There’s nary a secret way to travel.
If there is, I just haven’t hacked it. Which means that very often when I get questions like “How do you get to travel around the world..?” and lately, “With a little child in tow?” I feel a little bit lost, and somewhat befuddled. In my book, I haven’t even begun.
There may be momentary urges I get from time to time, as if pushing me to just leave, like Jenny in the movie Forrest Gump, who cried out, “Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. Far far away from here.” Okay, not exactly that, but “Dear God, send me a plane to fly fly out of here, preferably to South East Asia, where the tropical heat and spicy food readily offers a new lease of life.”
The thing is, I don’t have all the answers. While I’m not a full-time traveler,
though I’d really love to be I’m still learning and sharing what I’ve learnt step-by-step. I’ve made major gaffes on my travel path. I started big, and have come down to small, it’s been, and still is, a work-in-progress; but I have no regrets in travel, not one at all.
So while I’ve been trudging on, going a day at a time, I’ve come to the realization that there’s a group of people making complex that which is as simple as ABC.
The online squabbles over travel seem to occur on a daily basis. When bloggers decide to post well meaning articles to goad others into a life of travel..it opens up a pandora’s box of sorts.
Keyboard warriors armed to the teeth with pitchforks on the ready, rush to articles like sharks that have smelt a little blood, and proceed to tear the bloggers down; they respond with smirks, snide remarks and snarky comments suggesting that the bloggers are privileged, or trust fund babies or millennials who know nada about work ethic or the real world. People seem so anxious to place others into their tiny little boxes, as if to say, travel is only suited to ‘one kind of people,’ like you have to be royalty to travel without grumbles from anyone, or you have to be some rich business owner or media tycoon. Sad that they don’t know that it’s possible to earn money traveling and writing about travel.
Then there are other online squabbles within traveler circles; who went where, and how they went where they went, and which sort of travel is most appropriate for travelers, and travelers should tag themselves specifically as travelers or nomads or hobo’s, because there is that big chasm between travelers and tourists, and if you were a ‘real’ traveler, you would know it, and if you don’t, you should call yourself a tourist, and it is upsetting to urge other human beings to drop everything and travel, because it is unrealistic and not everyone can travel..and so it goes.
Let’s just say, and speaking from a traveler’s perspective..*see what I did there?*
Even the most prolific of travel writers who hopscotch the world today, splayed out in business class, had to start somewhere.
The aviation geeks who have mastery of the miles and points and can travel at whim, had to start somewhere.
The budget travelers, couch surfers and experienced nomads, who have the ability to stick out thumbs on the freeway and hitch a ride, pitch up a tent in the middle of no where and live into the wild, had to start somewhere.
They all had to start. They had to put one foot out the door and just go.
So while travel bloggers can show you how to, ultimately the going part rests on you.
I’m hoping we can now hold hands and sing kumbaya?
While my unadulterated definition of travel is moving from destination A to Destination B by any means; be it on foot, by car, bus, train, flight, ship and so forth…I’m guessing there’s a big fuss out of travel because;
1) People shudder at doling their hard-earned cash for something as ‘expensive’ as travel. I also feel that their definition of travel is whack. The definition of travel is hardly the generic ‘traipsing the globe on jets or comfortably splayed out on a seat in business class’..though that may typically be one method many choose to travel.
2) People are waiting for a magic wand to teleport them from place to place; I doubt that there’s a formula to travel. I can wax lyrical though, about the magic found in search engines like Google flights, Sky-scanner, Momodo etc that can give you ideas of cheap flights. I can also point you in the direction of hotel and hostel sites such as Booking or Agoda or Hostel World for hotel/hostel stays tailored to your budget and comfort level. If you are bold, adventurous, and on a shoestring budget, you can choose to be a guest in a stranger’s house with sites like airbnb or couchsurfing.
3) People feel travel is not their priority; Perception is everything, and I dare say that if anyone wants travel bad enough, they can make it happen. Somehow, travel doesn’t rank high on the list of priorities for many. I’ve met folks who would rather have a whole room full of books about any country in the world, than travel to the said countries. They are just not interested in physically being in those countries, or experiencing the different cultures, they just want to curl up on their sofas and read. I respect that. I’ve also met folks who avoid intercontinental travel as much as possible, for the mere fact sitting upright in economy for hours makes them ill for a couple of days.
4) The passport visa-vis visa restrictions argument most in the developing world are saddled with seems pretty old. Yes,the passport you hold may afford you visa-free access to over 170 countries, but what help is that if you haven’t even visited the next town or state? Similarly, your passport may be very weak, permitting you access to about 25 – 50 countries visa-free, but have you seen those countries first? Have you traveled around your region before complaining about the strength or lack thereof of your passport? The harsh immigration officers will be more likely to flash smiles at you and readily stamp your passport with visas to visit the ‘developed’ world, if your passport has a couple of stamps, than no stamp at all.
6) Operating on ‘catch me if you can’ mode mostly brings out the ugly in spectators; Don’t hate anyone for choosing to trot the globe, they are just as passionate as you are, but direct their passion at travel while you direct your passion to other things; kittens, babies, playing golf or football, writing, or watching telly. Some of us likely eat, sleep, dream of travel. Our finances are hardly sorted out..but we make sacrifices that many folks have no idea of. We tighten our belts, live very frugally just to be able to afford our next destination. We have monthly bills to pay, and a couple of debts we are sorting out, and as much as traveling may not be 100% fun, we do it because we need it, it’s like travel a-season keeps the doctor away, it is our source of inspiration and downtime.
7) Don’t make such a big deal about travel; We get it that traveling around the world for a few is no longer a novelty, that they wander because they can. For most of us out of Africa, travel is quite specific and for a reason; are you visiting, moving, to join a partner/spouse, is it a conference you’re attending, are you going abroad to study, or are you in the aviation industry?….suffice to say, more Africans (living in Africa, holding an African passport) are traveling for recreation. Africans are more knowledgeable about the world
and hate it when Linton lies than before, and have come to the understanding that travel is no longer just a preserve of only the rich, that there are creative ways to travel, and that the experiences and knowledge one gets makes up for any money spent.
There shouldn’t be such a big deal about travel; it is an industry on it’s own, providing incomes for millions.. so it’s possible to live the dream and make money out of it..if you’d love to see the world..get up and go, even if it means to the next town or country…if it’s not your dream…stay back and run the town.
Do you make a big deal out of travel?