This blog post is in response to an article posted on Matador Network, It is an Op Ed written by Thomas Kuegler titled Traveling Needs to be Difficult. Here’s Why.
Before you continue reading this post, I recommend that you first read his article here so that you understand what I’m arguing against.
First things, first: Traveling doesn’t NEED to be… anything. The second someone tells you what traveling is SUPPOSED to be or NEEDS to be, tune them out. Seriously just ignore them.
Because traveling isn’t any ONE thing and traveling means different things to different people. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just plain wrong.
Is travel difficult? Yes. Can it also be easy? Yes. It is sometimes one and sometimes the other? Guess what, yes. And can it also be a simultaneously strange mixture of both? Absolutely!
Completely ignoring the condescending, superior, know-it-all assumption of the title, the author’s tone throughout this article and his constant criticism of people who don’t see things his way completely undo the actual (or what I think is the actual) message of his piece: which, I think, is that you appreciate things more – even with regard to travel – when you have to work for them.
And while I generally quite agree with this assessment for ANYTHING in life, I have such a serious problem with the way he goes about saying this in regard to travel.
Because for some reason, right now, there is SOOOOOO much judgement about travel. People who travel are judged for “vacationing” and not actually “traveling” (whatever that means). People who travel are judged for “not having traveled enough” or “to enough countries” or if they have traveled extensively, they’re judged for “not having spent enough time” in a place to “really get to know it”. And people who go out of their way to try to capture the beauty of the moments that occur while they’re traveling and then have the audacity to express creativity with regard to how they edit those photos are judged for “misrepresenting” a place or a destination or they’re judged for “not being in the moment enough”. Pretty much people who travel are judged for just about everything you can think of by OTHER PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL.
And all I’ve got to say is that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Seriously, all this judgement HAS got to stop.
There are people in this world who travel quite comfortably, staying at 5-star resorts and getting drivers to take them around and only going to nice restaurtants.
AND THAT’S TOTALLY OK. THAT IS STILL TRAVEL!!
There are people in this world who, either by choice or because they otherwise can’t afford it, travel very cheaply. This tends to make travel more difficult. They figure out train and bus schedules. They only bring as much as can fit in a carry-on. They haggle and stay in places that are less touristy – and thus, face all the difficulties that come with that.
AND THAT’S TOTALLY OK! THAT IS STILL TRAVEL!
There are people travel without anything but their phone so that they can stay in contact with loved ones. They prefer to spend time in the moment rather than capturing it and they’ve spent countless nights watching the sunset without taking a single picture of any of them.
Then there are people who LOVE capturing the moment. They feel happier trying to find the right angle and get the perfect shot than if they were just sitting there. They think this adds to their experience and they love being able to look back on those moments and remember them forever through picture/video.
GUESS WHAT?! NEITEHR PERSON IS RIGHT OR WRONG. THEY’RE BOTH JUST DOING WHAT THEY LOVE AND WHAT MAKES THEM HAPPIEST!
And then there are all those people who are the somewhere in-between. They’re a mixture of these different extremes of the travelsphere. They do a little bit of some and a little bit of the other.
AND THAT’S TOTALLY FINE. THEY ARE STILL TRAVELING!
There is seriously nothing wrong with the way anyone chooses to travel and what they choose to do with their time while they travel!
If we spent less time judging each other and trying to make “our way” seem more superior, we might be able to step back for a second and realize that regardless of how we do it, we are SOO INCREDIBLY PRIVILEGED to just be among the percentage of the world’s population that have traveled.
There are so many people who never get to see another country, either because they can’t afford it or because they’re too close-minded or afraid to even desire it.
Those of us who have traveled or are traveling are so lucky – and yes I say lucky because no matter how hard you worked to afford to be able to travel, there was a certain amount of privilege in your life that put you in a position to be able to do so (unless you’re like the 1% who literally grew up in the slummiest of slums with your parents earning $5 a month and you somehow found the fortitude and the strength to overcome and travel the world, in which case: GO YOU, YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING!). The rest of us should just step back and thank our relatively middle-class backgrounds and incredible educational opportunities for allowing us to work toward being able to travel as much as we have.
So let’s stop all this nonsense and just appreciate for one quick second that we’re all different human beings, united by the fact that we all travel and therefore rightfully consider ourselves travelers, and that we’re all going to enjoy different things and places and activities – regardless of whether we stay at home or continue to venture into new places.
Anyways, this is my final thought on the subject of Travel Needs to be Difficult Here’s Why:
You do you boo.