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What Is Travel, and Who Decides Anyway?

September 25, 2019
What is travel

And quite frankly, where is the rule book? It is time for the monthly cuppa and a chat post my lovelies. Although this month it has a travel focus, I think that actually, a similar level of judgment is aimed at many subjects. We are going to be talking about “travel snobbery”, and asking the question, who decides what is travel?

By its very definition, travel means “to take a journey, typically of some length”. That is what the dictionary describes as travel. So when did that definition get re-written to “travel is only if you go to exotic places, wear a backpack, get on a plane, are gone for months on end and meet a fellow traveller called Nigel”? When did the description change?

what is travel and who decised anyway?
History of the UK

I consider and describe myself as someone that writes about travel. At various times in my life I have been the “new” definition of what some consider to be “a traveller” (and a fellow traveller called Nigel did once play guitar for me in a hostel). I’v done the whole living out of a back pack, being away for months/years on end. But recently, I have also enjoyed the joys of a staycation and explored much more of the UK. I have got on the train to Scotland, driven into Wales and even popped on the tube into London to explore. In my eyes all fall under the travel header.

For us, it has been both a conscious decision to enjoy more travel at home, as well as circumstances restricting us a little. Like many of us, I have become more and more aware of the impact that the aviation industry has on the environment, (I wrote a post about responsible travel a little while back) so staycations have become something we choose to do.

What is travel
There is interesting things everywhere

But, why is there judgement about what qualifies as travel? Why, in some people’s eyes, is climbing mountains here in the UK (I use the UK example as it is where I live) not as worthy as climbing one overseas? Why is the beautiful history of the Uk not as cultural as the history of foreign lands? Why is there the perception that you are not really travelling if you are hiking across British (or where you live) soils as opposed to lands where the language and climate are different? It is all travelling a different road, all “taking a journey”. Why the snobbery?

I absolutely love the travel blogging community, and have made many great friends through it. There are definite segments and categories within it, but I personally have never found any judgement in it. You have the travel bloggers that love cruises, those that adore rural adventures, the thrill seekers, the history finders, all manor of specialisms and loves. So many different ways people enjoy their travel and share it, and I love reading it all!

what is travel and who desides?
Do we have to get on a plane to travel?

However, I did meet up with a group of travel bloggers last summer, and for the first time, noted an element of almost embarrassment about where people were travelling. Everyone was sitting around discussing their recent adventures, excitedly sharing stories and experiences. One of the group had not done any overseas travels so far that year, yet had been exploring his own country in abundance. Road trips, camping trips, hikes, sailing adventures, he had been living his best life! Yet, when he was first asked what he had been up too, his first words were “oh not travelling like you guys, I have just been at home” He was clearly uncomfortable and felt a little shy about his lack of getting on a plane.

So, What is Travel?

This made me think about how we all view travel. We, that are lovers and writers of travel, of course write about our own experiences. However, there are so many people that, for whatever reason, do not get on a plane and jet off overseas to travel. Their circumstances or just choices mean that they explore nearer to home. Why should what they do and experience, be any less worthy than what others do? Why should they be excluded from what we consider travel?

discussing what is travel
the UK has beautiful beaches

Lets think about what travel, or taking trips does for us. For me, it opens my eyes to new places, expands my mind. I explore the history and stories of a place. I love to try the food, the hospitality. I find a renewed lust for life that the break away has given me. I adore turning corners, not knowing what I am going to find round them and seeing how the local communities live in their day to day lives. Meeting new people, experiencing new things, having new stories to share, finding beautiful landscapes, all of this is travel to me. All of this is why I am so passionate and excited about travel.

But all of this can be experienced near or far! I do not have to travel to the opposite side of the world for this. Yes of course I will always love going over to new countries, love experiencing the thrill of foreign lands. But I have also found the adventure in a staycation can be just as rewarding. Just as much of a new experience. Fresh memories are made, unexplored places are seen. I love that I have discovered so much beauty here in the Uk and Nik and I are working our way through the Lonely Planet Ultimate Uk Book. It has given me an even greater appreciation of the country I call home. That is what trips away, any kind of new adventure, brings us and personally, I don’t care what you want to call it! I call it travel.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Have you experienced any travel snobbery? Do you yourself think you have not been away unless it’s on a plane? Do you have an element of travel snobbery? Do you think there is a judgement in what is called travel? I would love to hear your thoughts as ever. xx

what is travel, and who decides anyway?
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12 responses to “What Is Travel, and Who Decides Anyway?”

  1. Meg says:

    I love the UK and Ireland would be happy to spend more weekends exploring. The reality for me (and probably others) is that the UK is really expensive to travel around compared to other countries. I’d like to hop on a train more often but prices often preclude that. Accommodation is relatively expensive so that often rules out road trips – especially if like me you are either a solo traveller or travelling with dependents who can’t pay their own way. Food isn’t generally a problem. I’d love to spend more time in the UK but it’s much cheaper to go abroad. Lonely Planet put Wales as a top destination and think they (or someone) put Glasgow as up and coming. I’d like to spend more time in London and I don’t live that far away but best part of £55 just for three of us.

