Travel is most often the privilege of the privileged. Two years ago last month, I was returning from a trip that was certainly a great privilege.
If you can’t go out to eat with friends without referencing something you learned or experienced from some travel experience you had, then I think you’re doing it wrong.
Great travel writers, I think, tend to have always done so for a personal love for travel — not primarily to be a travel writer or to tell someone else about what you did.
Of late, I was reminded.
There are nearly a dozen different, conflicting things I believe strongly about travel:
- Everything you do while traveling will be a cliche. Seriously, everything. Check out the many many Onion stories or ones from Stuff White People Like for any confirmation you need.
- It’s a really aged, really important part of human experience and it will help you come to terms with lots of ideas you have already heard, so you should do some of it if you are so blessed to be able to do so. Tim Ferriss recently ran a well-trafficked post about that.
- Travel is wildly overrated. Penelope Trunk did a great job of explaining that.
- You should try traveling somewhere, sometime by yourself.
- The most expensive thing about travel is getting there, and you can do the rest pretty cheap. …Not that you always may want to.
- Just because you traveled somewhere, doesn’t mean you know it. No, Paris isn’t France, and hell, even Paris isn’t Paris.
- You should try your hand at using as much of a local language as you can, as an entire blog exists to suggest.
- It makes for some really incredible writing. Like, one of my favorite pieces of journalism of all time (even if his reading isn’t so exciting) and lessons from legendary travel writers.
- And, as I think most importantly: you should travel for yourself and for no one else. Keep your mouth shut from sharing every four seconds the experiences you had and wildly broad cultural decisions you’ve made, and just travel for yourself if you enjoy doing so. Few things make so many people more self-conscious than having not traveled, so stop. If you traveled for yourself, then it’s quite easy to keep it to yourself.