One day, while I was having a quick noontime break with my colleagues in the work place, one of them said to me, “You know you must be freaking rich or your salary must be big…you’re always going somewhere eh…” I didn’t know if I should get offended or not. But in my mind, I wanted to correct his misconception.
First and foremost, I am not rich nor do I have a trust fund stowed somewhere funding my travels. Second, (and unfortunately) I really don’t earn much from my work as a manager (enough but not too much, I guess) and third, yes I am always going somewhere.
I really don’t get it. Might be in a conversation somewhere and someone will quip why I always choose to travel when travel is very expensive. And when I am lucky, some wise-ass will remind me that “at the times like these, maybe I should save instead of spending hard-earned money on a trip.”
I couldn’t blame them. Life is hard, and today’s economic climate does not make it easier.
But then, I see them splurging money on night outs an shopping trips and then I ask myself, aren’t we any different at all?
I agree that one must save for the future. For that, there should be a savings account or insurance or pension which you know will accumulate benefits for you when the time comes. I also agree that there the basic necessities should be prioritized.
But, what if one of these basic necessities is the need to explore and see the world?
For me, I travel because the world is too big, too vast, too pretty and diverse — that choosing not to see it is an abomination. I travel because I believe, that there’s just so much out there that I needed to see it.
I always say that traveling has and will always be my escape from the realities of corporate rat race. I have never felt more alive whenever an out-of-town, or an overseas trip is looming in the horizon. The intricacies of preparing a trip, the stress of bringing things together, of planning and haggling and trying to raise money.
Allow me to be honest, I am just a lucky girl who always manages to make things fall into place. A cheap flight and an equally cheaper lodging. A few bucks into my pocket budgeted for four days. Eating in holes-in-the-walls and discovering delicious yet sinfully cheap street foods. Hearing a cacophony of languages you don’t understand. Navigating the local train station and learning the ropes. Eating something you never thought you would. Learning a way of life that is vastly different from yours. What can be better than that?
I agree, I really should devote more energy and money in making my savings account healthy. In fact, I have decided to assign two accounts — one for travel and the other one for the rainy days. Figured out that the two should never overlap or intertwine at all.
When people tell me that traveling is expensive, I just shrug. Yes, it is expensive if you will insist on regular, last-minute rates, stay on five-star hotels and insist on taking the cab everytime. Yes, it is expensive when you prefer fine dining and shopping for things that can be readily available when you get back to your hometime.
Maybe indeed, it is expensive. But we all know that education nowadays doesn’t come cheap.
Leaving with a quote from one my favorite writers:
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
(from “WHY WE TRAVEL”, PICO IYER)