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Although nothing is impossible, there are a great number of people around the world who can’t travel because the odds are immeasurably stacked against them. They may be under political restraints, embargoes, inseparable from their family’s livelihood, or be one of the 1.4 billion people who live below the poverty line. It’s easy to get into thinking that everyone should travel but potent to realize that everyone can’t.

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Travel Is A Luxury

While there is no doubt that overcoming the obstacles and traveling the world is generally not a simple or painless undertaking, typically most do so with some sort of safety net. A farmer working the fields in the demanding terrains of Central Asia could probably save enough money over a lifetime for a jaunt to Argentina – but what would become of their land or the family that depends on them for survival?

That may be a very specific example but there are many more like them numerous travelers can attest to. Luxury doesn’t imply that traveling is negative but rather something special to be appreciated by those who can.

fisherman philippinesThe Antithesis Of Travel Isn’t The Grind

There is a common theme within travel media that people who don’t travel regularly or travel long-term are stuck in the 9-5 “grind”. They can’t escape their jobs and while that’s true for some, it’s a broad generalization that doesn’t take into account the wide spectrum of individual situations.

  • It’s logical to target the “9-5” group because they generally have the means, if not the will, to travel. Often completely ignored are the people who can’t travel no matter how great their desire to do so.

It reminds me of what Gary Arndt calls travel porn in the futile quest for the authentic travel experience.

Porn is people watching people do things you’ll never do with people you will never do,” Arndt says, and “travel readers are also people watching people do things you’ll never do at places you will never go.”

In this case, a conception that traveling is the next evolutionary step for those working in the developed world to see what life is “really” like. You may travel to learn from other people but what does it mean if the people you’re searching to learn from have never traveled themselves?

Flipping Your Perspective

Witnessing a single case of a person who can’t travel by any practical means can help put just one of your trips into perspective. Traveling is tough but being bound to the circumstances of a hard life with little chance of financial or familial mobility is grueling. Those who are writing, taking pictures, and filming video about travel can encourage and teach people to travel more but no matter how perfect our creative creations are we can’t change a person’s access to resources.

  • At best travel writers can help others manipulate their minds and existing situations but the truth is most people won’t ever pick up and go and even more will never have the means to do so.

I still believe that there is a way in any situation to accomplish your goals, whether it be travel or otherwise, no matter how enormous the obstacles in your path. One good reason to travel to a place you want to see (if you can) is to appreciate the privilege that traveling is for humanity. That realization alone can take you places no airplane ever could and add value to even the meekest of travel budgets.