"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going"
– Paul Theroux
This is the reason why most of the long-term hardcore travellers hate the questions that follow. I’ve been travelling for some time now and it is subject to mixed opinions. Most of the people fail to understand that we need our passport as much as you need your regular paycheck. Long-term travellers are almost immune to any type of stupid remarks and jibes but there are certain questions which are meant to get on our nerves. Therefore, I have listed some of them here for all those irksome people who really are keen on antagonising us. Read along.
1. How many countries have you been to?
This is a simple question which can be quite appreciative when it is asked by an open-mouthed non-traveller acquaintance. However, trouble alarms start ringing when the same question is posed by some overly competitive travelers whose main motto is to try one-upping each other.
2. Don’t you have a real job?
Every time I hear this question, my eyes automatically roll over and do some somersaults back in the head. I believe that a job isn’t just a job; it is a reflection of who you are. We are not okay with 9 to 5 jobs and we never will be. These so-called conventional people are either amused at our lifestyle or even get jealous because they can’t have our craziness about travelling and the mindset to believe that the box doesn’t exist and they’ll always be trapped in their office-to-home-to-office cycle.
3. Which is your favorite place?
This is one of the most absurd questions that one can pose to a long-term traveler. Everywhere we have been to is our favorite destination and our next destination will be our favorite too. We agree that some of the destinations didn’t suit our needs and some of them were absolutely mind-boggling but we will never regret being anywhere because we feel at home only when we are on the move.
4. How long are you here for?
I have never been good at making plans and due to this, I have found myself stuck in various problems. I can only chalk out a rough plan and actually know what I am gonna do when I reach my destination. One of the main things about travelling is the spontaneity that comes along with it.
5. Don’t you miss your family and friends?
We all know the answer to this question and we shed a tear every once in a while. I have missed important days and sometimes have hated myself for being the way I am but travelling is in my genes and I can’t be happy living a sedentary life. Asking such a question brings our inhibitions to the forefront and makes us see ourselves as selfish insensitive humans.
6. When are you going to settle down? When are you going to start a family? When are you going to have kids? When do you plan on retiring from this vagabond life of yours?
This is a question which makes me want to puke all over the person who asked the question. The answer is going to be Never ever ever ever! I might get married (someday, maybe), own property and get a full-time job (snowball’s chance in hell) but I cannot alter my passion – travelling. It will always be our first priority. Given the choice between traveling and getting settled with a person we love, we will always choose travel.
7. Aren’t you too old/young for this?
It’s always young in my case but throughout my travels, the one thing that I have learnt is that age is just a number. I might develop osteoporosis or my boobs might reach down to my knees but I’ll never stop planning a vacation.
8. Aren’t you worried about career or money?
It would be lying if I say that I don’t worry about money or having a career. I’m an ambitious woman and many a time my inexistent retirement plans bother me. But, my money problems are solved by my part-time jobs and a lifetime full of wonderful memories s worth much more than a regular paycheck.
9. What is your ultimate destination?
Honey, we all are going to have the same ultimate destination with different paths. Mine is going to be a lot better than yours filled with memories and no regrets. Until they die, travelers are never going to put a full stop to their wanderlust.
Maybe I am being hyper-sensitive (or not) but these are the most absurd questions that I have been facing since I have started travelling. I hate being asked all these questions and I am still trying to answer people honestly and maybe feed them a piece of my mind but then, most of the times I go absolutely blank and no idea pops out of my brain.