For The Traveler Who Doesn't Travel Full Time
Those of you who know us know that earlier this year, Brooke and I spent a few months traveling through Europe. During just a short time we visited 14 different cities. It was a whirlwind of new foods and new faces and I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything (even a much heftier bank acocunt). But what happens when you come home, you go back to work, and settle back into your normal life? Are you no longer a 'traveler'?
Within the travel community, there are so many nomads who travel constantly, finding odd jobs along the way or funding themselves through online businesses. Becoming fully nomadic is not a reality - or a desire - for everyone, though, and I think this is sometimes forgotten in the world of travel blogging.
Travel media encourages people to travel, tell them they have to, it will change their lives, they will find fulfillment. And it's fantastic. People should travel! I genuinely believe it will make the world a better and more compassionate place. But it is very easy for the conversation to feel condescending to the casual traveler. It is easy to feel like you don't travel often enough or far enough or to exotic enough places. It's as if the only way you can be considered a 'traveler' is if your Instagram feed is a constant flow of trendy foods and carefully posed candids from around the world.
Your travels do not need to be constant to be important. Some people will travel to 3 different cities in 2 weeks. Some people will travel to 1 city in 3 months. The pace at which you travel and the places to which you travel are not as important as the things you will take with you. You can have the 'typical' mindset of a world-traveler even while living in your home town.
As a travel blogger, I often feel that there is a sort of competition going on. On the road, you constantly get asked questions about how many countries you've been to or how long you've been living out af a backpack - and sighs of disapproval if your favorite city is something as mainstream as London (ILY, Waterloo). And in the age of hashtags and social media, there are challeneges like getting to 25 countries by the age of 25 that add to the pressure we already feel to be traveling.
Instead of always rushing to the next destiation, let's enjoy where we are and appreciate where we have already been. I know this is easier said than done. Not a day goes by that I don't scan my inbox for the next best travel deal. But I am confident that when the time is right, I will take my next trip, and another after that, and another after that.
In the meantime, while I'm stuck at home, I will try to remember the lessons I've learned and use them everyday. I will be minimalistic and only buy things I really need. I will push myself out of my comfort zone to try new foods, to meet new people, to go new places. I will live curiosly and learn something new everyday. I will take pictures of pretty things and appreciate everyday that I have.
Let's all slow down a bit. Don't brag about how many places you have been. Instead, spread the knowledge you have learned. Don't feel pressure to do everything. Take your time and enjoy the culture. Don't bankrupt yourself to travel as much as your favorite blogger. Travel within your means to places that genuinely interest you. It is okay to not be traveling constantly as long as you remember the way you felt and the things you learned while you were traveling.