I have spent the better half of my evening reading all the posts other Travel Bloggers have led me too, while some blogs offer strictly travel advice and tips, others are more personal. They reflect on the personal problems we all face while travelling… the unconventional stares we get when we are so passionate from branching out of the norm. You know what I’m talking about. There is always that one person, or even tens of people who just look at you like you are from another planet when you tell them, “Oh, I’m taking some time off work to travel for a while”. BAM.. the look just hits you like a million bullets. It’s imprinted on their forehead, loud and clear as they judge you, and you know that all their thinking is, “Why would you waste your time like that, instead of working, instead of making something for yourself!”. Steph, from 20 Something Travel, says it best: “These people aren’t generally allowed to hang around in my life too long”. Which is true, if you are sceptical of why I would rather be travelling than spending my time in a 4X4 cubicle, then i’m sorry, but we won’t get along very well.
Of course there are the other problems, which not too many other travel bloggers have reported on. It is the misconception that you need to be down right rich to travel. I encourage people to travel, trying to share my passion with them, but it’s always the same old excuse, “oh, I don’t have the money” or the worst one, “I’ll do it when im older, after im done working”. It’s understandable that travel is an expense, but it shouldn’t be a burden on you financially, it should be a lifestyle. Instead of paying rent back home, you are paying for a night at a hostel, or better yet, spend it free while you CouchSurf. Then, there is the cost of food, which if you budget yourself, could amount to less than a weeks worth of groceries. How about tackling attractions? We’ll, unless you’re a big spender, you can enjoy the local culture instead of the expenses of “tourist-ville”. Spend a day hiking, and go camping. Museums have discounted hours, and rates for students or individuals under 26. Realistically, maintaining a social life back home is potentially more costly than travelling abroad, as you try to be social over lunches, or movie nights, the cost of gas, and living. Let me put it this way, when your travelling, that money that goes towards your hydro can go towards a railway pass all across the country. All the left over cash from cheap or potentially free accommodations is extra money that can be put towards flights and overland transportation. “Make yourself rich not in materialistic objects, but in experiences”. Those experiences are ultimately the greatest gift, and reason for why you should sacrifice every inch of your spare time towards it.
Also, there is one more misconception about travel. It is that many will perceive it is as an act of selfishness. I know what you travellers are thinking, some of you are shaking your head, disagreeing. Maybe you’re the lucky ones, maybe everyone in your life supports this true quest of yours. Yet, there is everyone else who is nodding their head in agreement. Maybe it’s your parents, who think that your being selfish by travelling, that you are throwing your life away. It could be your significant other who thinks that you only love yourself, because you are willing to leave them alone when ever you travel, (hey, no one is stopping them from joining you!). It could be your friends, who take it as personal attacks when you miss their wedding because your climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or you miss their birthday because your shark cage diving in South Africa. You miss the birth of a new family member, or close friend because your having tea in a buddhist temple. Those moments that you missed, they are not your own. It could just as easily be switched around, as you could be upset that they didn’t see you scale Mount Kilimanjaro, or watch you fence of those sharks. Nonetheless, your not upset that they weren’t able to be there, and you shouldn’t be upset or regret those personal victories because you missed an important landmark in someone else’s life. If they are your true friends, a phone call, a post card or a hand written letter should suffice, because if they are true to you, that will be enough to bring a smile to their face. They will be the ones who welcome you home after a long journey with open arms, and introduce you to all the things that went on while you were out living your life.
Travel happy, travel smoothly, travel like it is your lifestyle. Everyone else who was too afraid to travel will wake up to a mid-life crisis. Travellers will wake up to a new sunrise in a foreign country.