably still the case today, because who doesn't know the feeling? The most popular travel destination for Germans, along with the North and Baltic Seas, was Italy, which the aristocrats and wealthy had enjoyed visiting for centuries. Many other warm countries by the sea were out of the question for German holidaymakers immediately after the war, as countries such as France and the Netherlands showed great aversion to German holidaymakers because of their bad experiences in World War II. Fortunately, things are different today - even if the prejudice against the French is still stuck in many minds - because these two neighboring countries are far too beautiful not to visit!
Italy - the land of longing for Germans
For most of them, long-distance or air travel and package tours, for example to the Mediterranean, were out of the question - such a trip cost more than a whole month's income. So you traveled by car, and it could be quite an adventure! When driving through the Alps it could happen that the 30 HP motor couldn't make the inclines and then you had to stop push the car up the hill. Overall, one could journey to Italy then sometimes take more than 24 hours.
The hippie trail?
To travel to these variants, the hippie movement established a completely different plan: the Individual trip or the "hippie trail". Does that mean nothing to you? This is probably due to the fact that these trips can hardly be undertaken in their former form. Because Hippie Trail means hitchhiking through Eastern Europe and the Middle East to hitchhike to Asiato gain spiritual experience there, among other things. Most of the time, people stopped at accommodations known in the scene and exchanged experiences. One of these accommodations is, for example, the Pudding shop in Istanbul. However, since violent unrest has been raging in the regions that have to be crossed for years, the flows of alternative tourists that once flowed here have subsided. Besides Asia, popular hippie destinations were Morocco and - who would have thought - Ibiza!
The discovery of Mallorca
In the 1960s Italy was the most popular travel destination for Germans, but Mallorca had already been discovered and was still an insider tip at the time! So it didn't take long until the Spaniards recognized the island's tourist potential and the travel boom to Mallorca began. At the end of the 1970s, mainland Spain finally followed this trend and Spain became the most popular travel destination for Germans - to Germany itself, of course.
Travel - a matter of prestige
The Concorde was the most famous civilian supersonic aircraft. It started in 1977 and was in use until 2003. The "Queen of the Skies" made it from Paris to New York in 3 hours. However, after a plane took off from Paris airport in July 2000 went up in flames and crashed into a hotel, the luxury plane went downhill. Not least because it had an immensely high consumption of kerosene and the environment suffered greatly as a result.
Very few people could imagine long-distance travel in the 1960s and 70s. That was because air traffic to distant countries was only just developing. The large passenger planes took off in the early 1970s and one flight with a machine like that Jumbo Jet (Boeing 747) or even the Concorde, which transported its well-heeled occupants across the Atlantic at supersonic speed, was still extremely expensive at the time. First of all, wealthier people discovered long-distance travel by plane for themselves and a trip to the Maldives or Thailand became a question of prestige. She finally negotiated Prosperity, luxury and the exotic.
Why we travel, how we travel
Today, very many people can afford to travel by air to the most distant countries in the world. Not only because the flights have become so much cheaper over time and at the same time the people of the western world have become more affluent, but also because we have more vacation days now than in the past. Thanks to the strong expansion in the 90s Billg airlinesIn the meantime, more people than ever before can afford to travel by air, and they are eager to put this opportunity into practice. According to the World Tourism Organization, 1.18 billion people traveled worldwide in 2015, twice as many as 20 years ago! Instead of one vacation a year, we now go on city trips and wellness vacations in addition to summer vacations.
We don't need a lot of money to be rich. Traveling makes us rich.
Many of us are now traveling to foreign countries several times a year - and proud of it. Because traveling around the world is no longer a privilege of the rich, but it is still a question of prestige. After all, we like to show where we've been and what we've seen. And why not? Not only do our photos show which great places we have already seen, we ourselves are also a walking diary full of experiences and new wisdom that we bring with us from every trip. We don't need a lot of money to be rich. Traveling makes us rich.
Reflection on the beginnings of travel
I think that at the moment you sometimes get the feeling that traveling is more stressful than relaxing. With the many vacations that we are now on and the constant pressure to find the best trip at the best price, which we are exposed to not only through competition with other travelers but also through advertising and constantly new, better offers. That's why I want to show you with my little story of traveling how difficult it was to travel until not so long ago and how good we actually have it today. Today we enjoy all the comforts of the latest technology and can therefore Live out our love of nature, the urge for adventure and our thirst for knowledge more carefree than ever. And to take the last stress out of planning your trip, I'm here! Just take a look at my travel offers or let the articles in my travel magazine inspire you to new travel destinations. Have fun browsing!
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