Not everyone can travel, but…
This week I read a post shared on my news feed by one of my favorite travel bloggers, Oneika the Traveler that became food for thought. Oneika establishes that Travel Bloggers have to stop telling people that everyone can travel and that it is a travel-snobbish thing to say. I totally loved this post because it made me think in so many things. I agree and disagree at the same time with some of Oneika’s points and I decided to write this to explain them better.
I agree that not EVERYONE can travel. I am also sure that there are people lucky enough to have a powerful passport that allow them to go around the world freely and we can’t deny that. Here comes the things on which I don’t totally agree:
– Not everyone can travel thanks to mom and dad: If you ask me, most of what I have gotten from my parents while traveling has been complementary. I have worked hard and saved to travel because it is one of my priorities. Most of the money I save is definitely for air tickets and any other expenses I would have in my destinations. I can say I am thankful of what my parents have done for me in order to travel, but NO, they barely did not helped my with university and/or traveling, I tried to make the most by my own. Most of the things I was able to achieve on those matters were gotten with my own effort. I am pretty sure that I am not the only travel blogger that has been through the same experience.
– People with disabilities can actually travel: I am sure that in this case the mindset, the will, the health and the financial situation work their own unique roles. I have a friend who 10 years ago became handicapped because of a car accident, and I must say is one of the strongest persons I have ever met in my life. This same girl a few years ago was dating a guy who is blind and both of them decided to go to Europe. Who are we to say that they are not able to do that? That’s what they wanted in that moment and they have the will to achieve. Unfortunately, there are many cases on which things don’t work as good as they worked for them, but at the same time, we cannot say that everyone who has a reduced mobility should not be seeing the world. I feel like we can’t make a generalization in this type of situations.
– Mindset? I try not to be a travel snob, but I will always admit that traveling is a huge passion for me and when I talk about it, I put my heart on everything I say. I have noticed that sometimes, when people are too passionate about something, they might sound to others as snobs. I am sorry if I have ever sound snobbish in one of my posts because it has never been my intention. It was just passion speaking by itself.
Going back to the mindset, I must say once again that this is all about passion and priorities. We all know someone who asks us how do we get money for traveling but spend $600 on a new phone or $300 on just going out during a weekend. I will not condemn this people in any way, they have their own priorities and I am not to judge others, but that is exactly the reason why I have money for traveling. I try not to go out often if I don’t need to, so I can save the most. Going out at least will cost you $20 (gas, food, tolls, you name it!) My passion is traveling and I value every single penny I spend on it. For other people, their passions are their cars, going out on Friday night or buying a new purse. I think that is what the mindset is all about.
Now I will talk about privilege: I know I am lucky enough to actually make money from home because the skills I studied allow me to be able to find freelance jobs that don’t require me to get out of my house to get them done. I am lucky enough to have a part time in a place I can walk to. I am privileged that these things actually allow me to travel as much as I like to, even though that in this moment of my life I am limiting it because of other life decisions.
With this post, I am not trying to make a huge debate. In fact, I am totally thankful that this text brought me to these conclusions. I agree with the fact that travel bloggers are always looking forward to inspire others. One thing that we as travel bloggers should start to do is to stop thinking that our readers are all alike. We must agree that if there is something wonderful about the travel writing world is that all of us who write have all different experiences and, that is exactly the same thing that happens with our readers.
I think that this is more than just pretending that everyone can travel, is about understanding that people are not necessary alike. Not all the travel bloggers goes through the same experiences and not all of them approach their traveling experiences the same way. I think we should stop pretending that all our readers will approach our posts as well, same way as we don’t experience a destination the same way. Let’s just celebrate out differences and stop telling people what they should do!
Good points! We do not always realize how decisions we made yesterday could restrict our choices tomorrow, for travel, career, money, and more. It is absolutely about priorities!
I have a different interpretation of the “mindset” point you proposed. To me, “travel” is about leaving your comfort zone and giving something different a chance. Isn’t that why we fly far away to Tokyo and Reykjavik? We want to experience new things. You might well experience new things 10 blocks from your house. I consider that “traveling.” And by that definition… EVERYONE can travel.
Actually, that is not my interpretation of mindset but the one proposed by the post I responded to. My interpretation was that mindset consisted on passion and priorities. In most of our cases, the sense of adventure is part of that, and that is the reason why I totally agree with your point!
This is a good post, and well considered. If I were to put my two pennies worth in, I would say that I wish travel bloggers would stop telling everyone what they can and can’t do, should or should not do, and just write about the travel they do in a way that inspires others to give it a go.
My cousin is both blind and deaf and he travels quite a bit! Admittedly, some trips are harder than others and he cant go on some without supervision but he loves it nonetheless! It’s all about personal preference and ability 🙂
You are correct. Also you need money to travel. There are some lucky people who don’t have to work to get money and all they do is travel 🙂 If i don’t work I don’t have work there’s no money, I cannot travel.
This is how I feel too. It’s all about priorities and how you spend your money rather than claiming travel is impossible. It’s the thing I want to do most in the world so I make sure I save for it!
