People travel for all kinds of reasons. Whether you travel to satisfy your wanderlust, explore your curiosity, or quench your thirst for freedom, it’s always a pleasure to see the world and enjoy every moment of it, even when others may tell you that it’s just a waste of time and money.
Some people say 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.
If you ask any traveller if travelling makes them happy, I’m sure they’ll tell you that it does. I travel, too. And I can tell you that travel makes me happy. Very happy.
If travelling makes you happy, too, do what’s best for you — keep travelling!
I’ve already met all kinds of travellers on the road, from the ones who can afford to splurge their money on whatever they like to those who travel the world with almost no money at all. No matter who has the most or the least money of them all, these individuals travel because it means something to them. In life, isn’t it important to do something that means something (special) to us?
People who think travelling is a waste of time and money are probably those who haven’t seen much of the world yet. But there are also individuals who travelled so often until they got sick of it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get sick of travelling. I might slow down a little bit when I’m older. But I think I’ll still like it when I’m 70.
While some travellers find travelling to be life-changing, some don’t. In the end, our experiences shape our perceptions on the matter. From my own experience, travelling has given me so many good memories. They’re rewarding, which is why I don’t think travelling is a waste of time and money.
In this post, I’m sharing with you my responses to some of the common things people say about travelling, whether it is or isn’t a waste of time and money. I’d love to share with the world about why travellers (like me) are always looking for opportunities to explore the world whenever we can.
People who think travelling is a waste of time and money say:
Why travel when you can do it in your home country? It’s cheaper, too!
Travelling doesn’t only apply to overseas travel. People who explore their own country are considered as travellers, too. 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 travelling, too?
People who think travelling 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 fully understand the cultures in your own country? Fair enough.
But don’t 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’d like to point out here:
- Travelling in your own country isn’t always cheap.
Ask any Americans if travelling around the States is cheap for them. Sometimes moving around from one country to another is cheaper than staying in your own country.
I’ve got a writer friend from New Jersey who travels around Asia because he simply can’t afford to live in the States at the moment. He goes to a foreign country and stays there for a little while before moving on to the next one.
It’s not always easy, though. It tends to be tiring and time-consuming. Despite his struggles to move around constantly, he says he’s enjoying every moment of it. He gets to see the world, meet new people (like me!), and embrace his taste for nomadic lifestyle.
- Travelling abroad doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive.
You can learn this from budget travellers who always know the ways to do it successfully without breaking the bank. Unlike 10 years ago, travelling is more affordable now thanks to budget airlines and accommodations.
It depends on your goals and priorities in life.
Let’s be clear about this. Travelling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I once met a guy who told me that he hates travelling. He just doesn’t see the point of it. And not everybody wants to quit their job, leave everything behind, and travel the world. Well, you don’t have to do all that. A one-week trip to a neighbouring state sounds just fine!
But that also costs money.
Many of us are already worrying about bills, mortgage, rent, car repairs, student loan, and the list goes on. With so many financial commitments in hand, saving money for travelling isn’t really (or may never be) a priority.
I must admit that saving money for my travels isn’t always my priority, too. But before I start a trip, I usually try to make some sacrifices, like eating out less frequently, travel by bus more often and so on – anything to help me save on my upcoming trip. Of course, it shouldn’t affect all my other financial commitments.
Many people around the world work their fingers to the bone in order to achieve material possessions that they can’t even take everywhere with them. They save all their money to secure their future and the future of their families. Stability isn’t such a bad thing. It’s a choice of lifestyle.
If we get to choose how we want to live our life, we can definitely choose whether or not we want to travel and experience new things. Live in the Now, and enjoy what the world has to offer. Because for some people, they don’t even have the chance to choose the lifestyle they want. But for us who can, what’s holding us back?
Go to the beach. Drive across country. Go on family vacations. Or you can even venture alone in the woods if you like.
People who don’t see the point of travelling think it’s just a waste of time and money because they don’t see any monetary returns to their investment. It’s not like travelling is going to double or triple their wealth, or feed them for the next 20 years. What you won’t lose from your trips are your travel memories and experiences. Unless you’re suffering from memory disorders, you’ll remember them for the rest of your life.
It’s good that everyone wants to work hard for a better life. We all have responsibilities after all. But amid the hectic work schedule and everyday routines, it’s important for us to not forget how to have fun. We also shouldn’t lose touch with the world, and ourselves.
Enjoying every minute of your life now doesn’t mean you should be mindlessly spending all your time and money on travelling. Whatever we do, it’s always important to use our resources (such as time and money) wisely. We mustn’t forget the importance of having balance in our lives.
Wealth isn’t merely about career success, money and happiness. Our knowledge and life lessons in the ‘School of Life’ defines our wealth, too.
For those who can afford to travel luxuriously, they don’t view travelling as a waste of time and money simply because they can afford it. It’s something they don’t mind spending money on. And for many people, travelling with the people they care about (such as friends and family) is a great way of sharing happiness.
At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves why we travel and whether (or why) it’s important to us.
Travelling is dangerous.
There are many people around us who are afraid to travel. Maybe they watch too much of Fox News. Scared of kidnappings and terrorist attacks? Those things could 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: Your country exists somewhere in the world. Your home exists somewhere in the world, too. 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 travelling 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.
Travelling isn’t for ambitious people.
I won’t deny that it takes a lot of discipline to be in the office doing a 9 to 5 job. Sometimes you 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 choose to go through all 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 career and other life goals, too. With the rising of today’s 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 conventional workplaces? They travel and work wherever, and whenever they want. Is that something you’d love to do, too? To be successful at it, you need to be highly disciplined. I can tell you that it’s not easy.
Who says your career has to stop when you travel? Travellers need to survive, too, just as much as everyone else does. From doing freelance, part-time and full-time jobs abroad, you can find many of them working hard not only to put food on the table, but also to fund their travels. And many of the ones I’ve met are busy building their own business.
When you travel, you may just realise that the world is full of opportunities. If you don’t find one where you are right now, you might find it somewhere else.
People who think travelling 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 your time and money on.
Sure, you can teach yourself many things even without having to travel. But everything you do gives you a different lesson. Travel also has its own perks.
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 isn’t as bad as the media has made it appear to be.
“Tourists” learn new things from their travels, too.
Tourists are what some avid travellers consider as seasonal travellers. In their dictionary, tourists are people who usually spend lesser time exploring a country than the amount of time spent on photographing their surroundings while sightseeing. Whatever it is, these tourists are doing the basic thing that all travellers do: they travel!
Okay, 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).
Although it’s hard for me understand how some people can actually consider a 10-day Euro-trip as ‘travelling’, they’re technically travelling. 10 days or less, at least these people are curious about the world outside of their own world.
And if you think these tourists don’t learn anything from their travels, you’re wrong. 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!
Travelling 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 very hard in order to get them. If you really want to travel, you’ll find ways to make it happen, just as how you’ll try to get all of these material items.
Many long-term travellers I 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 tried minimising 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 always make time to see the world.
Whether you’ve fully quit your job to travel or otherwise, when you travel, you’ll feel liberty in many ways.
Travelling 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 isn’t an issue if you really want to travel. Some of the people I met on the road 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 you call survival.
What do you think? Is travel a waste of time and money? If you agree that travelling isn’t a waste of time and money, kindly share this article and help me inspire others to explore the world, too.