Recently, the folks at College Humor released a new video of what it’s like to have one of those friends who seem to have a bottomless bank account and an unwavering sense of wanderlust. The “quintessential traveler” who sports floppy hats and over-sized glasses while posing with children from a third world country. The two minute clip parodies pretentious travelers and their tendency to scoff at 9-5ers.
Admittedly, the video got me thinking about what it means to be a traveler (as well as hoping my friends never see me coming off as airy and flippant like the cartoon-ish girl in this clip). True, we are all guilty of those idyllic Instagram shots we know will render some poor cubicle bound viewer wistful. Yes, travelers can drop quotes like nobody’s business as a poetic means to sway our listeners to throw caution to the wind and book a flight. The fact is, travelers–whether a travel blogger, backpacker, journalist or photographer–are dreamers who continuously chase that allusive horizon in search of their next adventure.
Should you casually mention an idea to embark on a trip to Central America, we are already looking up airfare and dates to make the thought a reality. Should you bring up wanderlust-inducing films, we become starry-eyed with an endless scroll of places we have yet to visit. Should you mention a past trip to Paris, we gush over our favorite patisseries and rattle off places you simply have to visit next time in France. Should you lament not being able to afford to travel, we intently share travel hacks like we’re handing over nuclear codes. We runaway with our thoughts, get ahead of ourselves and sometimes that can seem as though we are out of touch to the realities of what it means to afford travel.
Most of us are not heirs to fortunes though, majority of us have felt the pain of a slow-moving work day, the struggle of painstakingly saving dollar after dollar for a dream that feels ages away, the monotony of sitting in front of a computer for nine hours. We are familiar to the constraints of limited vacation time, to the woes of not affording a plane ticket, to the frustration of scrolling through social media and feeling as though everyone is en route to someplace exotic. We lust over our next trip and we make globetrotting a priority; revere it with a fevered passion. It may seem as though our heads are in the clouds but our love of travel is no different than how a chef speaks of food, a comedian of his jokes or a filmmaker of his movie–it is more than a pastime, it is our way of life. It is our religion.
Yes, there can exist a negative stigma of travelers as there can of anybody who is a renegade of the standard societal expectations of living. We may spend our savings on a six month trip over a mortgage, may opt against children for the sake of being untethered to wander freely, may push notions of corporate ladders far from our mind. We may cringe at the thought of suburbia, may try to inspire others to travel–but that is our prerogative, our desire to not only see the world but to share it.
What does being a traveler mean to you? Share it below!