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Sea faring is front and center in the Odyssey, and mentions the more mundane reasons why people would travel by boat; trading, pilgrimages, family reunions, ... It must have been dangerous for sure, but common experience as well.

And in that particular case, the sea travel took 10 years, rather than weeks or months. With favorable winds or strong oarsmen, a vessel can transit from the port on one island in the Aegean to another in days. With diesel engines, cruise ships can make those same trips overnight, while the passengers are sleeping.

Seafaring ships and river boats were the highest-throughput way to transport soldiers and cargo for thousands of years, until one empire or another built an overland road and maintained it.

Sea travelers had to deal with adverse weather and piracy. Land travelers had to deal with inconvenient terrain, adverse weather, taxes or tolls, banditry, and blisters.

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