Matador Network (whom I frequently read and enjoy) recently posted an article entitled LET’S STOP PRETENDING THAT TRAVEL IS ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE.
Sounds intriguing right? I am well aware of the numerous posts out there saying that anyone can travel! And I’ve much enjoyed learning their tips on how to make it happen.
However, this author apparently feels that this is unfair to many people whom he believes just aren’t privileges enough to travel like him.
I could not disagree more. Sure there are a few situations that may temporarily or very rarely permanently inhibit travel. However, for people in the west (whom his audience is directed), really have very few excuses not to travel.
Having children is one of the most frequent ones I hear. And yet I know penniless young single mom’s who travel the country, child in tow. It takes resourcefulness and hard work, but in no way is a privilege.
The author states that if you didn’t come from money than you probably never thought of traveling. I completely disagree. I came from extreme poverty (by American standards, though I never lacked what I needed). And yet from a very young age I dreamed of travel. And the desire awoke even more fully when I was working and paying my way through college.
Some of the most traveled people out here in the west coast are homeless hobos, hopping from city to city. While I don’t condone their lifestyle, it just shows that money isn’t the privilege that make travel a possibility.
And on top of that, travel is super cheap! If you are willing to put in the work and discipline, you can literally do a trip for about the cost of buying the latest smart phone.
The biggest problem that people have is not living within their means. And this problem affects people of all level of income, privileged and oppressed. Its part of the curse of the so-called American Dream (which in my opinion is more of a night mare).
I am a travel nurse at the age of 30 and finally make a good living by most people standards. I know how much it costs to live where I do and how much most nurses make. There is absolutely no reason why any nurse in my area should not be able to travel fairly often. And yet all the time I get the question “how on earth do you travel so much? how do you afford it? I’m so jealous”.
I will go into more details on how I afford to travel so much in future posts. So stay tuned.
But suffice to say, I went overseas raising my own money, on a humanitarian trip for 10 days at the age of 16. At the age of 23 I did 3 weeks in Costa Rica using my own money while waiting tables (only 25 hours a week) and paying for college. Granted I took out some extra loans which I later paid off, but they were interest free student loans so I figured it was worth it.
I have never had the privilege of money. Certainly I am aware of numerous other privileges and understand how not having these can make it harder to travel. But don’t let that be a crutch.
If you are truly serious about traveling the world begin thinking about ways you can eliminate expenses and increase your income. Don’t get into a serious relationship. Don’t have a kid. Don’t buy a house. Don’t get that new car. Learn how to leverage credit cards to your advantage. Don’t go out to eat. Don’t buy drinks at bars (especially fancy cocktails…what a rip off!). Don’t buy name brand clothing. The list goes on.
When someone writes an article about how not everyone can afford to travel or has the privilege of being able to, I just think about how many people I’ve met who I know make way less than I do and yet drive a brand new $30k car or have expensive designer clothing. There is nothing wrong with that. But don’t tell me how you can’t afford to travel.
And yes there are still some people in our country who are destitute, hungry, trapped in their circumstances. These are people who need a hand up from society to get back on their feet…but this is a travel blog, not a political blog.
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