Updated: Jan 24
Or, the more passive aggressive version:
“It’d be great if we could ALL travel as much as you do.”
Let me explain…
My first ‘proper’ travel experience happened the year I turned 23. A friend and I spontaneously decided to go backpacking and spent 12-months living the cliché gap-year dream. We visited Australia and New Zealand, met the most amazing people, rarely wore shoes, kept the tie-dye industry in business, wore fisherman pants daily, and became adept at securing the bottom bunk in every hostel we stayed in.
We were back-packing pro’s.
I’ve no idea where my love of travel came from. I didn’t fly for the first time until was 16-years old. My family aren’t BIG travelers at all. Their idea of a holiday is 2-weeks in Cornwall. Which although lovely (BIG Cornwall fan over here), it isn’t my preferred vacation destination of choice.
Since my twenty-something back-packing adventure, I’ve tried to travel as much as I can. I’ve lived in Canada (whatta country), Australia and New Zealand. I’ve spent time in Europe and the US. I’ve freelanced as a writer, run my own photography business and held down a ton of pseudo ‘proper’ jobs, just to fund my travels.
While the majority of my friends were buying houses, getting married and having kids - I was busy planning my next trip. I still am. Truthfully most of them think I’m crazy, or having some sort of early mid-life crisis. Especially when I became a 30-something without any of the ‘things’ that society tells us we need to have at that particular stage of our lives.
I didn’t own my own house, in fact I’d moved back home with my parents (sorry mum)!
I didn’t have a ‘career’ instead I freelanced and worked in jobs that I enjoyed (that facilitated my love of travel).
I wasn’t married and had no plans to be.
And, *gasp*… I didn’t have kids.
I guess the thing that people found (and still find) REALLY difficult to understand, was that I wasn’t even sure that I wanted any of those things.
I’ve never put huge importance on following societies status quo. Truthfully, if I wanted to be married, have kids and own my own home - well, realistically I could have had that life.
Time and time again when I’d tell people I was off traveling, I’d get an eye roll, and a clipped comment asking me ‘how I could afford to go?’ I’d get asked repeatedly ‘where I got my money from’ and would find myself constantly having to defend my decision to travel.
Turns out… a 30-something female going traveling really makes people uncomfortable.
Let me ask you this…
Would you ask someone how they could afford their new car?
Where they got the cash to buy their massive TV?
How they could afford their brand new MacBook Pro?
No, you probably wouldn’t.
So why then, when it comes to spending money on experiences do people feel that they have the right to ask that question?
Society tells us that it’s normal to spend our money on ’things’ in fact, it’s expected.
But, somehow - travel and experiences don’t fall into the that category. People really aren’t sure what to make of a person who would rather spend their cash on travel, instead of 'stuff.
So, in answer to the question that I get asked repeatedly…
We pay for travel in the same way that everyone else pays for things they want and enjoy. By working and saving up a f**k ton of cash. You get to show me your brand new BMW, I get to inundate you with Instagram posts of me traveling.
Same, same BUT different.
So next time someone asks how you manage to travel so much, and passive aggressively mentions that they wish that they could travel as much as you do…just remember…they totally could… If they wanted to.
Different things fulfill us, whether that’s cars, technology, spending thousands on a wedding or travel – and that’s okay. We all prioritise our own things. My ‘thing’ just happens to be travel. The memories I’ve collected and continue to collect are my ‘stuff’ – I just store them in my head and in photo-albums
instead of in a garage or a wardrobe. And you could too… if you wanted to.