Protesting Implicit Travel Snobbery

Persistent traveler Karol (pronounced like Carl) Gajda reminds me why I subscribe to his blog, Ridiculously Extraordinary, in a new post titled “On Travel Snobbery“. I think there’s a lot of implicit travel snobbery in our culture, especially among the more upper- of the upper-middle class. Some of my friends grew up being shuttled around the world every summer with their family. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s motivated by a belief that experiencing diverse cultures richens one’s perspective. But while Karol loves to travel and does so more than most (and more authentically than most) he recognizes that there are legitimate reasons not to:

It’s not about how much you spend, or even where you go, it’s about getting out there and doing things you enjoy doing with people you love and people you just met.

Nobody can take that away from you no matter how many languages they speak, how many stamps in their passports, or how many frequent flier miles they accumulate.

Not Enjoying Travel Is A Valid Excuse

Some people just don’t like to travel. That doesn’t mean they lack culture or aren’t interested in other people. It just means they don’t like to travel. Nothing more, nothing less.

I’m in the midst of quite a spat of traveling right now, but I’m not doing it because I inherently enjoy traveling. I much prefer having a regular routine that allows me to have fun with friends (new and old) and stretch my mind in a comfortable home. I’m on this trip because I wanted to see these other parts of the country to which I hadn’t been before, and this was a good window of time. I’m excited to see friends in their home environments and to see friends who I don’t see much. And traveling in this fashion encourages spontaneity, which is something I value.

So, while people who buy in to travel snobbery might think that my adventure is as much a recipe for goodness as any trip is, the reasons I enjoy it are much subtler than that blanket assumption.

2 thoughts on “Protesting Implicit Travel Snobbery

  1. Thanks for posting this.

    In my 20s I encountered a lot of this, especially in regards to international travel. As someone who hadn’t really traveled at all, I was in more than a few ways, blocked out of circles of people who had just come back from Peace Corps, or had spent several semesters studying abroad… really interesting people I wanted to get to know, but who weren’t interested in getting to know me because I had not had the opportunities for travel that they had.

    It’s also *very* prevalent on OKCupid… there’s more than a few profiles that explicitly state “Only contact me if you have spent time living in another country”.

    -Sigh-

  2. Hey Alex!

    I know exactly what you mean as far as having a routine. That’s why I don’t travel constantly. I move to a place for 1, 2, 5 months and hang out. It’s much less stressful this way and is conducive to routines and making friends. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Karol

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