Thought Catalog
March 24, 2016

Why Your Obsession With Travel Means You’re Living A Mediocre Life

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What is the issue?

There is a personality type that has been absolutely driving me nuts recently. Every single time I overhear peers talking about their incessant itch to “travel and see the world” before starting a “real job” or “considering grad school” I want to punch a wall.

The truth is that my generation has been completely brainwashed by bullshit #millennial propaganda. Cute little listicles featuring chic pictures of young sexy people standing on the edge of waterfalls, that tell our generation that life is only worth living if we “travel.” Instagram travelers who ~perfectly~ filter every single picture they’ve taken while exploring Europe on daddy’s dime.

Do you want to know what I believe, honestly? The only people who want to travel incessantly are people who have, or want, completely mediocre lives.

You don’t make an impact by being a “traveler.” You don’t actually do anything at all. You just see. You just enjoy. You just leech off of people who are actually living lives worth living and doing jobs worth doing.

Nothing great in this world is accomplished through travel for the sake of #travel. Did Albert Einstein wake up one day and think, “Wow I just need to do some sightseeing, and then maybe sometime later in my life I’ll do something that’s actually significant!”

Did John D. Rockefeller — one of our country’s greatest businessmen — spend time taking cute pictures of buildings in faraway places? No, he worked. He created. He built something. He actually did something meaningful. The minute he became an adult, he was working his way up!

Being obsessed with travel is just a quiet concession that you don’t have anything worth doing or creating. You don’t create while on the move, you create when you stay in one place and focus on accomplishing your goals. Being obsessed with travel means you don’t actually have any goals, you just want to YOLO your way through an insignificant life.

“You’re only young once,” and “Enjoy your youth” are phrases that people have appropriated to justify months, and years of idle labor and laziness. I agree, you are only young once, and we should ALL be spending our youth provisioning for our future selves.

Being obsessed with travel means you are afraid to try anything — so you run. You run away from a stable income, from a prosperous future, from the difference you could actually make in the world. You run to faraway countries where you can take menial jobs — that you would be embarrassed to take back home — to net just enough money to sustain your “growth” that doesn’t actually grow any part of you.

Granted, that’s not to say a periodic vacation from time-to-time is a bad thing! Taking a week or two a year to rejuvenate is scientifically proven to make you more productive and healthy. But this incessant need to “travel the world” for months and years post-college is not healthy, and everyone promoting it is sucking our generation into a giant pyramid scheme where nobody comes out ahead (except the chic travel bloggers I suppose…) Don’t forfeit your youth to the present, invest it in your future!

You are worth so much more than #travel. You are worth an imprint on this world, something that people will remember you for — and that absolutely won’t be travel.

Let’s get to work. TC mark

For more travel writing, check out A Thousand New Beginnings by Kristin Addis here.

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