My deep dark dirty travel secret: the stigma of loving travel

(This is the first post I wrote on my blog 1 year ago today.)

Excitement is building in me. Ever since around 4 weeks ago, something switched in my brain which has changed my perspective on a lot of things.

It was that I shouldn’t be ashamed to love or want to travel.

This may seem strange, there are millions of people travelling, millions of people who make a living from travel — so why was I ostracising myself?

It ultimately came down to a few things:

My family and most of my close friends weren’t doing it. So even though I had (a few times now) returned from my travels energised and with renewed passion for life, it soon died. And so did my upcoming travel plans, it was easier to think of reasons why I would need to wait to book x trip.

Also, notions of my future travels soon wore the label of ‘holidays’ as they tried to take place within my restricted 20 day per year allowance. (Note: The word holiday never really sat right with me for the style of trips I was taking. I was going to explore, to understand how another people live and embrace it, rather than relax on a beach and only speak with my own travel party). It therefore seemed to some that I was investing money and time away from what I should be doing, focusing on a job in London and saving.

Travel, unfortunately has this current stigma: must be slightly wealthy to do it, must be a specific type of person to do it, must post generic photos on Instagram, and whilst all of these notions have some truth, they’ve sadly given the act of travel a bit of a superficial reputation. When this is not the reason a lot of people travel. And it is certainly not why I travel.

Me in Petra, Jordan

As I touched on in my about me, for me travel is about education of the diverse world we live in, and there’s no better way to learn that first-hand in real life! Rather than out of a book.

I mentioned to a few friends recently that one of the most positive things about travel for me is acceptance of difference. I likened it to the Buddhist phrase ‘Namaste’ meaning “the divine light in me honors the divine light in you”. When I travel I meet new cultures and people, I may naturally form opinions about other approaches to life; but I will always respect them having spent enough time to understand their perspective and philosophy. In short what I believe to be true is true, and what the person sitting across from me believes to be true, is also true. I read about this thinking in a book called ‘the Buddhist Bootcamp’ but found that it really resonated when understanding the outcome travel had on me.

One thing I learnt from talking to people is that a lot of people want to travel. But they may be frightened to do it (especially alone), may think they wont be able to afford it, talk themselves out of it because of planning, think some locations are too dangerous or are just fearful that they wont enjoy the experience.

This website speaks to you. I want to help as many people travel as possible, I’m positive it can never be a bad thing! I originally wanted to keep this website about useful information such as how to book, get there and useful resources. But a fellow traveller reminded me that me as an individual telling my experiences I could also help people, as they might draw parallels between us as think ‘hey I can easily do this too’. And I hope you do.

Me in Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin

So, I’m letting my travel passion out of the bag and embracing it, let’s see where it takes me!

Do join if you can.

Today, my blog has been going one year and I genuinely feel I’ve achieved the above. Now the task is to do it on a larger scale. By day, I am a travel professional, and since the day I wrote this I have learnt a whole lot more about the travel industry (and I’m still not sick of it!)

I’ve actually been inspired to pursue another venture — so feel free to stick around for that ride too. Drop me a comment if you can relate to my thoughts, I’d like to connect with more travellers if possible (budding and fully-fledged — all welcome!)