Travelling is a way of using the Power to move directly from one place to another through means of an opening in the air, called a gateway. It is long forgotten by the time of the events of the books. It seems to Rand there is only one end to the gateway (LoC, Ch. 2). You can see through a gateway from the other side – it would be hazy, but not walk through – it would be very painful to try (TPoD, Ch. 6).
When Traveling can be used
Traveling requires you to know the place you left even better than the place you were going (TFoH, Ch. 6; LoC, Ch. 11), a gateway opened from a place a person doesn't know well might go anywhere (LoC, Ch. 55). If you don't know the place you are and don't have time to learn it, the alternative is skimming (ACoS, Ch. 9) There are a couple of ways of learning a place. The first one is to spend time in the area. At Dumai's Wells, Taim says they would need several hours to learn the place well enough to make a gateway with some certainty of where it will come out (LoC, Ch. 55). After using the Bowl, Elayne stays where she is with the Power to learn the area, Nynaeve dashes around. So Elayne weaves the gateway (TPoD, Ch. 6).
The second way is to Travel to a place. Nynaeve could Travel after depositing Lan in Saldaea because she had “learned” that spot by Traveling to it (Robert Jordan's Blog, Monday, December 19th, 2005). Aviendha makes the gateway from the Amtherin mansion as she made the one to get there – whoever makes the first ends up making all the others since she learns the ground at each place the gateway touches (CoT, Ch. 10). At Dumai’s Wells, they could not use this to Travel away as the places they had Traveled to were not in the safety of the wagon-circle, where they were, but beyond it, among the Shaido (Robert Jordan's Blog, Friday, January 20th, 2006). When saidin is strange, following the use of the Bowl of the Winds, Nalaam finds it easier to make a gateway in the same place as one he made before.
The alternative to learning a place, is that if a person does not Travel far, they do not need to know the place at all. Rand Travels to The Square of Tammaz in Illian then to towers in the King's Palace, then to the throne room (ACoS, Ch. 41; Jordan's Blog, Friday, January 20th, 2006). Rand uses this to kill Rahvin, taking him by surprise and avoiding most of his traps (Robert Jordan's Blog, Tuesday, October 4th, 2005). Rand uses this trick to learn a place so that he can then Travel from it (TGS, Ch. 44).
Harine doesn't think much of Traveling because of the difficulty in using it on ships, making one to the deck of a ship, especially from another is chancy at best, but Shalon thinks it wonderful. When Logain travels to the ship, he makes it a foot above the deck to avoid damaging it. Shalon is impressed with that idea (KoD, Ch. 22). Perrin and the Asha'man with him have a Traveling ground (CoT, Ch. 8) and outside Tar Valon, the rebels have two (CoT, Ch. 17).
How to Travel
Men and women Travel differently. For men, the weave is spirit touched with fire (KoD, Ch. 19). They use this to bend reality, folding the pattern and then making a hole though it, with no space between one end of the whole and the other (LoC, Ch. 2; LoC, Ch. 27). Rand thinks that if he tried to Travel like a woman, the Pattern would rip him apart (LoC, Ch. 27). Asmodean was not able to teach him Traveling as he didn't have the strength (TFoH, Ch. 6).
For women, it is spirit only (LoC, Ch. 28). Traveling like men do would not work for them, it makes Egwene queasy just thinking of it (LoC, Ch. 27) and Moghedien states that a woman who tried would be sucked into the space between the threads of the Pattern and would not live long (LoC, Ch. 37). Instead, they make the two places in the pattern identical (LoC, Ch. 37). Unlike men, women can form the weave for a gateway even if they don't have the strength to make it work (TPoD, Ch. 12).
Rand sees Sammael's gateway fade and copies it, altering it slightly so it will come out in a different place – but nearby (ACoS, Ch. 41). Egwene makes a gateway into Tel'aran'rhiod. The weave is spirit (LoC, Ch. 28).
Amongst Aes Sedai, only a minority are able to Travel, though the exact proportion is not given. However, only a handful of the Salidar Aes Sedai were strong enough to make a gateway larger than they could put an arm through and most not even that (LoC, Ch. 39). We do know that Careane, Sareitha and Merilille are middling in terms of strength, but not strong enough to channel (CoT, Ch. 10).
When Elayne and Nynaeve take a group of Windfinders to the Kin's farm, her first thought is that "None of these women would stand particularly high.. not low, but not high (...) if they had been Aes Sedai, every one of them (...) would have listened when she spoke and stood when she entered a room" (TPoD, Ch. 2). However, she also thinks that they are all strong enough to Travel (TPoD, Ch. 1).
Only eight of the Kin are strong enough to do so on their own (CoT, Ch. 12). This is out of around one hundred and fifty. These numbers cannot be used to extrapolate to Aes Sedai however, as most of the Kin are women who were put out for being too weak.
All of the Asha'man Rand kept with him were strong enough to Travel (ACoS, Ch. 2).
There is an exception to this rule, in that as with shielding, it is possible to have a Talent for Traveling such that a person can form much larger gateways than would be expected, or can Travel when they should be too weak, as with Androl Genhald (ToM, Ch. 46).
