Over the last decade, travel trends, and buzzwords have dictated where and how people should travel. Certain destinations have not just become popular, but trendy and the travel experience is now harshly judged not only by colleagues and peers, but by the industry itself. It’s no longer socially acceptable to dedicate your hard earned time away from work, to a week on some beach somewhere, doing nothing but eating good food, soaking up some rays, or getting lost in a good book; Unless you’re camping out at Everest Base Camp for two weeks, it’s not real travel! I’ve read countless travel blogs, including some of my most beloved, and in one way or another, they each manage to alienate/shame their readers by preaching to them about what is considered ‘real travel’ and how they should be experiencing travel more authentically. This begs the question; What is real travel?
Though the trend reared its ugly head nearly two decades ago, the travel industry continues to create a space where highly personalized travel itineraries, contrived experiences, and staged atmospheres are high priced commodities, and the only socially acceptable way to travel. In the eyes of travel snobs everywhere, those who opt for the quick weekend away to Las Vegas to blow off some steam, rather than a pasta-making course in the heart of Tuscany are simply not real travellers. What is a real traveller? And what of those who cannot afford to travel overseas? Are they forever doomed to be cast aside as traveller wannabes?
Travel, in its purest form, is merely the movement of one human being between two geographical points. Technically, that could be a drive to the supermarket, or a five thousand kilometer flight to the other side of the country. For the purposes of this article, someone who hits the road for a two hour journey to spend a weekend atthe lake with friends is just as much a traveller as a backpacker like myself who spent months wandering the world on a one way ticket; It’s all travel, it’s all a journey, it all ends in a story that begins with a journey.
Travel styles are limitless and there is room for everyone (trust me, I book travel clients from all backgrounds with myriad interests). There is no such thing as real travel, it’s a state of mind. The next time you sit in front of a travel agent, or regale a travel story to your friends and feel the sting of judgement, brush it off and impart to them a bit of wisdom care of Danny Kaye; Travel should never be a measure of status, but instead seen as a “journey into yourself.”