Friday, September 16, 2011

Why Do Women Like to Travel?

This question has bothered me for a while. The average man has a lot of interests, and since different men tend to have different ones, the total number of distinct male obsessions and hobbies is numbered in millions. All women have pretty much the same interests, and there are scarcely more than a handful of them in total. Why should travel, of all things, be one of those?

I'm guessing that this is a recent development. In the past most travel was dangerous, unpredictable, uncomfortable - the kind that still appeals to a subset of high T adventurous guys. If Richard Burton and Columbus were alive today, they would probably try to cross the world in a canoe or swim across the Bering Strait naked in winter or traverse the Antarctic on foot, all in a shorter amount of time than the current world record holder.

That's not the kind of travel women have ever liked. They're into packaged deals - hotels, fat tour guides, group photos in front of the Eiffel Tower, lying on the beaches of a continent other than their own. This is all very modern.

Some would tell you that to women travel is like jewlery or flowers - they don't like it for itself, they just like seeing men spend money on them through it. And indeed one would expect all the leading experts on jewlery and botany to be men, not women. But what is one to make then of the fact that single women often travel with each other on their own dime?

I've heard the theory that women like to travel because in hotels they don't have to cook or do any household chores. Perhaps there's some truth to that, but I doubt that it's the whole truth. Wealthy women still seem to like riskless travel more than wealthy men do.

My hunch is that women's desire for frequent superficial changes of scenery has to do with gender differences in focus and attention. It is more male to want to focus deeply on one thing at a time and it is more female to prefer to quickly jump from one topic to another, never delving deeply into any one of them. Perhaps the feminine passions for constantly redecorating one's home and changing one's wardrobe are related to that.

The intelligent high T guys' preferred type of travel (mountain climbing and the rest of it) isn't just dangerous, it also requires a lot of focus. It can often be described as a single-minded pursuit of a difficult goal, in other words the very opposite of anything that the average travel agency has ever tried selling. Most men won't climb the Everest, but a largish percentage will put even more effort into other, stationary hobbies than it woud have taken to climb it. Compared to that packaged tours seem passive, scatterbrained, and above all, boring, to many men. But not to any women.