I’ve come across a lot of articles about the virtues of traveling recently. They’re either about how traveling will make you a well rounded interesting man full of worldly knowledge and capable of congratulating yourself in 7 different languages or it’s a girls coming of age story about a 6 month long tale filled with excitement, romance, and overcoming challenges to emerge a strong and independent woman.
Did you know there are some hidden truths about traveling that “they’re” keeping secret from you? Did you know that “they” are keeping this information to themselves for fear that if gets out their community would be destroyed? Did you know that I’ve spent time with “them” to unveal these hidden secrets to you?
The secret is that nobody actually likes traveling! There, I said it. There’s big business in making people stay drunk on wanderlust, but it’s all a big scam. Imagine all of the unemployed travel bloggers in the world if the veil was lifted and people learned the ugly truth that it’s better to stay home.
The life of a traveler might look glamorous on facebook where there are no cold wet nights, cockroach infested trains, stomach bugs, or other miserable details that creep up. During those moments you will learn the most incredible piece of information that all travelers learn eventually; “this is stupid.”
20 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Travel
1. It’s hard work! Lets face it; saving money, getting the time, organizing the details, and making it happen takes a lot of effort. That’s effort you could be devoting towards your career, your relationships, or your fantasy football league. It’s also a lot of work while traveling having to carry so much, so far, in so many modes of transportation while figuring out bookings, itineraries, and balancing your checkbook. Does any of that sound like fun?
2. It’s expensive. The price of a round trip plane ticket to any major city on Earth might cost as much as a brand new television. It’s impossible to make sacrifices in the face of crystal clear ultra high definition programming. A $50 bar tab could be spent living for 5 days in India, but then how would you pay your bar tab?
3. It’s an addiction. You start off recreationally only doing it a couple times a year maybe to see family. Then you start going on weekend road trips with your friends. Next thing you know you’ve booked a ticket to some city you’ve never been to only to be at the point of no return. Eventually you’ll sell your car, lose your job, and find yourself with a one way plane ticket down the rabbit hole.
4. All of your friends are long term travelers, and those people are weird. Seriously. Just think about someone who doesn’t have any grounding in the real world, lives on the fringes of society, and has trouble relating to anyone who wants to have a regular paycheck and their own bed. Not to mention their clothes are always in a state of “I should wash these.” These are the people you will spend your time with. You will be BFFs for 2 days and then friends forever on facebook since you’ll realistically never see each other again.
5. You couldn’t possibly balance a relationship AND traveling. You can only say “see you in a few months” so many times before she stops waiting. Then all that’s left are glimpes of romance that come about in incredibly intense but fleeting moments of beautiful harmony when 2 energies come together for the first time and they can’t separate until one of their visas expire. It’s a life full of awkward first kisses and beautiful goodbyes.
6. You probably won’t find the answers to any questions you have. The only answers will be to questions about experiences, like, “what is like to watch the sunset in Udaipur, Rajasthan?” But if you want to know what the meaning of life is, what is your purpose, or any of those types of questions, you’re better of sitting at home and smoking a doobie than traversing the globe. Traveling will probably just give you more questions, like the commonly asked, “what the fuck?”
7. You will get sick, without a doubt. The water is questionable, the food is questionable, and hepatitis is lurking around every corner waiting to pounce. Traveling in a third world country has to be one of the poorest choices one could make for self preservation. Prepare for excessive pollution, the smell of burning trash, and learning how to say “please stop my shitting” in the local dialect. Your human shell is fragile
8. People will think you’re cooler than you really are. Because traveling is one of those things that remains elusive to many people, it has been over romanticized. People will begin to think you’ve lived a really interesting life just because you’ve stepped foot in a place they can’t find on a globe. They really have no idea that you’re still that boring guy that would rather sit indoors and play video games all day.
9. You might have to learn another language. I’ve spent enough time in my life trying to learn English, y yo quiero apprendar espanol. मॅँ नहीं जानता कि इन शब्दों का अर्थ क्या होगा! If you only speak a single language, even if it’s English, you will definitely be limited communicating with locals. You’re either going to have to learn how to talk, or not be able to get food, water, or help from anyone.
10. Traveling does not make you a good person. Think of the evil people in the world. The political leaders leading children to war, the 1% enslaving the proletariat, and people like Justin Bieber. They have traveled more than anyone I personally know and they all still seem like assholes to me. Compassion, empathy, and an open heart are what make you a good person. Don’t bullshit me, people travel for fun, not to better themselves.
11. You will miss out on everyone else’s important life events. I don’t even get wedding invitations anymore because it’s implied that I won’t be there by the fact that I don’t have an address to mail the invitation to. I missed my friend’s little brother’s junior varsity championship basketball game recently because I was one of hundreds of millions celebrating the festival of colors in the streets of Nandgaon.
12. The food is never as good as your mom’s home cooking. It’s a cute and novel idea to be able to point at random kanji on a menu and hope for the best, but when you’re hoping for a grilled cheese and tomato soup, you might get cow brains. When they do try to cook your favorite dishes from back home, you just end up confused and cheated. Even the McDonald’s are foreign.
13. It’s dangerous. Don’t let anyone bullshit you on this one. Just because some guy with a travel blog survived his stay in a conflict zone doesn’t mean it’s “perfectly safe.” There are dangers in the world and it’s the same world you live in. Don’t be naive or worse yet, stupid. Some really awesome places also have problems with drugs, violence, sexual assault, murder, and all sorts of other nasty words.
14. Culture is actually really really boring. Museums are just there so we can have excuses to visit cities like Amsterdam without shame. Most art comes from people that nobody cares about until they’re dead. You can learn more about ancient culture on wikipedia than you will ever learn wandering a mosquito filled jungle looking for ancient ruins.
15. It’s uncomfortable. Imagine the worse bus you’ve ever been on multiplied by abysmal roads, lack of safety standards, and an occupancy rating of “2 more.” Now put yourself on that sardine death trap for the next 26 hours with no AC, bathroom, or hope that you’ll make it alive. Anyone who enjoys that is lying to you.
16. You won’t “find yourself” out there. Because you’re not out there no matter where you go, what you see, or who you meet. You’re not going to find yourself hiding in a bush in the remote Australian outback or hanging out in an igloo wherever those things are built at. This isn’t a game of Where’s Waldo, my aspiring backpacker buddy. If you look hard enough, you might never find yourself anywhere.
17. It’s stressful. Nothing ever goes right on any carefully thought out and well planned journey into the unknown. There are issues with transportation, communications, logistics, infrastructure and they exist in ways that can be mind numbingly frustrating. These constant spontaneous occurrences have taught me patience at the expense of increasing my blood pressure and decreasing my hair.
18. You become like a child again. It’s being thrown into a world that makes no sense at all. You can’t communicate a single word with anyone. You’re always lost and confused. You don’t fully understand where to poop at. You can’t even take care of your basic needs without the help of a more experienced “grown up” figure which usually ends up being a well intentioned local person.
19. Nobody will be able to relate with you. While you were out doing exciting things somewhere else in the world, you friends and family back home are still doing the same thing they were doing when you left. Your world view has grown a little larger, and they’re still complaining about their job.
20. The things you learn will ruin you. I used to love going to Taco Bell to indulge in delicious Mexican food. My favorite are the tacos made out of Doritos. I’ve spent months all over Mexico and I could not find a single one. They don’t even have shredded taco cheese in a bag! My little world has been destroyed.
If you’re one of those people that want to travel somewhere, but ran out of your own excuses, feel free to use one of mine. Each one is guaranteed to possibly help you sleep at night when you close your eyes to dream of adventures.