“People travel because it teaches them things they could learn no other way” – Lance Morrow.
It is hard not to feel bombarded and pressured to travel. You see friends embarking on an around the world trip, you read an article about the Top 10 places to visit in your 20’s and you see pictures of amazing landscapes and scenery from around the world. Along with the pressure of where to go and for how long, there also comes the ‘what kind of traveller do I have to be?’ question. Some people have in their mind a certain stereotype of a traveller. They envision a person that embarks on a solo journey, carrying a backpack, maybe with dreadlocks, with no real plan and prepared to sleep wherever they have to in order to make this journey of self discovery last longer.
This stereotype is wrong. We are all travellers. We do not have to fit into a mould to see, experience and learn while we travel.
Be the traveller you want.
You may only have a limited amount of time to travel. Your commitments at home may not allow you to travel ‘slow’. You want to spend a couple of days in a city, but pack as much as you can in? Fantastic! What a brilliant way to experience it. Fast paced and with adrenaline pushing you forward. You are learning and experiencing the best way to make your way around a city in a limited amount of time. You are brave for throwing yourself into the transport system and navigating your way to the sights you want to see. You are a traveller.
You may choose to have a resort styled trip overseas. If home stays and hostels aren’t your idea of fun, you may opt for a resort styled trip. Laying by the pool, taking in the views and chatting to other guest’s sounds fabulous. You may not know it, but you are learning so much and making connections. You may not meet as many locals this way, but you may well be meeting some interesting people from around the world. You are a traveller.
You may choose to travel on a shoestring budget. I think you rock. You have set out on an adventure with the mindset to make it last as long as you can. You don’t mind if you have to scrimp on accommodation or food if it means you are on the road for longer. You are learning how to budget like a boss. You may be hitting up locals to find out ways to save money. How cool is that. You are immersing yourself in a different culture. You are a traveller.
Your main focus may be the tourist attractions. I have a large annoyance when people stick up their noses to ‘tourist attractions’. There is a reason a place becomes popular with tourists – it must be good. The Eiffel Tower is spectacular and is also one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. By focusing on the tourist attractions, you are learning what attracts a lot of people to a certain country or city. You are experiencing a piece of history, how amazing. You are a traveller.
You may want to do tours. You may feel more comfortable going on a large tour, rather than planning a trip yourself. How awesome are you? You are taking some stress out of planning your trip and focusing on lapping it all up. You will meet wonderful, like-minded people on your tour and you can be assured that you are looked after. You can immerse yourself into learning and experiencing without the stress of figuring out how to get from A to B. You are a traveller.
You may want to travel solo. Good on you! You must love the feeling of being independent and being able to decide what YOU want to do. You are not held back from doing and experiencing what is important to you. You will learn so much about yourself and gain a lot of confidence. You are a traveller.
You prefer to travel with friends. Traveling with friends is the best fun. You are creating amazing memories with your favourite people in the world. You can look back and talk about the travels you had together and you will have someone by your side to say to ‘This is amazing!’ You will learn so much about your friendship and about tolerating different kinds of people. You are a traveller.
You may not feel like you resonate with any of the above. There are hundreds of different ways to travel. This is only a handful.
There is not one mould that defines a traveller. We are all travellers. Every time we experience a new place, we are learning. We may be learning different things and in different ways, depending on the WAY we chose to travel, but nothing can take away from our personal experience. Don’t let anyone make you feel like your travels are less valid than theirs, based on a ‘travel’ mould.
Your experience may not be the same as someone else’s, but that’s okay. Can you imagine if we all wanted the same thing out of travel? How boring would life be?
We are all travellers and life is not boring.
A big thank you to Sammy for this post! If you want to hear more from Sammy then head on over to www.tothedayslikethis.com