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?
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.
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!
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?
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