I am starting to feel like we travellers like to toot our own horns a little too much. I am constantly reading these articles or blog posts about how brave we are.; how inspiring we are. Are we though? Who says we are? Is that the people back home tell us we are, so we believe it and then decide to tell the rest of the world about it? Are the writers of all these articles fellow travellers, or are they simply outsiders writing about their opinions from their desks at home? If the latter is true, how would they even know what they are saying is accurate?
I find that these articles are usually interesting, and accurate, I suppose. I have been privy to posting an article that I read here or there about the life of a traveler. But after awhile reading these articles over and over about how much better the lives of travellers are than everyone else’s, it makes me wonder who is writing these. And who they are writing them for? Are they writing these articles to inspire others to travel more? Or are they writing for fellow travellers to relate to? Because to be quite honest, for the most part, in my experience and observations, the people I see posting, reading, and liking, these articles, are fellow travellers. It is rare to see someone on my newsfeed, who doesn’t travel much, post an article about ‘Five Reasons Those Who Travel Lead a Happier Life’ or ’25 Reasons You Should Date a Girl Who Travels’. We read and post about articles we can relate to, or that we find interesting. But if we are not one who is prone to travel, then why would we care about reading about it?
The problem I have is, I know that writing this I will hear comments like “but these articles are showing people who don’t travel what they are missing” and other kinds of misconceptions I am sure many people have. But look at it where I am coming from… I am a traveler. I move to countries to teach, and while there I tend to explore as much as I can. I thrive on change and love to learn about new cultures and adapt my life accordingly. I can relate to many of the articles being posted. I get tagged in them all the time by fellow travellers, or friends of mine who know my passion for traveling. What I cannot relate to is this notion that we are somehow better than everyone else for doing so and constantly assuming that everyone should be out doing the same thing,
First of all, if everyone were out there doing the same thing, being the same people, life would be pretty boring and we’d have some group of people finding a way to be different and telling us we are doing it wrong. Second of all, not everyone can afford to travel all the time, or maybe they don’t have jobs that are easy to just find a new one across the world in some foreign country. I am fortunate that the profession I have chosen, and am passionate about, has given me the opportunity to move to different places on a few different continents, and I get to explore.
The argument people will have is that people spend their money on bullshit and that if they really wanted to travel they could find a way to save the money. Which is fair, but maybe traveling isn’t what makes them truly happy. Maybe they are working in a career that makes them really happy, but doesn’t pay very well, or have much vacation time. But it doesn’t matter because their enjoyment of their day to day life is all that matters. Or maybe they have a family to provide for and they can’t worry about traveling to other countries to ‘appreciate what they have’ because they are too busy making money to make sure their children have everything they need in life. Perhaps their own children are the ones that make them feel alive and inspire them to do more. They don’t need to travel to another country to try to make a difference in other people’s lives.
I know some of my fellow travellers may read this and be offended, but I think it’s time we stop tooting our own horns about being brave/inspiring, and talking about how proud of ourselves we are for leaving it all behind or doing whatever new thing we are doing. I am not inspiring. I wanted to teach, so I left somewhere where it was becoming impossible to do so, in order to do the damn job I am meant to be doing. I am not brave. The definition of brave is to be prepared to endure pain or danger without fear; I am neither in pain or facing any danger here, and I am scared sometimes. I cry my eyes out every time I leave home. This life I lead is not always rainbows and sunshine.
We constantly read these articles about travel makes you this, that and the other thing, but I have seen it break people. I have seen people leave their jobs before their contract is over. I have seen people run out of money or go home when the going gets tough. Travel isn’t meant for everyone. Travel isn’t always accessible to everyone. And not having the ability to or the need to do so, doesn’t make you any less of a person. I may not understand it. And these articles may be pretty spot on when they say travel opens your mind, makes you more tolerant of differences in people, builds your confidence and make you happier. But is travel the only thing that can do this for people? I have friends at home who are open minded, tolerant, confident and happy people, so are all these qualities not as strong in them because they were not built through travel?
Obviously I would recommend travelling to anyone who would listen to me speak (or read what I have to write). It cured my heartbreak. It gave me the ability to work the profession I love. I have developed great friendships from traveling. I have learned to be happy alone. I like to think I was already this open minded, without having traveled, but I am sure it has helped in keeping my mind open. There are many things I owe to travel. But I want to read something new about travel. I want to read something real and honest. Every article out there says the same damn thing with different words. Give me it to me raw Spare me the articles telling us what we already know. I want to read something that goes beyond the obvious and makes a non traveler truly understand where we are coming from.
As I sit and write this, I am sure you are saying ‘you write a blog, why don’t you write one yourself?’ and maybe I will, when I find the right words to say it. I write what I feel when I feel it. I write what I know. And I am not trying to knock any writer out there doing the same. I guess I just want a little less tooting our own horns and little more originality is all. Give me more information on the best ways to travel, things to avoid while traveling, advice, tips and the like. Less of the boasting about how much better we are for traveling.
I don’t write to brag about my life or make my life seem like it’s something it’s not. I write and share my photos to let others get a glimpse into the life I lead and the things I get to see and experience. Not everyone can relate, not everyone wants to know, but for those who read my blog, I just hope they find honesty and no judgement. For I may not understand a life of no travel, just as someone who doesn’t travel does not understand my life of travel, but that does not make either of us better or worse, just different. End rant. I expect I will have some arguments or opinions from others on the subject, I welcome other’s two cents on the matter at hand.