No, Being Well-Traveled Doesn’t Make You More Interesting.

How I learned that it’s not where you go or what you do, but what you bring back that makes you interesting.

Photo by Seb Mooze on Unsplash

Whether natural or made by human hands, the wonders of the world are to be appreciated, not exploited to solidify our social status or “cool factor.”

Look at it like this: if I were to snap a pic of my seven-figure check, or my 10,000-square foot mansion in the palisades (neither of which I have), people wouldn’t be impressed by how interesting I am; they’d see me as a shallow show-off. How is showing off a status symbol like money or mansions any different than doing the same thing with a travel experience?

Photo by Austin Loveing on Unsplash

Is there really a right way to travel?

So you might be saying: “Hey jerk, who are you to be saying there’s a right reason to travel?” Fair enough. I am well within my right to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to travel to a far away place for a selfie-photo shoot…but that doesn’t make me a more interesting person. It makes me the modern equivalent of the guy in the 1960s who made his next-door neighbors sit through his slideshow of his family trip to Yosemite. All I’m missing is an avocado green polo and polyester pants (both of which I already own…don’t judge).

Nobody thinks you’re Mother Teresa just because you post “Spread love wherever you go” with a pic of you standing outside a coffee shop in Calcutta.

Photo by Alicia Steels on Unsplash

So how can we all be better travelers?

Put simply, don’t steal enjoyment from others. Don’t barge in front of an elderly man who has waited his entire life to return to Normandy just so you can get a pic of your 5-year old pretending he’s storming the beaches, with the hashtag #neverforget. Take pics, share them even, but be present in the moment, not glued to your phone making sure you get just the right amount of “Likes.” And when you come home, don’t rub your adventures in other people’s faces.

If your journey truly made you a more well-rounded, interesting person, you’d realize what a privilege it is to travel, and want to help others experience it as well.

You wouldn’t show off for others or worse, get a tinge of jealousy when you find out they’re going to a place you’ve already visited, as if experiencing a culture, country or continent belongs to you and you alone.

Principal/Writer of catescreates.com. Author of “Oklahoma’s Atticus.” Visit hunterhowecates.com.

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