You Need To Stop Travel-Shaming Me
When I tell people about my travels, I can expect to get one of two responses. The first option is something along the lines of "I'm so jealous, I wish I could do that..." and the second is usually "F*ck yeah, that is awesome, good for you!" And I must say, I much prefer the latter.
If I had a dollar for every whiny, pessimistic, and unsupportive response I've gotten, I'd have enough money to travel right away from all you Debbie-downers for good.
And before I go any further, let's all get one thing clear: You CAN Travel.
You can, and you should. And it is easier than you think.
I know what you're thinking... "I don't have the money" or "I don't have time to travel." We are all broke, and we all have the same 24 hours in a day. If you want to travel, you can. Let's talk about why those two excuses are (usually) invalid.
1. You don't have the money: I pay bills and student loans just like the rest of you. The difference is I don't go to Starbucks in the morning and Chipotle on my lunch break. I don't go out every weekend. I don't go to concerts every month. I don't buy a new outfit for every occasion. I sacrifice these things because traveling is more important to me. All of those things are fun and great, but I would rather forgo them knowing I am saving up for another adventure. The $30 you spent on that shirt could have been two nights stay in a hostel or a train ticket to somewhere you've never been. I'm not saying you should give up any of these things if they are important and make you happy. But, stop making me feel guilty for prioritizing travel. If you wanted it bad enough, you would give up these things as well.
2. You don't have the time: I acknowledge that it is easier for me right now because I don't have a full time job, but even when I do, I still plan on traveling. Everyone gets vacation days. Use them. No one is expecting a year-long world tour from you. Go to South America for two weeks. Explore your own state on the weekends. Go on a cruise. Find places you can go within your time limitations and do it!
There are a lot of things you can shame people for. Traveling the world and gaining new persepctives should not be one of them. I have learned endless lessons while traveling that I never could have learned elsewhere. I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a college degree, but the most useful professional skills I have I have acquired through travel. I can adapt to my surroundings, I can negotiate confidently, I can stay calm and level-headed in unforseen, stressful situations. All of this is because I have traveled - and will always encourage others to do the same.
Planning a trip, especially an extended one, is a big decision and a lot of pressure. I don't need people making me feel guilty for following my dreams! Spending an extended amount of time traveling does not mean I lack ambition or am naive to the real world - I would actually argue the exact opposite.
There are a million excuses you can spit out for why you "can't" travel, but 90% of the time I think they are BS. I will not judge you for how you prioritize things in your life. If you want to buy a big house in the suburbs and have a bunch of kids, I will be your biggest supporter. All I ask is that you do the same for me.
I believe a lot of the negativity I receive stems from bitterness or jealousy or people feeling like they can't do the same thing. So to all of you feeling that way, just know that you can do it. It takes some sacrifices and can be scary but is so incredibly worth it. And to all of you who have already figured it out and are out there traveling the world, f*ck the haters - travel as far and as often as you can.