I love travelling. I love talking about travel, and I love writing about travel.
I think I love talking and writing about travel because it’s is something I have gained so much from and I want others to take a chance on travel too, or at least try and learn the lesson that travel teaches us, to choose the adventure. I’ve met so many people who I know want to travel and could gain so much from it but something is stopping them, and I always want to convince them to break through that barrier because I know it will be worth it.
A lot of the time travel writing is associated with the idea that we should “just go”. This ideal has developed about dropping everything, selling everything, risking everything, for a life of travel. That if you’re not travelling you’re not really living. Maybe that’s the right choice for some, but it’s not for everyone, and more importantly it’s not possible for everyone.
Travel blogging is a crowded space, and I like to try and write about living and moving abroad, since I think it’s an easier way for many people to achieve their travel dreams. I believe in this so much I’ve written things like the steps to travelling forever.
Sometimes though, I feel false for doing it.
Travel isn’t always that easy, moving abroad isn’t always that easy.
The world we live is in full of people who are seeking to go to other places, not for the joy and experience of travel and living abroad, but for fear of their lives and those of their family. I started this blog in 2015 when the plight of migrants in Europe was dominating the news, and I questioned whether I was doing the right thing in promoting the ease of moving abroad when so many people don’t try to do move country because they want a bit of adventure and a new experience, but because they feel forced to. I felt guilty, and I still do.
So this time I’m writing about something I think about every time I write a post.
Travel is a privilege, and I’m privileged for the life travel gives me.
This thought underlies every single post I write. And what I really mean when I write about how easy it should be for you to travel and move, is that if you’re in this same position of privilege where travel is possible for you and it’s what you want, do it. Don’t let obstacles that aren’t really obstacles get in the way. My issue is that either not everyone thinks this way, or it doesn’t come across.
It seems that even the word “travel” itself is pretentious now. Hardly anyone speaks of going on a holiday or a vacation, instead they speak of travelling. Some people compare so called “travellers” and “tourists”, and some people who consider themselves travellers turn their nose up at those who would only go on holiday once a year, or who never go at all. Sometimes I feel like travel is just the next consumer product.
In reality even a holiday is a dream for some people. It shouldn’t be forgotten that travel is a luxury and not a necessity. Does it really matter what you call yourself while you’re seeing somewhere else in the world? Isn’t the point that you’re doing it and the fact you’re lucky to do so enough?
Having said that, I do have a special annoyance for when people tell me I’m “lucky” to travel because it’s something I’ve worked really hard to make happen. I know my social background of being born in New Zealand and having a good upbringing and education plus extremely supportive parents are in a way “lucky”, my own little bit of the silver spoon lottery, but let’s not pretend I didn’t make some choices and sacrifices of my own.
I’ve been placed in a privileged position of being able to go after my travel dreams. When I’ve wanted to travel I’ve found a way to make it happen through effort and hard work, but I had a leg up to begin with. It’s not something I forget when I’m writing about travel.
But are travel bloggers forgetting travel is a privilege?
This doesn’t mean I don’t think travel bloggers or anyone should write encouraging things about travel because it might not be possible for everyone. It also doesn’t mean it’s unfair to speak of travelling and how you shouldn’t be afraid to travel just because it’s not possible for everyone in the world. There are people that need to hear it to give them a push to do what they already want to.
My favourite travel bloggers write about all all sides of travel, the things that go right and wrong, and how it affects their lives overall. They speak of travelling on a budget and making travel achievable for as many people as possible, and of luxury travel when they can. Most of all, you can tell by their posts that they know this life of travel is something not everyone can do and they’re grateful for it.
Even when I write about how the more you travel the harder it gets I do it knowing that to begin is a privilege. I’ve wanted to write about how choosing to travel led me to the darkest point of my life this time last year, but I haven’t been able to yet because every time I sit down to write it I think about how I shouldn’t complain when so many people never have the opportunity to travel and move to another country for pleasure. I hope soon I’ll be able to do it, and it’ll be from a place of knowing that for all the difficult moments caused by travelling, I’d never ever change it because I’m privileged to have travel be a part of my life. I guess I’m partly asking for understanding that when I “preach” about the benefits of travel, I’m a normal person who knows that it’s not possible for everyone.
The point is, if you have the desire to travel and you have the ability to do so, you should take note of that privilege. Recognise that even having the choice to travel or not is a something some people can only dream of. And finally, if travelling is something you want to do then you should act on that privilege and do it.
Do you think travel bloggers are forgetting travel isn’t for everyone? Are you sick of reading posts telling you how easy it is and just to do it?
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