Well, I don’t know if my busting will be as dramatic as the title implies, but I wanted to get some thoughts out there to counteract some of the ideas I hear about travelling that I just don’t agree with.*
You will also get some random travel photos, because why not?
1. Travel is an all-or-nothing pastime
You don’t have to chuck in your whole life and be a full time hard-core backpacker working from your laptop or taking seasonal jobs. I’ve travelled a lot but I had other goals I wanted to achieve – career, education etc – and travel had to fit in around those goals. There were definitely times in my life where I packed up everything and relocated to the other side of the world. But there were other times in my life where my career or education took the front seat, and I travelled solely during term break or saved up my annual leave. For me, life is all about balance and having patience – you have to balance the things you want to do with the things you need to do. You need to have patience to save up and look forward to doing the fun things in life. The wait can make it feel so much more special and valuable.
2. You have to travel while you are young
This is closely tied to #1. People think that once they are locked into a career or ‘tied down’ by a mortgage and/or a family their travelling days are over or they’ve missed the boat or something. Sure, those responsibilities might limit your options, but if travelling and seeing new places is your dream, don’t give up. You need to think outside the box! You could pick somewhere closer to home, take a shorter trip, save up for longer, choose child-friendly destinations. The sky is your limit, you just have to be willing to compromise and take the plunge to try something new.
3. You have to save up lots of money
This one isn’t really a myth as more funds obviously equals more time travelling and more options about where you can go and what you can do. But if you’re having trouble saving up, there are lots of ways you can travel on a budget – go camping, try airbnb or a holiday exchange. Like for #2 – think outside the box.
4. You have to travel in a certain way to ‘really’ experience the world
Travel is one of the few things in life that is entirely up to you and what you want to do. Go to places you are interested in, do the things that interest you. It’s a wide wide world, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. If you don’t like heights, don’t put bungee jumping in Queenstown on your bucketlist! If you hate cooking, don’t sign up for a cooking class in Thailand. If you don’t like living rough, don’t go camping or hiking, instead save up a bit more or travel for shorter periods of time.
Whatever eh? Who are you trying to impress?
5. Travelling solo is harder than travelling with a group
Honestly I don’t think one is harder than the other, but they are completely different. There are pros and cons to both, and one is certainly no more ‘admirable’ than the other.
If you travel with friends or family there may be conflict or disagreement, it will involve more compromise and you may not get to see all the places you want to see. On the other hand, you will have fun planning together before you go away and during your trip you will build incomparable memories together and have a lifetime to reminisce and keep those memories alive, which increases the fun. You will also have a bit of added security and support, and someone to watch your bags while you go to the bathroom or to take turns waiting in line.
On the other hand if you travel solo you can do just exactly what you want, when you want, and for how long you feel like doing it. You don’t have to cater to anyone else’s whims and desires. You’ll also develop a great sense of direction and confidence in yourself and your ability to handle yourself under pressure. You are also more likely to meet other travellers or strike up interesting conversations with locals along the way, and – bonus! – airlines are more likely to bump you up a class if you are flying solo! Win! (no, this has never happened to me).
On that note, let’s finish up with a celebration of solo travellers by listening to Alone by Godwolf.
*Disclaimer: when I say I don’t agree with these ‘myths’, I mean because I usually hear them from people who share the same relatively privileged white middle class background as me. I acknowledge there are millions of people out there for whom these excuses are very very valid barriers to being able to travel, and I always try to keep in mind that I am so incredibly lucky to be able to travel as much as I do. This post aims only to encourage those who feel hesitant about taking the plunge to go travelling and in no way do I want to belittle anyone.