Beliefs about Traveling
- “There has not been an Aes Sedai powerful enough to Travel since the Time of Madness (...) In any case I don't think the Forsaken together could move a thousand Trollocs (Moiraine) (TEotW, Ch. 21).
This is incorrect on many levels. Firstly, there are Aes Sedai powerful enough to Travel, Moiraine herself is one of them. Secondly, the Forsaken are powerful enough to move a thousand Trollocs (KoD, Ch. 19) and finally, Trollocs can't be moved by gateway anyway (KoD, Ch. 19).
- “It is something akin to Traveling, I think , but just as no one remembers how to Travel, no one remembers the trick” (Verin on Portal Stones, TGH, Ch. 37). Again, Portal Stones have little in common with Traveling – for a start, there is no need to know the starting location.
Traveling and war
In the War of Power, Traveling was used extensively to move people about. There were problems with this though. Even with the largest possible circles, there are limits to the size of gateways and thus limits to the front along which you can move troops out through it, the numbers you can commit simultaneously. Of course, you can use multiple gateways, but each is still only so large and can admit only so many soldiers at a time. There are ways to interfere with the making of a gateway - and ways to defend against interference (Robert Jordan Question of the week, week 14).
The second use was deathgates, which were a weapon against Shadowspawn. They are formed in a similar manner to a normal gateway, the same weave with touches of Earth added. They rotate, opening and shutting, revealing the misty back and sped towards Trollocs. The destination shifts each time it opens, killing the Shadowspawn, who cannot survive passing through a gateway (KoD, Ch. 19).
- Aviendha channels in panic when Rand catches her naked and wet. He stops the gateway from closing (TFoH, Ch. 31). She forgets the weave and later, when she learns it again, is unable to form a gateway as large as Elayne, or to do so with just part of her strength, as it differs from the first way she did it, possibly just because of the gesture she used (TPoD, Ch. 1).
- Rand stops Aviendha's gateway from closing. Asmodean says that anyone within a mile could have felt Rand's weave and that only Demandred, Lews Therin Telamon and maybe Semirhage could block a gateway that was closing (TFoH, Ch. 32).
Times People Travel
There had been a sense of -folding- as Ba'alzamon left. A twisting as if Ba'alzamon had somehow bent what was (...) Rand reached out through Callandor and twisted reality to make a doorway to somewhere else (TDR, Ch. 55).
Aviendha channels in panic when Rand catches her naked and wet. He stops the gateway from closing (TFoH, Ch. 31).
When he returns the following day, it is slowly closing. Asmodean says that anyone within a mile could have felt Rand's weave and that only Demandred, Lews Therin and maybe Semirhage could block a gateway that was closing (TFoH, Ch. 32).
General – Rand Travels between Caemlyn and Cairhien. When travelling within each city, he does so on foot or by horse (LoC)
Demandred Travels to Shayol Ghul (LoC, Prologue).
Rand Travels to the farm, Taim did not know how to (LoC, Ch. 2).
Demandred is in Tel'aran'rhiod in the flesh (LoC, Ch. 7).
Taim is given permission to Travel to recruit (LoC, Ch. 11).
Taim and the Asha'man travel to the camp (LoC, Ch. 55).
Wherever the rebels stop, they fence off an area for making skimming gateways. Egwene got skimming from Moghedien. They skim to Salidar and Travel back, those who are strong enough (ACoS, Ch. 9).
Sammael claims to have a thing called Travelling boxes (nar'baha). They do not work (ACoS, Ch. 20).
Rand Travels to woods outside Cairhien (ACoS, Ch. 35).
Sammael brings the nar'baha and disperses the Shaido. He knots most of the webs so they will snap shut after a few mintues. Some snap while people are passing through, one leaves some stranded and kills some mera'din (ACoS, Ch. 40).
Aviendha weaves a gateway. She adds a gesture to the weave Elayne taught to make it more similar to the one she used to escape Rand. The opening is taller than a man and just as wide. It takes all her strength, but Elayne only needs part of hers to wave a gateway (TPoD, Ch. 1).
After using the Bowl, Elayne stays where she is with the Power to learn the area, Nynaeve dashes around. So Elayne weaves the gateway. She is tired and the Gateway is no bigger than Aviendha's (TPoD, Ch. 6).
The Asha'man Travel a lot (TPoD, Ch. 23).
Thirteen Aes Sedai link to weave the gateway to Travel to Tar Valon, ten paces tall and a hundred wide (TPoD, Ch. 30).
Rand Travels to a storeroom on the top floor of the Royal Palace in Caemlyn (WH, Ch. 11).
Linked, Paedrine and Shemari can manage a gateway just big enough to walk through (CoT, Ch. 17).
Alviarin Travels back to Tar Valon (CoT, Ch. 21).
She sees a pair of Greens arrive, too weak to make a gateway on their own (KoD, Ch. 2).
Beonin teaches Elaida Travelling, then skimming, using a barge as platform and explaining it is for going from a place you do not know well (KoD, Ch. 2).
Nynaeve Travels to Saldaea and leaves Lan there, then Travels around the borderlands (KoD, Ch. 20).