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Hi Meg, yes I get what you mean about expense. It can be so expensive. You did still consider then travel though, so it isnt your perception of what travel is that stops you is it. I think thats amazing. Ohhhh I love that Wales got a mention! We visited Wales for the first time this year and fell in love with it. Seeing more of Ireland is way up the list for next year xxxThank you for sharing your thoughts xx

  2. Ann Rebori says:

    I can never understand this type of travel snobbery, people turning their noses up when you tell them, once again, you choose to holiday at home. Like you I love to visit different countries but I think this country is beautiful with so much to do and see. We have loads of wonderful memories holidaying in the UK. Ok the weather can be, ahem…challenging, but get your waterproofs on and get out there, that in itself can be an adventure! 😁

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ohhhhh Ann you are speaking my language. I am the exact same as you. I have so much appreciation for what the UK has to offer, and consider it to be travel, 100% We are actually off to stay in a Yurt next month, in our own County so not even leaving our home County! I still consider it travel. We need to stop putting labels on everything and just live don’t we xx Thank you for joining in the conversation xx

  3. Alex Grace says:

    This year has been one of the 1st where we haven’t travelled abroad for our holidays. We’ve had 3 breaks all within the UK and I would still class them all as travel. However, if you asked me, do you feel you’ve been on holiday this year – I could only answer yes for one of them. That for me, is more perspective on what a holiday resembles rather than what travel resembles. I achieve a level of switch-off in other countries (for a number of reasons) that I just personally rarely achieve on holiday here. I guess it’s just too close to home, there is too much familiarity in the everyday – even when we’re doing some fun day trips & exploring new places. Like I said, it’s psychological. I truly believe there are wonderful places to holiday in the UK and we have one of the best capital cities in the world! I wouldn’t turn my nose up at anyone choosing to holiday at home and I do believe a staycation is still travel. xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ahhh thats interesting that you think that way Alex. I agree with you 100% that holidays are a frame of mind. I can feel totally refreshed after just a night in a hotel in London, which is 20 minutes away! Yet a City break in Europe can make me feel exhausted haha! I wonder if it is to some degree, what is going on in life too. You know how sometimes you are just so desperate for a break, a walk round your local park can feel amazing! It’s the head space you are in. At least you are not a travel snob though Alex lol xx

  4. Rachael says:

    This is so interesting, you’re right, there is a subconscious (or more conscious) feeling in many people that travelling locally is not really travelling. Myself included in fact; I grew up travelling abroad a lot purely because that was were my family were and without really realising it, associated travel with getting on a plane. However, over the last couple of years I realised I had hardly explored my own back yard as it were. I fell in love with the Cotswolds (where I got married last year) and in January we did the unthinkable, forewent the usual two week jaunt to somewhere far away and stayed in a cosy hotel with open fires in Broadway! It was amazing, to such an extent we have since been back to different parts of the Cotswolds since, explored Hampshire, had a blissful long weekend in Scotland and now fully utilise our National Trust membership! I have started following a lot more people that travel within the UK now as it is so much more attainable and realistic for me, I can actually plan to do it in the next month, rather than “one day I will stay in that overwater villa in the Maldives”!!! Also, I have just bought that Lonely Planet book you recommended, I absolutely love their books and had somehow completely missed this one, can’t wait until it arrives!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Oh Rachael, you could not be speaking my language any louder! We are exactly the same. It has only really the last few years we have started stay-cationing (is that even a word) more. In part due to Nik and his battle, but also because we have discovered so many beautiful places in the UK. Scotland in particular just blew me away with how stunning it was. We are looking to go back next year! I may have to pick your brain about The Cotswolds. We are looking at going there for a few days in November! I am so happy to read this comment. Oh, and that book, I promise you, you will LOVE it! See you at the Edinburgh Tattoo???????

  5. Kevin says:

    It is so important that people stop comparing themselves to others and live their best life, as you point out so well here. And this sentence made me laugh!: “So when did that definition get re-written to “travel is only if you go to exotic places, wear a backpack, get on a plane, are gone for months on end and meet a fellow traveller called Nigel”?” Excellent post with a great message!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Thank you so much Kevin, (and I am glad you saw the humour in my words) I think we have become a nation obsessed with labels. As you say, everyone should just live their life, enjoy it to the fullest, and embrace their inner Nigel hahahaha! Thank you for reading x

  6. Laurie says:

    There’s loads of places in the UK that I want to have mini breaks in and I would love to experience a cruise. I don’t mind if it’s here in the UK or abroad, I’m no snob but I like my comforts! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ohhh I hear you! I dont think of myself as a snob, but I do like a clean space! I think travel is a state of mind. Any new adventure is travel! Get out there exploring x

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