People travel for various reasons. Whether you’re travelling like a true wanderer or a “tourist”, you travel from one country to another to satisfy your wanderlust, curiosity, and thirst for freedom even when the people around you might think that you’re out of your mind.
There’s a saying that goes ‘Money can’t buy you happiness’. True, but only to a certain extent. While money can’t guarantee us true happiness, it’s a tool that can help us achieve the kind of happiness that most of us are looking for.
Ask any traveller if travelling makes them happy and they’ll say ‘Yes’. Does travelling make you happy too? If it does, listen to your heart and do what’s best for you. Travel!
I’ve met many travellers who have travelled around the world without having any money at all. So, we can’t conclude that travel is a waste of money for everyone.
Many people who haven’t seen much of the world may think that travel is not very important. Instead of looking at its positive sides, they may see it as a waste of time and money. Even my mom doesn’t understand why I travel and why it’s important to me.
In this article, I’ll tell you why travel is not a waste of time and money.
I’ve compiled some of the common things people have said about travel. And below every statement, I’ve jotted down my point of view on the matter. That way you’ll be able to understand why travellers (like me) are always looking for opportunities to explore the world whenever we can.
People who think travel is a waste of time & money say:
Why travel when you can do it in your home country? It’s cheaper too!
Travel does not only apply to overseas travel. People who explore their own country are considered as travellers as well. Let’s not generalise the word ‘travel’ as something that has to be done only overseas. What about individuals who travel all around the States? Aren’t they traveling too?
People who think travel is a waste of time and money sometimes say that there’s no need to go abroad to learn other people’s cultures. Why learn other cultures if you have yet to learn and understand the cultures in your own country? Fair enough.
But let’s not assume that everyone who goes abroad to experience foreign cultures are ignorant about their own culture and the cultures in their own homeland.
Another 2 things I would like to point out:
Traveling in your own country is not always cheap. Ask our fellow Americans if travelling around the States is cheap for them!
And travelling abroad does not necessarily have to be expensive. Budget travellers always do it cheaply and successfully. Unlike 10 years ago, travel is more affordable now thanks to budget airlines and accommodations.
It depends on your goals and what’s most important
Many people believe that travel is not for everyone. Not everybody wants to quit their job, leave everything behind, and travel the world. One of the reasons is because people are more focused on the future rather than focusing on the Now. Also, each one of us has a different goal in life.
Some people spend all their lives paying debts. But what for? For possessions they can’t even take everywhere with them? Most people living the “conventional lifestyle” also believe that they should save up all the money they have for their future and the future of their families. That’s not a bad thing at all. The problem is people tend to forget how to enjoy themselves.
Enjoying every minute of your life now doesn’t mean you should be spending all of your money just on travelling. Exploring the world is just one of the ways how you can learn and have fun at the same time. For people who don’t see the point of travelling, travel is just a waste of time and money because they don’t see any monetary returns on their investment. It’s not like travelling is going to double or triple their wealth, or feed them for the next 20 years. But the one thing that you will not lose in 20 years is the experience of your journey.
For true travellers, wealth isn’t all about success and money. It is also about the knowledge and experience they’ve gained in the world (or some would like to call it the ‘School of Life’).
For those who can afford to travel luxuriously, they often don’t view travel as a waste of time and money simply because they can afford it. And for many, travelling together with the people they love/care about is one of the ways of sharing happiness.
At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves why we travel and why it’s important to us.
Travel is dangerous
Many people are afraid to travel because they’ve probably watched too much Fox News. Scared of kidnappings and terrorist attacks? Those things can happen to anyone in any place!
If you think that the world is a dangerous place, then you’ll never feel safe no matter where you are. Remember this: Your country exists somewhere in the world. Your home also exists somewhere in the world. And you also live somewhere in the world. Following this logic, dangers exist everywhere! To prove this point, one time I accidentally slipped and knocked my head on the floor in my own house. Ouch!
So if you think travel is dangerous, you need to look around you again and ask yourself if where you are now is the safest place to be even during an unexpected occurrence.
Travel is not for ambitious people
Do you really think so?