‘Variety is the spice of life’ – it’s a good job we all think differently, the world would be very dull if we were all of the same mindset – don’t you think?
I agree with this post! No, not everyone can travel. I think many travel bloggers will agree with that, but most travel blogs are geared towards people who COULD travel if they prioritized saving money for travel instead of other things. We must acknowledge our privilege at the same time as not allowing ourselves to make excuses for why we “can’t” travel.
I believe everyone can travel. I have seen 60 years old travel for the first time . People with canes. It is all in IF you want to or not.
I appreciate all the different viewpoints and perspectives mentioned in this post and in the comments. People can be quick to say how travel is always expensive and unattainable. However, just like anything else in life I think travel is all about priorities and choices. As a travel blogger myself my goal is to empower others to go and out explore.
Wow! Whether you wanted a debate or not…this is a polarizing post. I agree with you on some points, especially that we travel bloggers should stop telling folks what to do. However, I know a lot of people who are in the exact same position as I am and who also envy my traveling. I am often telling them to just “do it”. Sometimes people do need to be told.
definitely! and is our mission to inspire and I guess that it is what we all really want to do!
Great post! I do believe that anyone can travel. It doesnt have to be far or expensive. There’s a lot of things you can do locally that can already be considered as an adventure.
I really enjoyed reading the post and love having discussions like these. Something that I would like to add is that different people define travel in a different way, I love traveling to new countries, but also see travel within ones own country as travel experience (and yes, in some countries you are along way away from the next country boarder, while in others it’s just around the corner i.e. USA vs Liechtenstein; China vs Singapore; or Australia vs Bahrain). My trip to Morocco last year displayed that topic in a whole new light for me: they envied me for having been to 36 different countries telling me that they wish to travel too. Upon further talk they told me that “travel” for them is to western countries, mainly the US and Europe, and did not consider traveling to neighbouring countries, let alone to others on their continent. For me travel starts small – as children most of our parents take us on day trips, be it to the beach, the mountains or somewhere else that isn’t too far from home, later it might be weekends at the grandparents or a week somewhere else. However, there were some Moroccans who hadn’t even traveled their own country and me as a foreigner staying there not even two weeks saw more of their country than they had…. really got me thinking.
This is a tricky question and the response depends on one’s priorities and views on life. We get from life what we seek and if you want something bad enough – like travel, you find ways to make it happen. I do believe that everyone can travel if they desperately want to!
Great post! Such an interesting topic too – always a hugely polarising one! Definitely an interesting thing to think about.
Shannon | Life Other Than
Great point about it being passion and priorities. I had to rearrange my priorities mid-life to match my passion in order to go back to what I loved best: travel.
I agree with you in many points Brenda. For a lot of middle class, even lower middle class people travel is a matter of priority. We all have our Needs in life and then we fill in the blanks with our Wants, which will be different depending on budget and interests. Some people buy purses that are more expensive than 3 weeks of budget travel in SouthEast Asia. I had friends tell me that they would only fly to Europe if they could go in Business Class and stay in 4 Star hotels. People are different and have different priorities and interests. But when it comes to envy, most people only see what they don’t have. When it comes to travel, it is often perceived as a bit flashy, as it is so obvious that you went on vacation (think FB pictures, Instagram, coming back all tan and relaxed, etc) and it “rubs it in” with the people who chose the purse over a cool trip.
This is such an important thing for every travel blogger to consider. Why do we encourage others to travel? What assumptions do we make about our readers in doing so? The most compelling point for me is the one on privilege. As a person born into it by my race, my gender, my nationality, I’m trying to be more and more aware of the things that plainly _aren’t_ that easy for people that don’t look like me. Still, I agree with Hung Tai above. EVERYONE can travel, because it’s more about choosing to be pushed outside of your comfort zone than it is about the specific destination.
Whole Travel = Destination, Experience, Emotional Response and the Social/Political Context.
I’ve actually just had a really similar debate with my parents, stemming from the current UK leaving the EU situation.
The privilege comes from the passport I have, the currency I have, the free education and healthcare I have and the safety and security I have – all of which I was born in to.
That said, I had to move four times before, do a job that wasn’t my dream to get an income i was happy with so I could achieve the things I wanted. Privilege is a foundation but for those of us with privilege, priorities is what makes it happen. I wish there was more ways to help those missing the first part to achieve their travelling goals.
Totally agree. I wish there would be more ways to help those who are not as privilege as many of us!
I think it’s wonderful when people with disabilities or illnesses travel. Or other people that face huge disadvantages in life for that matter! But, it is a bigger challenge for them than (mentally and physically) healthy people.
It’s good to realize how privileged we are. And of course, we all shouldn’t stop inspiring others, and I would never look down on people sharing tips on saving money etc. I’ve written posts like that too! But like you said, that is only for a portion of your readers. There always might be readers out there that have to pay off debts etc. etc.
Thanks for your post!!
Thank you so much for writing this. I think that it can be really easy to forget how privileged a lot of western travelers are. I know I personally never stop feeling lucky for all the advantages I’ve had, and I think it’s important for all travelers to keep in mind.