Travel is travel

Some people will tell you that you are not traveling when you go somewhere for a week. That that is a vacation.

Let’s please take a moment and read the definition of travel, shall we?

“To go from one place to another, as by car, train, plane, or ship; take a trip; journey.”

It would be wonderful if instead of knocking people down by telling them that what they are doing by hopping on that plane and (insert definition of traveling here) is not what they are indeed doing, why not tell them congratulations and wonderful for you – for doing what works best for them and their lifestyle and what is within their means.

That it’s simply downright wonderful for them to willingly choose to invest time and money into going somewhere (aka experiencing a new culture and seeing somewhere new) instead of sitting at home, saving hard earned money and enjoying life on a more local scale.

Why people think it is acceptable to push other people down in this way by shoving it in their face that they, themselves “make real sacrifices” to live the way that they do by traveling for months at a time (aka what they perceive to be the only type of “genuine travel”) – foregoing real home comforts, nice clothes, stability etc. –  is beyond me.

You would think travel would humble these people and make them see that everyone lives life differently. We all have our own struggles and eat our own version of expletive sandwich. We all choose our struggles. Work with the hand we’re dealt.

If you feel so bitter about how much you’ve sacrificed that you feel better about yourself by belittling other people’s lives in such a way, then maybe you ought to do something else to knock some serious sense in your head, because clearly travel has not taught you anything. It’s pathetic to feel superior to others because of your travels. To quote our president: SAD!

Not everyone can or wants to necessarily live as a nomad as you do, oftentimes sacrificing family and friends, children, marriage, a stable home, routine, etc. to upkeep your type of lifestyle.

Some people have elderly parents to care for, a disabled sibling, a passion project they’re growing from the ground up.

Even if they don’t, maybe they don’t want to be away for as long as you.

But everyone deserves to get away. To travel. For however long that may be. And in no way is that any less of a travel experience than your months or years long travel experience.

And it’s not about quantity – it’s about quality. I truly believe in this for almost all aspects of life, but I feel it’s especially appropriate here.

Whereas someone may be on the road for months at a time, they may not get to experience a place as much as someone away for a week. They may never get to afford a museum ticket or admission to a wonderful cultural experience such as a festival that someone who has diligently saved for months and carefully planned may get to.

And when you come back to say, well going back to a hotel at the end of the night is not the same as going back to an apartment or even a hostel, where true travelers resort, I say ridiculous.

Travel is not contingent on living arrangements. It’s about what you choose to do with your time. If you go to McDonald’s when you’re there then that’s a waste of the culture you’re meant to be immersing yourself in. But if you’re out there, engaging with locals, going to the beautiful wonders your destination has to offer, then you’re doing things right. It’s not about where you choose to rest your tired feet at the end of a day well explored.

This is the same sort of idea that comes with camping. My entire life I’ve had the luxury of enjoying the great outdoors in a camper – never having slept in a tent. Is that not considered camping? To be out in nature, breathing the fresh air in my lungs, taking a walk around the trails, appreciating our beautiful wild creatures? Just because I’ve been fortunate enough to have a camper instead of a tent? What makes it any different? We all come out, whether in our tent, camper or even our decked out house on wheels, aka RV, for the same purpose. To get out of the city and into the rural. To experience nature’s glory. Why should we tear each other down based on where we go to sleep at the end of a beautiful nature filled day?

That same idea applies with traveling. Just because someone has more or less time, more or less expendable income, it doesn’t make it any less or more worthy of falling under travel.

With so much negativity in the world it boggles my mind how some travelers – those who I usually associate with open mindedness and kind spirits as their eyes have seen more of the human struggle than most from around the world – can be so cruel and so pompous and pretentious.

They are not in any way better, and we shouldn’t allow them to discourage us. Because, at the end of the day, we all choose our individual lifestyles – but only to a certain degree as some things are not so easy to turn our noses to: i.e. our familial and financial obligations.

We just have to keep in mind that, ultimately, we all have different tastes and ideas of what living well means to us. If it isn’t to travel for months on end eating ramen more meals than not and you prefer to eat well most of the year round and travel a few days here and there, there’s no shame at all either way. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s smart to know what works for you and what makes you happiest and most comfortable. And most importantly it’s best to know to not judge a fellow traveler’s choices and preferences.

It’s up to individual tastes and needs. We’re all different.

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