So do you find yourself envious of, or judging those (especially women) who travel a lot? Here is an inveterate traveler breaking the myths about travelers.
Travel! This word has become synonymous with lifestyle and well-being. And social media does more than its fair share through Instagram and what not to throw at us images from around the world which make us want to book a ticket that very minute. And then we have all the vacation albums uploaded by those we know which makes us wonder, ‘how do people travel so much?’
No wonder we have so many articles and posts about the benefits of travel. And then a whole new kind of travel blogs which talk about quitting your job, dipping into your savings and jetting off.
Recently I saw a lot of these and didn’t take it so seriously, but felt it is indeed great for those who took the risk and who lived to tell the tale without regrets. And then from the shadows some stepped up to speak about how for them it wasn’t the best decision, and they went broke and had to start from scratch. I saw a lot of people on social media mocking the latter group of people as well as hurling insults at those who travel and telling them in clear terms to ‘shut the hell up and stop preaching about forgetting everything to travel’.
As a fellow traveler I felt the need to break the myth and talk about the actual picture regarding this glorious aspect of life, which again one is free to agree or disagree with. So here goes –
Necessity or luxury?
Travel is a necessity for some, luxury for others and it is ok!
For those who consider travel a luxury maybe factors like commitments at work , family, finances or other reasons personal to the individual, may hold them back from packing a bag and heading out the door. Having said that for others it is a way of life. They embrace the nomadic sense of life and take pleasure in the experiences they encounter along their journeys. And are able to do it more so than others. They throw caution to the wind and head off.
But then there are some (myself included) who have been travelling for years while maintaining a steady pay check – undoubtedly my means to travel. And no matter how we do so – it is okay. To each his own after all.
It is a personal thing
Travel is often very personal. It’s considered ‘touristy’ to visit places and go by the check list of what to see or do as everyone does. Which again some prefer and love to do.
But a traveler chooses to explore the unexplored, staying with locals, striking up conversations with strangers and taking the time to be alone and enjoy their own company. This does not mean they come back with all these experiences in the hope to reform/persuade others to do the same.
Travel is so intimate to the individual in question that when they talk about their journey it is more a means to revisit that time for themselves and not at all about preaching to others.
Travelers are not flaky or looking to hold on to their youth
Just because some people travel more frequently than others, they are inevitably asked the most annoying questions on the planet.
Exhibit A – Are you single? You must be in order to travel without having a care in the world.
Exhibit B – Don’t your parents say anything?
Exhibit C – You don’t want to get married or have a family?
Exhibit D – How do you manage work and money?
Exhibit E – How long do you think you can keep this up? (Some questions more specific to women than men but the menfolk get their fair share of intrusive questions too).
Well I haven’t come across people who have asked me such inane questions, but to answer those who wonder and don’t say so out loud –:
My marital status has nothing to do with travel. I am an individual first and a partner to someone later. My parents are extremely supportive to the point of being encouraging. If they were dubious with my choices I would be able to convince them, because when something is equivalent to breathing for you it is easy to live your truth and speak for the same.
Why does travel mean I don’t want to be married or have kids? If I haven’t done so already it may be for a variety of reasons and not because I don’t want or see that for myself. But yes my life is not based solely on getting married. I work, whether it has been full time or freelance, to support myself and I plan to ‘keep this up’ till my grave. And if the future holds having a family of own, well I plan to have them travel with me undoubtedly!
Travel does not mean that one doesn’t want a family, marriage or is incapable of maintaining friendships or relationships. It just means the person wishes to focus on a relationship with themselves too and give priority to the same.
Travelers have their own conflicts/obstacles
Travelling is not a means to escape from reality. Some perceive those with this ‘nomadic or gypsy’ style of life as running away from their problems or even, not having any problems. But the truth is a traveler carries not just luggage but his or her emotional baggage on their travels as well.
From personal experience, I have faced hardships in life and chosen to travel rather than wallow in self-pity or curled up on the floor in tears. I chose to take out time for myself and find myself when I felt lost and confused. And I am not saying that a trip makes problems vanish, but it surely gives a better perspective about one’s self and dreams for the future.
Every time I felt low and managed to get away for some time, inevitably I found myself, stronger than when I started my journey.
By no means is one saying that the only way to attain peace or fulfilment is via travel. Just as some achieve a balanced sense of inner peace through other activities, this is just one in a list of many. Just as reading groups are cropping up around the world to encourage people to read, those who travel are spreading the message of how liberating and fun it is.
So why should we judge? Why judge what brings happiness to one which perhaps it may not to another, or they may not have the means? We aren’t talking of the rich and famous here. We are talking of people who have worked actual jobs and saved the money for their future plans – which include or perhaps centre on travel. Isn’t happiness subjective?
I have, through my travels, met some wonderful people. Senior citizens who have grown up children and are using their life savings to travel while keeping enough aside to sustain themselves when back home, families – children, grandchildren and even pets in tow, couples who have decided to make the most of the time they have and the years of hard work that has led to them being able to live their dream.
One is not saying that a particular kind of life is better than the other but we must respect each other’s decisions and choices. After all that is what life is about – learning about various perspectives, different from our own and growing in that knowledge.