It’s quite incredible how, in the modern day, a human can travel anywhere in the world quite easily. The infrastructure our civilization has created allows for a remarkable ease and accessibility of travel. Using cars, trains, and airplanes, we have the ability to travel quickly anywhere across the world. This is a revolutionary new capability for humanity, and its effects are quite profound.
Our capacity to travel is a new phenomenon. Only a century ago, the technologies which allow for such ease and accessibility of travel did not exist or were in their infancy: the car and the airplane had just been invented. Their invention rapidly changed the character of travel and mobility. Suddenly, trips of long distance no longer took days or weeks. People and things could be transported across the country, across borders, and across the oceans in a far more rapid pace than was possible in the past. Even then, it has only been in the last half century that those technologies were readily accessible to the average person. Only in the last half century has the average person had the ability to quickly travel across the country, or across the world.
This is perhaps one of the most apparent and striking differences of the modern era from the ages of the past. In the past, traveling was accomplished by foot or by horse. Trips that are short for us, such as the morning commute, took hours to accomplish. The comforts of the car were not available, and as a result these short trips, depending on the weather and the environment, could be long, uncomfortable, or even dangerous affairs. Long distance travel was accomplished by train or by boat. Trips across the ocean, which can now be completed in a matter of hours, took days or weeks. The invention of the railroad, which suddenly made whole continents more easily accessible to people, rapidly decreased the amount of time it took to travel. It was the beginning of this new age of travel, but even then the railroad still took a considerable amount of time. As a result, for most people, the world did not extend beyond their local community. For most of history, it is predicted, the average person did not venture further than a few miles from their home.
We can see how transformative our new ability to so quickly and accessibly travel has been. Globalization, the process of deeply connecting the peoples and places of our world, was kicked into action by our new ability to travel to new, distant places. Peoples who had never explored the world or other cultures were now given that ability. As a result, the dissemination of culture, ideas, and ways of life quickly increased. In turn, the proverbial ‘distance’ between different peoples and different countries lessened. While this process has been enormously aided by the invention of the internet, which allows for that same sort of travel of ideas and cultures instantly, globalization began because of the sudden access to the world through travel.
Ease of travel has also opened massive new opportunities for the average person. The entire world literally awaits us, and we can easily access it. The exotic locales of foreign lands are no longer only experienced by explorers and dignitaries. They are available to the common tourist, and as a result the knowledge, understanding, and interest of the world by the common person have greatly expanded. By being able to personally experience different cultures, different peoples, and different lands, the average person’s perspective on humanity has changed. Traveling to distant, foreign lands revealed the many characters and characteristics of humanity, the many possible ways of live our specie’s has created. The average person is no longer isolated in place or in perspective to their local community. Our perspective on and understanding of the world has taken on a global nature.
This revolution in travel has opened up enormous possibilities for humanity, and will likely only continue to develop. Technology is propelling us across the world at faster paces. Traveling is constantly becoming safer, cheaper, and more efficient. The future of travel is likely going to be even more impressive than its current state. Should efficient, high-speed rail, such as the Bullet Train in Japan, become widespread, people can be whisked across countries and continents at breakneck speeds. Eventually, our use of flight will expand into suborbital and orbital trips, which will enormously decrease the time of travel between one point on the globe to another. Indeed, as our use of space-borne travel increases, the entirety of our planet may become accessible in as short a time as an hour or two.
The current state of travel is remarkable, and is profoundly different from how it was in the past. We now have the ability to easily and efficiently travel away from our local communities, away from our country, even away from our continent. The whole world awaits, and now, with modern travel, any person can access it. The possibilities are endless.