WARNING: RANT ALERT! WARNING: RANT ALERT! WARNING: RANT ALERT!
I’ll be honest, I love a good moan and I strongly believe that anyone that says they don’t is a liar. Maybe it is the British in me but sometimes I think I am truly at my happiest when I am complaining about something. Venting my annoyance never ceases to make me feel better and I know I am not alone. With that in mind and assuming you are reading this blog because you too are an avid traveller like me, I think this article will give us some common ground of which to unite in our frustration. If you fall on the other side of these statements and recognise yourself saying these things, please spare a thought for your traveller friend and rethink your quizzing. Allow me to introduce the things I most hate hearing as a traveller.
1. ‘When are you going to get a real job?’
Seriously, how is this still a legitimate question that real human people ask? Let’s be honest, the job market is oversaturated, people are overqualified and the economy is on its knees. (This has got a bit political quickly hasn’t it?) Either way, life is no longer the simple ‘one path fits all’ that it used to be. In my experience, very few ‘real’ jobs boast a liveable wage and a healthy work-life balance and quite frankly, I am not willing to sell my happiness for a wage packet.
2. ‘But why do you want to go there?’
I am not referring to people who ask this question because they are genuinely interested but those that say it with a sneer. You know what they are actually saying is ‘that place is shit’. Perhaps more irritating than the know-it-all traveller who feels the need to tell you why the place you have mentioned is so awful, are the people who ask this question and have never even visited the place you’re talking about! This infuriates me on a whole other level. As soon as the question is out, I have to bite back the urge to shout ‘did I ask you!?’ and instead simply reply with ‘because I haven’t been there yet’.
3. ‘You are lucky that you have enough money to travel.’
Before I start this rant, I want to point out that I know I am lucky. I am very privileged to be born in a country free from war, with a strong passport and social mobility. However, I do resent being told (by people with the same background as me) that I am lucky I have the money to travel. I do not come from a wealthy background. I have no trust fund and no rich grandparents to inherit from. To finance my first backpacking trip, I worked a full-time factory job that I despised, as well as a second evening job and voluntary overtime whenever it was there. Travel didn’t fall into my lap, I grafted and saved hard to make it happen (and you could too)!
4. ‘I wish I could do that!’ *insert crap excuse here*
You can! Your age, your work and your family are not valid excuses. Loads of people have these same ties and manage to make travel happen for them. In reality, the people that make excuses for not travelling are making a choice, just like those of us that do travel are making a choice. In all honesty, I am pretty impatient when it comes to people who want a different kind of life but won’t make the change to get it. At the end of the day, you have the power to rewrite your own story but only you can pick up the pen.
5. ‘I thought you had been to more places than that.’
This seems to dominate the travel world, particularly when it comes to travel blogging. I don’t care how many countries you have been to and I don’t see why you would care how many I have visited. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy scratching a new place off the map but I don’t let the drive for numbers and bragging rights shape my travels. Am I any less of a traveller because I have been to fewer places than someone else? No, of course not. To put it frankly, this is just a dick measuring contest that people use to big themselves up.
6. ‘Be careful. It’s really dangerous there, I’ve heard it’s full of _________.’
I know that this annoys most people because nine times out of ten, you will be fine no matter where you travel. There are dangers everywhere and you shouldn’t let it put you off living your life. The reason that I hate this phrase is different. As someone with a long list of fears and anxieties that constantly threaten my own sanity, this statement simply gives me more to worry about. For example, ‘I know Mexico is full of drug barons and cartels and I am already shitting a brick about it, please do not remind me.’ Trust me, I am already worried enough without your input.
7. ‘But when are you coming home?’
I know there are good intentions behind this question but I despise it. There is no mood kill quite like excitedly explaining your trip to someone to have them respond with the guilt-inducing query, ‘but when are you coming home?’ In all honesty, I have been building up to this trip for so long that I don’t want to even consider, let alone plan, when I am coming home. Can you please just be happy for me? For a traveller, this question is potentially the most depressing thing you can be asked.
8. ‘Aren’t you meant to be thinking about children rather than running away again?’
In a word, no. I am more than my reproductive organs and I will appreciate you for remembering that. The choice to have (or indeed refrain from having) children, is no-one’s business but that of the individual in question. Just because the marriage, home and kids path is the standard route for most people, it doesn’t mean that it suits everyone. Why are we allowed to have different career paths and yet we are all expected to adhere to the same biological timeline? It makes no sense. Put bluntly, please take your assumptions and get lost.
What things do you most hate hearing as a traveller?
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