Take a Step Back: Things All Travelers Should Be Thankful For
Thank Goodness for Travel!
Traveling the world is possibly one of the greatest hobbies ever. The privilege of traveling is unparalleled — to be able to seek out the destinations of your dreams and experience so many beautiful places.
A lot of people talk about why you ‘should’ travel. You’ve probably scrolled past articles in your Facebook newsfeed talking about how travel makes you a better person, and encouraging everyone to quit their job and travel the world.
And while it is true that travel is an enlightening path to take, offering new perspectives and opportunities for growth, it is important to remember that not everyone can travel. Whether for personal, financial, or circumstantial reasons, travel is out of reach for the vast majority of people.
So next time you’re bemoaning, “I wish I traveled more,” call to mind all of the things you have to be grateful for as someone who has experienced travel, even if it’s not as often as you’d like. Here are some reminders of what we have to be thankful for as travelers.
Yep, it’s the gasoline in the tank of travel, and no trip would be possible without it. While money is not the be all and end all of life, being grateful for money is never a bad thing.
Travelers should remember to be thankful to be lucky enough to be able to afford travel. Sure, you might have worked hard to pay off your student debt. And sure, some people use finances as a reason they can’t travel when they could save up if they wanted to badly enough.
But if you are born into a developing country with a weak currency, your chances of ever making enough money to leave the country are slim to none. No amount of budget tips or cost cutting will enable a person to travel when they have to worry about just making sure their family is fed each day.
In contrast, if your home country has a stable economy and a strong currency, your external purchasing power effectively gives you a huge jumpstart, meaning you can travel further and longer all around the world.
Poverty is a huge issue facing billions of people: if you are wealthy enough to have a roof over your head, food on your table, and enough money left over to travel, you are among a very privileged few.
It’s the most important book a traveler will ever own, but most people never think twice about the power it has (or may not have).
Travelers should be thankful for their passport, if they are lucky enough to have one of the good ones. Some people can’t travel, or are extremely limited by where they can travel, because of their nationality.
North American and European passports will open doors almost everywhere without the need for a visa, but passports from other parts of the world are less of a key and more a lock.
If you come from Israel, you can forget about ever going to Malaysia. If you are from South Africa you can only enter 91 countries visa-free.
Chinese nationals can only enter 56 countries visa-free. The weakest passport of all is that of Afghanistan: holders of an Afghanistan passport can only enter 24 countries visa-free.
In comparison, holders of a passport from Germany can enter 158 countries visa-free, while U.S. passport holders can enter 160 countries with no visa needed.
So, if you are lucky enough to be able to globe trot without the hassle of applying for visas, be thankful for not having to shoulder the burden of paperwork.
Being physically capable of traveling is another thing that a lot of travelers can forget about. It’s easy to take health and mobility for granted when you are able-bodied.
Travelers shouldn’t forget to spare some gratitude for their health and two good feet that carry them around the world.
However there are a huge number of people who will never have the freedom to travel whenever and wherever they want because of physical limitations. For some people, getting on a bus can be near impossible, let alone an airplane.
And if you get that far, even the most modern cities can be a challenge to navigate if you have reduced mobility, so you can forget all about trying to get around Southeast Asia.
Being Able to Go Home
As well as being thankful for leaving home to travel, travelers should be thankful for being able to go home to a comfortable, modern life at the end of their trip.
Telling locals they are lucky to live in a beautiful location is kind of missing the point, when those people might be trapped there by socio-economic or political circumstances.
In Cuba for example, thousands of visitors flock to see dilapidated buildings and vintage cars. But what seems quaint and adorable to an outsider is the result of a long, hard social struggle.
What is a novelty experience to you is a daily reality for locals: Cubans don’t have the luxury of going home to internet and all the other trappings of modernity.
This applies to many places around the world. Never forget to be thankful for your freedom and opportunity.
Travelers should also remember to be grateful for the technology that makes travel so much smoother. Firstly for being able to access and afford it, and secondly for what it does for their #travellife.
Although some die hard travelers will argue that technology has taken the real adventure out of travel, it has certainly made life on the road a lot easier.
Almost every traveler is equipped with a smartphone these days, with access to maps and apps that making getting around, and getting information and deals easier than ever. The days of paperback guidebooks are almost gone, replaced by this rise in technology.
Travel is more accessible than ever before, which deserves a good helping of thanks.
So if you are one of the privileged ones that has the opportunity to travel, to get out and see the world, to learn, to collect unforgettable experiences: do it. Enjoy every step of the journey, never forget how lucky you are to be there, and be thankful for the opportunity to have such incredible experiences.