Nothing irks me more than people disparaging people’s travel choices. I don’t get why people do it. The whole “traveler vs. tourist” argument, talking about what makes someone a “real traveler,” and making fun of people’s routes — people waste so much energy trying to lift themselves up above others. Isn’t travel supposed to make you open-minded?
I do this for me. This is all my journey. I’m not in a race for the most countries visited, street stalls eaten at, or festivals attended. I do what makes me happy, even if it’s some “touristy” destination.
There isn’t a single “authentic” version of travel. Getting off the beaten path, finding some hidden island, or living with some guy in a yurt in Mongolia don’t make someone a better traveler than anyone else. It just means your itinerary and experience were different.
I’ve been riled up about this for quite some time and decided to make a video about this subject. Here’s how I really feel and what I think you should do when you meet a pretentious, judgmental traveler (also notice the new introduction! Spiffy, huh?):
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So go where you want. Do what you want. See what you want. Eat where you want. Maybe I’ll disagree, maybe I’ll try to get you to do something else, but, as Sheryl Crow said, if it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad — and at the end of the day, I’m just happy you left the house. That’s all I care about.
The next time someone starts harping on your travel choices or giving you grief, turn the conversation around on them. Tell them part of being a traveler is being open-minded and if they can’t respect your choice, the conversation is over. Call them out on their crap.
And then walk away.
It’s your trip. Don’t let people ruin it.