It’s time to get real for a moment here. Online travel community has grown a lot in the past couple of years, and it’s been amazing to watch it – and to be part of it. More than ever before, people are writing about their journeys, experiences and challenges, and location independence is one of the hottest topics right now.
And I love this travel blogging world. Everyone is incredibly kind, and I have yet to meet a person that isn’t willing to help a fellow traveler in distress.
However, there is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. As a non-full-time traveler (as in, travel isn’t what I do for a living; I plan my trips around my full-time job), I sometimes get anxious that my traveling is somehow not good enough.
Ridiculous, right? How can someone’s traveling be better or worse than anyone else’s? Well, my mind plays weird tricks on me and tells me I would be better off traveling 30-something countries in a year and not ‘only’ five.
And I get the feeling that many others are in the same boat and feel the same way, so I have a need to make it right. If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re that person, and this is for you.
Disclaimer: I fully support and admire those who DO travel full time. This post by no means intends to diminish their hard work and dedication – it’s purely an encouragement for those who may feel inadequate in their travels or want to be a full-time traveler but aren’t there yet.
The way you travel is perfect
Some people spend a few days in a country and then move onto another one. Others may spend months exploring one country’s beauties before moving on. A lot are traveling alone, while others have their significant others, parents, children or friends with them at all times.
Some people are all about luxury. Some love hostels. Some need hostels because it’s the budget-friendly option. Some live for hitch-hiking. Some enjoy trains, or flying, or boats, or whatever other means of getting from point A to point B you can think of.
There are also those that simply love their full-time corporate career as much as they love traveling, so they work around their much loved day job to fit in their journeys to satisfy their wanderlust.
Some may be good at transferring their experiences into words, while others may be better with photography and video. Some love doing all of it.
As you can probably imagine by now, I could go on with further examples. The point is: whatever way you prefer, are capable of, enjoy, or are currently only able to travel, it is perfect.
If you only see one new country a year, it’s amazing! That means dozens of new countries in your lifetime. If you can only afford weekend getaways and only have them every few months, you should love it, enjoy it and be excited about it.
Country count is awesome, but it’s not a measurement of you as a person
To continue from the previous point: not everything is about the number of countries or states you have so far visited. Yes, it’s cool, but let’s have a different take on it.
Let’s say you live in one country for your entire life up to this moment. You travel a bit, but not too often. You would like to travel more, but you can’t really make it happen because of school, family commitments, and your family’s financial situation.
After college, you move to another country, a country ten times bigger than the one you came from, and you are yet to get familiar enough with even the language and the culture.
It can take you YEARS before you travel around the country well enough to say that you’ve genuinely seen a lot of it. Guess what? It only counts as one country, no matter how much of it you’ve seen.
Guess what else? IT DOESN’T MATTER. Any effort, attempt, and distance you make for your trips count up to what you’ve done so far, and you should be loud and proud about it.
Travel is a luxury and a massive thing to be grateful for
I know, I know – many people travel with extremely limited money and resources and time. And I agree to some extent with the stories overflowing the internet that say “it’s easy to travel if you want it badly enough”.
However, only a certain percentage of us are actually lucky enough to leave are houses and hop on a plane and fly across the continent or planet nearly whenever we want to. Only a set amount of us have a luxury of freedom, health and environment that allows us to travel.
Still, there is a ridiculous amount of articles out there basically telling you to just leave all your problems behind and leave. And while that is often an attractive idea, some people – actually, a lot – just can’t do it.
Not as in, they don’t have the money or the time or a companion, which are the usual ‘excuses’ – they actually can’t.
And here’s why. A lot of people’s basic life conditions and safety are endangered on a daily basis due to the region they live in. A lot of people have to work multiple jobs just to be able to put food on the table. Many go through extremely difficult life situations, family tragedies, mental illnesses and other difficulties that most of us never – ever – have on our minds for even a brief second.
I’ve met people – very young ones, actually – that have moved across the world to earn better (or any) money and use all of it to get their family back home on their feet. They have practically rededicated their lives to afford basic survival for their families.
If I wrote a hundred more situations, I still wouldn’t cover most of what people struggle with – people whose faces we see on the daily basis and just assume they are okay.
So repeat after me: travel is a privilege, and to be able to freely and carelessly travel is a blessing.
So if you do travel, no matter how much less than you’d want to, and no matter how little or no money you’re making from it, you’re fortunate – please remember that.
I hope you get to take something useful away from this, and that you will look at your trips with more appreciation and at the travel community with even more kindness.
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts on this topic. I’d love to hear various opinions!
P.s. You can always tweet me!