I think my travel-loving community is made up of some of the best people. I really do. Travelers are full of life, excitable, curious, and always ready to try something new. Totally my type of people.
The only time I feel a little bit down is when I speak with fellow travelers who seem to have no regard at all for the feelings and situations others. That, to me, totally opposes what traveling is about. One comment that really stands out to me is, “Anyone can travel.” Have you heard this before? Maybe a friend made this comment after a life-changing trip around the world, you may have read other travel bloggers who firmly believe this, or you may have even said it yourself. It’s a sentiment that is prevalent in the travel community, and while I truly believe people say it with good intentions, I don’t think it’s true.
Growing up, my family and I did a lot of domestic road trips, but we never traveled internationally together. I certainly don’t begrudge my parents for this — I had a great childhood and recognize that family trips to France really would have been impossible. But I try to imagine if you’d told my parents 25 years ago, “Anyone can travel!” while they were raising 4 kids under 10 years old on a single income and how they would have reacted. Maybe laughed at you? Asked you to leave? But more than likely, they’d just feel bad. They’d feel like they weren’t doing enough, which I can assure you was not the case.
And that’s the truth for a lot of people — they’re just doing the best they can.
So when someone says, “Anyone can travel,” it doesn’t mean that someone has a large understanding of the world; it means that person has a very small perspective of it. Luckily, I think we can change that.
One of the great things travel will teach you is empathy. It will put you in situations where you interact with people of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and upbringings, and who have vastly different values and day-to-day lives than you. You can encounter these people halfway across the world, in your own country, or the city that you live. Many people you’ll meet would love nothing more than to hop on a plane and go somewhere — anywhere — but they are not able to.
They are truly not able to.
There are people in the world who live on less than a dollar a day, while many others work multiple minimum wage jobs just so that they can put dinner on the table. People face disabilities and illnesses that affect everyday living. Some people find themselves in a position as a primary caregiver, not just for young children, but for older family members. And these are just a few of the reasons someone might not prioritize travel.
Don’t get the wrong idea here: I love traveling, and I think that anyone who can do it, should. I get warm fuzzies inside just thinking about going somewhere new! I hope that Tremendous Times inspires you to get out there more, too. And, like I said, I think the idea behind the phrase “anyone can travel” comes from a positive place. There are lots of bogus excuses not to travel (most of them born out of fear) and if you can get over them and go somewhere, you won’t regret it. No matter how near or far you wander, it will be a worthwhile experience.
But the idea that anyone can travel is a rose-tinted generalization. It shows a lack of awareness of the world around us and disregards the realities other people face.
You really can’t say what you would do if you were in another person’s shoes until you’re actually in them, and you must acknowledge that you will never be able to fully comprehend the situation of every single person in the world. Funny enough, as a traveler you should call on empathy to understand and respect that there are reasons some people choose not to travel. And that’s okay. You might wish that another person would travel, but make sure this wish comes from a place of kindness, not of judgment. <3
What do you think of the phrase “Anyone can travel”? Do you believe anyone can travel and why/why not? Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to travel but couldn’t? What was stopping you?