Travel is a gateway to incredible experiences, memories and personal growth. Unfortunately, you’ll only unlock travel’s full potential once you look yourself in the mirror, decide “Yes, I want to see what the world has to offer,” and will it into existence. For some, it’s a simple, obvious and ultimately rewarding decision. For others, stepping away from the infinite loop that many of us call life to travel, is absolutely absurd. It just doesn’t compute for some people. And in turn, they’ll project their addiction to routine, discomfort with the unknown, cynicism and criticism onto you.
To be fair, you should expect some pushback any time you make a decision that goes against the status quo. Ironically, the hardest part about deciding to travel isn’t that you’ll meet resistance while traveling. It’s that your biggest opposition will more often than not be the closest ones to you, your family and friends. But simple problems have simple solutions, and there’s at least one practical way to deal with the negative backlash.
Here’s Why Travel Turns Love To Hate And How To Deal With It.
Us Versus Them
They’ll call you impulsive, irresponsible, irrational, inconsiderate and just about anything else they can think of to deter you from stepping out into the (entire) world. Take their words as a grain of salt, better yet, a speckle of dust. Generations upon generations of likeminded, incredible, intuitive travelers have treaded similar paths before you and have proven that it’s not only doable, but it’s far less dangerous than many hyper-conservative (or boring) people think.
Travel doesn’t have to be risky to be enjoyable (although an adrenaline boost from time to time makes for an amazing story). You can plan every step of your journey in detail, in part, or not at all. The important thing is to do exactly what you feel needs to be done. No one else can be more in tune with your wants and needs than you. So never mind the haters.
Mind Versus Heart
In many ways, you’re a product of your environment. If you surround yourself with knowledgeable, compassionate and generally well-intentioned people, chances are, you too will embody those traits to some extent. But all the wisdom, intelligence and experience in the world goes out the window when a person simply can’t relate to you. People you hold to the highest standard may suddenly begin to unravel right before your eyes. You will however encounter many people of substance throughout your adventures.
At some point, you’ll have to deal with the people who have literally influenced your life telling you something along the lines of “No, this just doesn’t make sense. What are you trying to prove?” You’ll have to stand your ground and follow your heart. Because their good intentions may not apply to your future but rather preserving you in theirs. There may be no parallels between the journey you’re about to embark on and what they’ve experienced in life.
And in that sense, it’s like a fish teaching a bird to fly. It just doesn’t make sense. Actually, it’s entirely ridiculous. Be a bird. Spread your wings. And soar as high and as far as you possibly can.
The Beautiful Truth
The truth is, you’ll be judged, criticized, gossiped about or downright hated no matter what you do. So why not do what you love? What’s more meaningful? Contributing to yourself and the world, even if it’s in a tiny way, or pleasing those who “claim” to have your best interest at heart? Allow me to reiterate: if you’re of sound body, mind and spirit, no one knows what’s inherently best for you better than you.
As well-intentioned as your loved ones may be. Sometimes, they just won’t get it. And in their lack of understanding, they may unintentionally (or intentionally) prevent you from experiencing something truly remarkable that only travel can open your eyes to. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Your personal growth and happiness are on the line, not theirs. So whether it’s a mother, father, sibling, best friend, romantic partner, mentor or other, you have to be willing to break free. If they love you as much as they say they do, eventually, they’ll understand and appreciate your decision.
A Personal Anecdote
If there’s one thing traveling has taught me, it’s to focus my mind and feelings on what I can do instead of what I can’t do. I’m not saying I completely ignore my weaknesses, potential dangers or drawbacks. However, whether I was planning to hit the road, or if I had already hit the road running the bulk of my energy was dedicated to executing the plans I had laid down, not avoiding and getting around them. Travel has taught me to narrow my focus on the journey ahead. All that negative energy, I throw it in the trash.
I’ve been called arrogant by perfect strangers who’d known me for no more than the length of one conversation. Not surprisingly, it was a conversation about my recent travel experiences. Maybe it was envy, maybe it was miscommunication, or even a mix of both. But as a result, one thing became very evident to me, people tend to dislike or belittle what they don’t understand or don’t know.
Some of my loved ones expressed shock, dislike or at least an unwillingness to accept that I was preparing to embark on a worldwide journey. But I did it anyway. Not only because I’m stubborn and hate being told what I can’t or shouldn’t do. Not only because when I asked for their opinions I had already made up my mind and I was only speaking my intentions into existence. But also because, as well-versed, respected and thoughtful as they are, those fantastic character traits didn’t crossover into what my love and passion are for.
I refuse to ever be tamed or have my wings clipped to make other people feel safe and secure about themselves. We are human beings, social creatures meant to roam. Without getting too hung up on archaeology, we have an impressive history of human migration all over the world. We’re hardwired to travel.
Has it ever occurred to you that this “advice” your “supporters” are giving you stems less out of their want for you to do well than it does out of their fear of facing their own insecurities? Could it be that they’re resentful of your bravery? Could it be that your drive to get out into the world and explore brings them face to face with their own lack of worldly experience and their own shortcomings? Could it be that your ambition and drive intimidates them? Only you, and your respective loved ones or would-be supporters can find the answers to those questions.
How To Deal With The Hate
Resist the urge to fight back. You don’t need to explain your feelings and passions. You do however need to be resolute in your decision. You can only follow through with your ambitions if they’re ironclad. Listen to those who say you can’t or shouldn’t with sincerity. Once they’ve pleaded their case, offer a genuine apology. But don’t be confused, you’re not apologizing for your decision to see the world, but because this chapter of your life will be written without them.