Why Your Obsession With Travel Is Actually A Denial Of Your Privilege


We all get it. Your travel life is insane and you’ve left all of your friends and loved ones behind to travel the world and live out of a backpack for six months, a year. You’ve got the best gear and a Moleskine notebook in your back pocket to write everything down, later to be typed up on your blog to share with readers you’ve garnered from Instagram and Pinterest. You sip cocktails in first class and and get free flights and accommodation. Your life is made.

You’ve traded, as you say ‘everything’ in your life to travel and again, we all get it. iteo wouldn’t. Travel is a luxury afforded to those who aren’t forced to work 9 to 5, for those who don’t live paycheck to paycheck with mouths to feed and bills to be paid. Travel is a luxury for the rich, and the educated. Without the dollars to fund your first round-the-world trip would you have been able to live such a ‘determined’ lifestyle?

You aren’t lucky, you’re rich – and there is no denying the role money plays in the life of anyone who ‘loves travel’.

If you’re lucky for anything as a traveler, it’s that you were born into a world that has said ‘yes’ to you since birth. If you were able to study abroad in college you are lucky because you could afford it. If you could even go to college you are lucky. Determination and grit has absolutely nothing to do with having money to spend on travel.

The truly concerning thing, though, is that you make traveling the world out to be as some huge sacrifice to all of the relationships in your life. Why does this have to be the case? Isn’t it selfish to not only leave relationships behind physically, but to write them off emotionally as well? Relationships are the most important things we can have as humans in this lifetime. Trading meaningful friendships for an outstanding view will never be worth it.

If this is the so-called cost of travel, then I don’t want to be part of it.

I write all of this from a place of privilege myself and it is something I grapple with as a traveler and writer every day. I never want to defend my love of travel as something I worked tirelessly for or claim that it was sheer will that got me where I am today – there were very specific moments in my life that equated to how I live now. I can’t claim that this was all me and it would be presumptuous to do so. Denying that I’ve had help would be to deny my story. You can’t rewrite the truth.

And I know what I’m saying may sound like an attack to my fellow travelers, you may be saying, “But I’ve wanted to travel all my life. I’ve worked so hard for this, I really have.” Take a step back and examine yourself. Look at travel as an opportunity – a blessing. Use travel as a tool not to satisfy that little part in our brain that always wants something new, but to learn about our world and the people who walk on it. Think deeply about those around you and make genuine connections. Look to others as examples of real grit, real determination. Remain humble and keep moving. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Mary is a traveler, teacher, and writer just breaking into the travel blogging scene.

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