How Travel Makes You Wittier

How Travel Makes You Wittier

We all know the five external senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. That would be enough, you’d think, to make travel exciting, inspiring and new. Even when we travel to familiar places, we feel the thrill of discovery.

Who hasn’t walked along a street and caught a whiff of freshly baking bread, only to recall that wonderful bakery in (whatever city) and the magnificent crunchy loaf we consumed at a street-side table, watching the unfamiliar world go by? We feel alive in that travel moment, and when our senses encourage us to experience it again, the magic returns. When we tell stories about it, we feel it once more too.

Street art in Santiago, Chile – on our own in a city where we didn’t speak the language gave us the space to be adventurous

Deep in our minds (or some would say souls) we hold these kinds of memories, the ones that make us feel the most alive, the most connected, the most at one with our best selves. In an age where it’s easier to stare at your phone than be in the non-technological moment, we’ve lost much of that wonder.

Five Plus Five

What if you could get closer to that sense of self again? Travel gives you the window of opportunity to do that by challenging you to step outside the familiar, the comfortable, the smart screen. It gives you the opportunity to rewild.

Did you know that in Medieval times, humans were considered to have five MORE senses?

Back then, we simple non-technological humans had ten – count ‘em – TEN senses. All ten were known as ‘wits’, as in, “Keep your wits about you.” The five we tend to think about today are known as external wits/senses. But wait, there’s more.

The internal senses are:

  • Common wit, or what we know today as common sense…
  • Imagination, one close to my heart as a writer and photog…
  • Fantasy, or the magic of what-if?…
  • Estimation, what I call critical thinking… and
  • Memory, giving us perspective on both personal and world history.

Now raise your hands in answer to this – how many of you feel like you use these five internal senses on a regular basis in your daily routine?

Street art in the La Boca neighborhood, Buenos Aires, Argentina – feeling alive with the color, the beat of the beat of the music, and the magic of locals’ imagination

Travel Makes Us Wittier

Travel gives us the opportunity to jump into these five internal wits because we’re outside our comfort zones. Stepping out of the cocoon of everyday life, we get back in touch with those places inside ourselves that we’ve lost through routine. We rewild.

In his excellent book Rewild, Nick Baker describes how he helps people rewild, getting back in touch with all these senses through nature. We can rewild using all ten senses when we travel too.

Challenging myself in situations that are uncomfortable (in a safe way) and make me think (in a deep way) feels like I’ve taken the first very deep breath in a very long time. I’m back in touch with parts of myself I tend to lose in my day to day. I rewild, and I’m a better person for it.

How does travel rewild you? Please share how you use all ten senses when you travel.


Yvonne is a freelance writer, photographer, dedicated foodie, and gardening plantaholic. Travel is her passion and addiction. She writes fiction in romantic suspense and psychological thrillers, coaches creatives about their businesses and their books, and studies human behavior and the natural world as a nerdy lifelong learner.

Related Posts

To (Direct) Sow or Not to Sow

To (Direct) Sow or Not to Sow

What is Green Manure?

What is Green Manure?

Any Garden is My Happy Place

Any Garden is My Happy Place

Victory Garden 2020

Victory Garden 2020

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Save your travel memories in our handy journals. Click on the image below for more info.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.