Like any other life decision, travelling is a lifestyle choice. And like any lifestyle choice, travel is polarizing. Some people love it. Some people hate it. And some people love to hate it. But since being back in New York, I’ve come to realize that many people enjoy judging people for travelling as a lifestyle choice. The occasional vacation makes sense to most people, especially if you are bragging about travel,but not many people want to hear about your experiences abroad. In fact, it’s off-putting in most conversations.
Acquaintances, and even friends in many cases, seem to be under the assumption that travel as a lifestyle choice is luxurious and expensive. But it doesn’t take thousands of dollars to enjoy your experiences abroad. And it’s not as though your day-to-day experience is that different. Life is still life, no matter where you’re living. A typical Thursday abroad was filled with procrastination, work, and figuring out what to eat for dinner (the most important thing at all).
I’ve tried explaining this to people. But there often seems to be a latent assumption that choosing to live abroad for any period of time means that you have disdain for others, that you think you’re better than them. I recently was in conversation with a good friend, and he validated my feelings on this. He told me that because Alex and I have been living abroad, a lot of people in our friend group assumed we thought we were better than them.
In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. But he does have a good point in that judging people for travel is the easiest thing in the world. If travel is not accessible to you, it’s reasonable to think that those who travel don’t want to have anything to do with you. They probably think your lifestyle is boring, and are constantly having experiences that invalidate your own sense of self. In other words, your reality is so different that you can’t even relate on the basics.
But for me, the reason to travel and live abroad is because nothing else makes sense right now. Both Alex and I are well-equipped to travel right now.We make enough money to do what we want and our work doesn’t tie us down to any specific location. So for us, travel as a lifestyle is a no-brainer. That won’t always be the case, of course, but it is right now. No matter what people think, we’ve resolved to enjoy our travels, wherever they take us.
But like any lifestyle choice, it’s just that; a choice. It’s no different than being a PC gamer or a gym rat. Your existence and identity is built around it, at least to some extent. But that doesn’t mean it defines me. Travel is just one of the many things I enjoy. That’s one reason the topics on this blog are so varied. I enjoy a lot of things, and I’d like to think that most people do as well. So the next time you think about judging someone for travel, it might make sense to think outside your own perspective. We all have different experiences. But life is just life, and we’re all just living it.