So, there is a hate thread about me over on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree site. Bored at work one night, I Googled myself and there it was. People I’d never met, united together in a massive slag-fest about what an awful human being I am. It’s from a long time ago but I still remember being absolutely mortified when I found it.
It was all because of a piece I wrote about travelling, that was published in the Sydney Morning Herald and seems to have got up the noses of quite a few people who enjoy travelling. Like this person-
Wow that lady is so bitter!
I hope I don’t sound like as much of a self-righteous, pretentious, bratty snob when I say I would prefer to travel independently rather than on a package tour as that lady (Carly Smallwood, or was it Smallbrain?) does!
Smallbrain? I have feelings too you know, random internet person.
Written at the age of 24, the article is a lot more caustic than something I’d write today, but if you actually read it, I never knocked travelling, or budget travel or independent travel. I was simply critical of the idea that going off backpacking somehow makes you superior to those that don’t.
“I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveller.”
Call yourself what you like, but no-one else cares, and in any case we are seeing different places not curing cancer here so let’s not get too enthusiastic about how wonderful we are.
Being lucky enough to live in a part of the world where you can have a job that gives you a disposable income, then choosing to save some of that disposable income and get on an aeroplane doesn’t make you any better than people that don’t. Just because you want to find yourself on a yoga retreat in Guatemala doesn’t mean that life is for everyone. I have friends who have little to no interest in travel. Being away from home and the people they love to go to somewhere stinking hot with limited access to clean water and sending themselves broke in the process is not their idea of a good time.
And that’s cool.
Some people like to go away on holidays and stay in fancy resorts.
And that’s cool too.
For people that pride themselves on being open-minded, “travellers” can sometimes be a judgemental lot.
Travel, don’t travel, stay in a fancy resort for a week, go hiking alone for three months or stay curled up on your couch with your dog. Your choices are yours and what you do isn’t right for everyone else.
And that is ok.