“What’s the weather like in London?” I ask my friend as warm sea waves wash over my feet. “Bloody freezing.” The crickets’ evening symphony trickles into the receiver and I hear my friend sigh on the other end. “I’m so jealous sometimes. How do you manage to travel all the time?”
Whenever people ask me such questions, I’m a little confused. The obvious answer is “pack a bag and go”, but that would likely be met with little more than an eye roll. People don’t like simple truths, because they make them feel silly. If it really were that simple, everyone would be doing it! So why aren’t they? In my opinion, it’s because we’re all being lied to.
Let me expand on my little conspiracy theory. As children, we are encouraged to dream and our imagination is fed with a balanced diet of fairytales and outlandish stories. But as we grow older, in trickle the talks of sensibility and practicality. “A travelling superhero” is no longer an acceptable answer to the question of who you want to be when you grow up. Believe me, my college counselor told me that several times!
Just as we are ready to live out our imaginations, our dreams are put into check with new fairytales – ones of cubicles, taxes and pension funds. Most of us believe them – I know for some time I did. Eventually my Peter Pan syndrome prevailed, reminding me that there’s more to life than anxiously thinking ahead. After all, who knows what’s going to happen in the next five minutes, let alone next five years? I mean, I think that in the next five minutes I’ll be sitting in a hammock on my terrace and eating a cheese toastie but can I be sure? But for all I know a resurrected pterodactyl could fly over, eat my toastie and talk to me about the new episode of The Bachelorette. You never know!
Anyway – that’s a story for another day. For now, let’s discuss the lies people like to tell each other about travel to make themselves feel better about not living their dreams… And how you can respond to them!
1. It’s expensive!
I’ll tell you a little shocking secret, are you ready? I’m not a millionaire! Nor am I an heiress or have a well-paying job. What I do have is a love of adventure and a willingness to make sacrifices in order to travel. Sure, I’d love to fly first class and stay in presidential suites – but for now it’s buses and bunk beds for me. You can even save money by travelling! Don’t believe me? Here’s a concrete example: the minimum recommended monthly budget for a student in London is £1,020 in addition to tuition fees, while in Bangkok students report spending between 10,000 and 20,000 baht – that’s £182-356. Do you see what I mean?
2. It’s dangerous!
Some people find the idea of visiting countries outside the Western world terrifying and it’s no wonder. Mainstream media love a little fear-mongering and sensationalism, because nothing drives up their rankings faster. Having worked for numerous news outlets, I can assure you of one thing: if it bleeds it leads. News about death, violence and crime are everywhere because they attract viewers… The reality on the ground is usually very different. Besides, if you’re scared of visiting a certain destinations, there are only a million others you could visit instead!
3. It’s lonely!
I get it – visiting a country whose language you don’t speak can be daunting! When I was thirteen years old I had to pack up all my belongings and move to a country I’d never been to before, so I totally understand where everyone’s coming from. But here’s one thing you shouldn’t underestimate – human kindness. If you just look up and smile at them, most people will go out of their way to help you. Language barriers are just that – barriers, not impassable walls! So don’t worry about visiting new places by yourself, because you will meet incredible people on the way.
4. It’s time-consuming!
If your response to going on vacation is “ain’t nobody got time for that“, I’ve got one thing to say… We all have 24 hours in a day. I do, you do and so does Jennifer Lawrence. What you do with that time depends on your priorities. If travel is not a top priority for you, that’s perfectly fine – but don’t pretend that time is a good excuse. After all, travel doesn’t have to involve going far – you can just explore a new neighbourhood in your city or a town nearby on the weekend!
5. It’s boring!
I want to fume whenever someone comes at me with this reasoning, I’m not sure how to react. On the one hand I want to roll my eyes, but on the other hand I think: “Who am I to judge? Maybe travel isn’t for everyone.” But I don’t think that’s true – I firmly believe there’s a type of travel for everyone. You might not enjoy the hedonistic parties in Las Vegas or like the barefoot backpackers in Thailand, but how about a weekend trip to Paris or a roadtrip in Northern Ireland? There’s a travelling style and destination for everyone – and the only way you will find yours is by travelling!
What do you think? Are you convinced? If you’d like more inspiration, check out “12 Ways Travel Makes Your Life Better” and “Get Up and Leave: Why You Should Travel Today“! Are there any other excuses for not travelling you can think of?