The Shame in Travel Shaming
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
A friend of mine recently purchased a luxury vehicle. Its got all the bells and whistles one would expect in a luxury car: moonroof, butter soft leather heated seats, premium sound system, GPS, retractable side mirrors, back up camera, and some other high priced features. When he drives this car, you can see the joy on his face. His eyes sparkle. He’s smiling ear to ear. He’s tapping the leather steering wheel to the beat of the music. I’m happy because he is happy.
However, when I ask him if he wants to travel to (insert anywhere), his standard answer is “OH, you know I can’t afford that”. HuH? My first thought was “well if you scale back your living expenses by cutting out BLAH, BLAH, BLAH...”
LoL - you can admit it, that was YOUR first thought too. That or “you ain’t living your best life!”
But, who are WE to judge what “best life” means to others? When he is in his car, or looking out at his Lake Michigan view, he has the same exact look that I have when I’ve just bought a flight to a new destination, that look of pure joy. Doesn’t that define happiness, or “best life”, for HIM?
A few years ago I wrote:
Travel is personal. It's not a competition.
It's not a race.
It should not bring about feelings of jealousy or anger.
It should encourage and inspire.
I do not travel because you travel.
I travel because unknown places call me in the night and speak to my soul.
Because I love the smell of an unexplored street and the sound of an unfamiliar beat.
Because I don't understand your language,
but I love the way it rolls off your tongue and dances in my ear.
Because there are new friends to make and new memories not captured on film.
Because I was not born to sit still and watch, but to move and see for myself.
Because my journey is not your journey and your journey is not mine.
And those words still ring true. Travel is personal. And it's not for everyone. Long flights. Missed connections. Layovers. Delays. Turbulence. Sometimes I don't think it's for me! But then a flight comes along that I can't resist. Or I see a beach that seems more perfect than the last.
I don't have a luxury car. Or a view of Lake Michigan from my kitchen. But I do have a passport, and it's my most valuable possession.