If I have to read one more article about traveling in your 20s being the end-all be-all of life, I’m going to scream.
Don’t get me wrong, I love reading our many traveling tips on the site, experiences people have had and the lessons people have learned while globetrotting. My fellow writers amaze me with their awesome pictures from around the world. Carpe that f*cking diem, darlings.
But, what I hate more than anything else are these lists and think pieces about why doing anything else and not stopping everything to travel and see the world and take selfies with indigenous peoples is a crime.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m really biased. First off, I have major travel anxiety (like the lovely Angela). I get nervous-excited for trips like everyone else, but for me, the nervous often outweighs the excited. I get panic attacks thinking about the logistics.
Second, I’m terrified of flying. I’ve done it and will do it if I need to, but as all the people who always tease and mock me on planes love to point out, I go white as a sheet and the prospect of flying makes me ill. It’s at the point if I watch a film where they are on an airplane, I get sweaty.
All that aside, however, I think I would still find these pieces incredibly limiting, and disheartening. I’m down to read an amazing account of enriching travel. What I’m not down for is reading why I should quit my job and travel or risk wasting my life.
I had the chance to go to France in high school. Many, many of my friends went and I honestly thought about it. My mom and I discussed it and she very nicely (because she’s the best mom ever) told me that she would help me scrimp and save and do it, if I really, REALLY wanted it.
I thought about it a lot and while it would be really cool, for me, it just wasn’t worth it. I spent that money on other things that I felt were more important to me at the time. Thinking back, I don’t regret it one bit.
In college, I also could have studied abroad. But, again, going to an out-of-state school was enough of an adventure for me. I chose to do an internship in New York, go on small road trips with my friends and graduate early. I don’t regret it. I’ve seen some things. I lived in Chinatown and rode the subway after midnight. It was a sight, I promise.
There are lots of enriching things in the world. For me, watching films, going to concerts, listening to people I meet daily is very enriching. I’m sure those who have traveled will be quick to tell me that some of those things do nothing for them, but traveling has shaped who they are. And I’m sure they’re right. I’m sure I’m right too.
While traveling might change your life, it’s also incredibly wrong to frown upon people who do not have the means to travel. The idea that “everyone” needs to travel at some point in their lives is silly. What everyone NEEDS to do is put food on the table, support themselves and survive. Traveling is amazing, but it’s a part of life that not everyone gets to experience.
So rock on you wanderlusters. I love you and your instagramed glory. Just knock off the guilt-inducing think pieces and I’ll be sure to give a like to that picture of you leaning on the Tower of Pisa. Maybe one day I’ll pop a pill and will myself to get on a plane with you and write my apology to you all.
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I agree with you. I don’t think that I’ve experienced less because I haven’t traveled extensively. I did choose to go to college out of state and I have experienced a completely different culture down here. I’m sure life is different overseas and maybe I’ll be brave enough to take that chance and go over there, but if I don’t …then I don’t.