A while ago, I wrote an article on A Note on the ‘Traveler vs. Tourist’ Attitude, which touched on travel snobbery and elitism, and people trying to “one up” each other with their travels. I recently read an article by one of my favorite bloggers, Oneika the Traveller. She wrote about ‘Are You a Travel Snob? Let’s Discuss Travel Elitism and Shade‘.
Anyway, it got me thinking about the topic once more and I wanted to write my thoughts on the subject.
Look. Everybody is different. Some of us are privileged enough to travel far and wide, to all corners of the globe. Others are only able to do local road trips. There’s nothing that drives me crazier than somebody who spent their recent holiday trekking through the Amazon with nothing but a machete and a guide to edible plants hating on somebody who spent their holiday lounging at a resort by the pool, or camping in the local mountains.
We all have different styles of travel. We all have different things that make us happy.
Travel is about enjoying life. It is about having fun, making memories, relaxing, and perhaps learning something new.
Let’s all stop trying to one-up each other with our travels. Let’s all stop hating on those who haven’t been able to go to the places we’ve been able to go.
There are a myriad of reasons somebody might not have gone on trips as “exotic” as somebody else. Maybe somebody doesn’t have the money to go on such an exotic trip. Maybe they are nervous about traveling somewhere that is really different from their home. I always encourage people to get out of their comfort zones and experience a bit of the world if they are able, but honestly, it scares some people.
And that’s ok.
You should travel because you want to relax, unwind, explore, learn, discover, have fun, experience new things, enjoy time off, see new things, or experience new cultures. You should not travel because you want to be able to rub your adventures in the faces of those who have not traveled as far and wide as you have.
Travel does not make you better than somebody else.
I’m on a current mission to visit all seven continents, and my “to travel to” list spans places as diverse as Iceland, China, Thailand, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Jordan, Dubai, Russia, Korea, Eastern Europe, Peru, Chile, and….yes, Antarctica. I’ve traveled all over Europe. I’ve been to Japan. I’ve been to Australia. Does that make me better than somebody who has only gone on road trips to National Parks in the U.S. and a week in Cancun one time? No. It doesn’t. It just means that I’ve been to some farther away places. That’s all it means.
Travel is about you, not others.
Where you go and why you travel is a very personal thing. For me, I’m driven by an insatiable desire to explore at all times. I explore constantly. I prioritize travel in my life because it brings me joy. When I’m not hitting up the far reaches of the globe, I’m taking weekend road trips and short flights to places closer to home and exploring those areas. When I’m not doing that, I’m wandering around San Diego and Los Angeles counties and discovering new neighborhoods, new restaurants, and new hiking trails. Exploring is what I love to do. That’s why I travel.
Your reasons might be different than mine. Perhaps you just like getting out into nature. Perhaps you just want to relax somewhere. Perhaps you’re into adventure sports. Those are different and valid reasons to travel and your trips will maybe consist of camping in the local forest, lounging poolside at a resort, or flying to the mountains to do some snowboarding. You should do what makes you happy. It’s your life. It’s your time. It’s your money. Don’t ever let somebody “shame” you because your trip wasn’t as “epic” as theirs.
Why all the haters?
Seriously, why? I’m happy for people when they get some time off or travel somewhere. I’m just as excited to hear about my coworker’s ski trip to Tahoe as I am to hear about my friend’s experiences painting murals in rural villages in Madagascar in the Peace Corps. I like hearing about the people in my life doing interesting things, having fun, and enjoying life. There’s no reason to hate on the joy of others. We should be happy for them! We should encourage them to have fun and do things that make them happy!
Your “blah” destination might be somebody else’s trip of a lifetime.
If I want, I can do a weekend road trip to any of the following destinations: Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Las Vegas, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, Napa Wine Country, Palm Springs, Lake Tahoe, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. If I fly, I can go anywhere in the continental U.S. as well as much of Western Mexico and Canada in the course of a weekend without taking any time off of work. I know, I’ve done it. To me, these are “small” trips. They are trips I can do any time, don’t cost much money, and don’t require much time (or any time in a lot of cases) off of work. As a result, they aren’t as exciting to me as the prospect of going to Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, or Africa.
Then again, somebody in Europe might be ecstatic to go to a lot of these places. It’s all a matter of perspective.
The other thing to remember is that not everybody can afford to go on the kinds of trips I go on. For that matter, there are people who go on trips I can’t afford. It’s all relative. I’m currently calling San Diego, California home and since I live in a tourist town, I see a lot of people from all over the place visiting my fine city, particularly in the summer. The same boring places I go over and over are new and exciting to these people, and that’s great! We get a lot of tourists from Arizona particularly because it’s a relatively easy road trip/beach vacation for them. I think it’s great that they are getting some time to enjoy my home town! (I wouldn’t mind if the traffic didn’t increase so much, though).
Spread the love.
Let’s all work on spreading the love instead of the hate. Let’s encourage each other to enjoy life, whatever that means to them.