I won’t deny that it takes a lot of discipline to be in the office doing a 9 to 5 job. Sometimes, you also have to do unpaid overtime too, whether you like it or not. That also takes a lot of discipline. But why do many of us have to go through all of that at some point in our lives?
Simple. To get a promotion, which usually comes with a pay rise so that we can continue to improve our lives. To give life a purpose. Maybe even to prove our own worth. And perhaps in 5 years time, we can be the next person to take over our boss’s place. Maybe we’ll even open our own company someday. Who knows?
Just like other ambitious people, travellers have goals too. With the rise of the remote working culture, more people are starting to earn money from doing what they love even while travelling.
Many of these “digital nomads”, or some prefer to be known as “location independent workers”, get most of their work done online. All they need is stable internet coverage and a laptop. What makes them different than the majority of people working in the conventional world? They travel and work wherever and whenever they want. Is that something you’d love to do too? To be successful at it, you also need to be highly disciplined.
Your career doesn’t have to stop when you travel. Especially in the capitalist world we live in today, travellers need to survive too; they need to survive just as much as everyone else does. They just do things differently. That’s all.
People who think travel is NOT a waste of time and money say:
Travelling broadens you as a person. It makes you look at things differently.
People say happiness is often temporary. I partially agree with that. If you somehow agree that happiness is temporary, why not live in the moment? If you like travelling, it isn’t going to be something you’ll regret spending time and money on.
Yes, you can teach yourself many things even when you don’t travel. But everything you do gives you a different lesson. Travel has its own perks too.
For example, you can learn how to survive in your own comfort zone (e.g. your country), but the survival experience is different in other places where the situations and conditions are different (i.e. outside of your comfort zone).
Once you leave your comfort zone, especially on your own, you’ll realise that the world is not as shitty as the media has made it appear to be.
“Tourists” learn new things from their travels too
Don’t expect everyone to have the same kind of travel experiences. I don’t expect every traveller I meet on the road to tell me that he/she has done hitchhiking, crashed in a stranger’s home, or travelled around the world in one year with just $10,000 (or with no money at all).
Even though I still don’t understand how people can actually consider a 10 days Euro-trip as ‘travelling’, technically it’s still travelling. Still, I’m glad that these people are curious enough to get to know the world outside of their own world.
And if you think these “tourists” don’t learn anything from their travels, you’re definitely wrong. I can assure you that they do. You learn something new every time you enter a new place.
For example, you learn how to say “Sawadee-kap” in Thailand, which means “Hello”. There you go. That’s a good start!
Travel gives you more freedom
Everybody wants freedom. What kind of freedom? Financial freedom? Freedom to do whatever you want? Well, as long as your hands are not tied up, you’re already free to do whatever you want with your life.
You can spend your entire savings on a brand new car, a brand new house, an investment, or a new business venture. To have all these material luxuries, 95% of the time you’ll need to work hard in order to get them. If you really want to travel, you’ll find ways to make it happen too, just as how you’ll try to get all of these material items.
Many travellers I’ve met on the road used to have a 9 to 5 job and were saving as much as possible before they started their travels. In the process, they were trying to minimise their spending and cut off all unnecessary things. Some even sold their valuables as they felt like they no longer needed them. As for those who still kept their full-time job, they’ve always made time to travel.
Whether you’ve fully quit your job to travel or otherwise, when you travel, you’ll feel liberty in many ways.
Travel makes you experience new things
There are many new things you can experience when you travel. For me, I’ve never been to a place with a temperature lower than 17 degrees (Celsius). When I did it for the first time, it was a sensation I’ll never forget!
Money is not an issue if you really want to travel. People I’ve met on the road have travelled with nothing in their wallet. Even if they had a little bit of money, they’d only use that cash for things that were the most important such as food, visas, and/or passport renewals.
Travellers also learn to save money on accommodation. They use Couchsurfing. If they have a tent, they camp. Doing any of these basically gives them new experiences each time. New places. New people. New stories. More memories.
If you’re stuck at home, will you be able to experience all these wonderful things? Apart from helping your mind mature in many ways, travelling also teaches you how to fully utilise all the resources around you. That’s what we call survival.
What do you think? Is travel a waste of time and money?