I’m at that age where at any given time, half of my timeline is either on their honeymoon, studying abroad for undergrad, teaching english overseas, raging in Mexico, or just… I don’t know, dropping their regular grind to go chill on an island or something? And honestly, it’s wonderful! I truly love to see your wedding pictures and the beautiful places you visit. I love seeing people doing service or just laying on a beach somewhere looking dang good. That’s why I follow a ton of travel bloggers that seem to never stay in one place long. I love it and I’m happy for them, but I can’t help but envy their lives. I can’t help but feel like those lives are so far from how my life could possibly look. It’s enough to make you bitter, at times. This is normal when you’re flipping through at your desk that is mounded with work. I make sure that this envy is never enough to where I’m not glad they’re doing what they’re doing. These blogs and accounts take you places you may never have seen. They bring publicity to places less traveled and surely help stimulate the economies of the places they visit. Influencing is changing the accessibility of the world. And, duh, they help you imagine the places you could go! And isn’t that important?
Lately, I’ve heard a lot of negative talk toward these types of people. There are arguments that this influence is made to make regular people feel bad about themselves for having to live a normal life. That these people are so out-of-touch with the real world that we can’t even relate to them. And maybe that can be true, but it can also be hurtful. So here’s the thing: It is a privilege to travel. Viewers need to accept this. Travelers need to accept this. It’s not a judgment, it’s a fact. Even if you worked your butt off and paid for it yourself, even if it is a privilege you’ve earned, you still have to recognize all the forces that had to work with you to make these things happen. You have to have the funds not just to travel, but to pay your bills without working for the time traveled. You have to have responsibilities that can live without you for the duration of the trip. You have to have a job that will allow you to take time off. I think it’s important to recognize this, and for “normal people” like me to remind myself of occasionally.
Yes, many of the people traveling probably don’t have the types of responsibilities that would hinder that lifestyle. Many of them are probably supported by some outside force (parents, paid time off, etc.) But I’d be willing to bet that most of them had to hustle really hard to earn that privilege. That’s why it’s those who are in awe of their own good fortune, and especially those who share the realities of their trips and advice for regular people who want to travel too, that I really support with all my heart and hope they have a million more adventures that I can witness.
So anyway, it got me thinking. A year ago in my life, it was a privilege to earn even one weekend night off. It wasn’t until early 2017 that I started to have 2 days off in a row and this was like A HUGE FLIPPIN DEAL, GUYS. I worked my butt off for that. Wednesdays and Thursdays were MY DAYS. I felt like a gosh dang queen. I felt similarly when I finished undergrad the year prior. And now with my new job, I get to work from home AND have weekends off?! Too good to be true.
I could still technically grumble about how working a 9-5 keeps me from exploring the world, or how I work my butt off but still can’t afford spontaneous trips to Europe. Or (better idea), I could be stoked at the privilege I have now to work from home with my cat and the weekends I can spend doing homework with my boo thang and occasionally getting out of the house. I can be so thankful for the trips I was actually able to take in 2017 after years without anything that dimly resembled a vacation.
So here’s my revelation. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, there is someone out there who hasn’t been there and done that. I live in Las Vegas, for crying out loud. I moved here from one of those 45-minutes-from-LA towns. My life is a tourist trap and all this time, I’ve been missing it. Here’s the thing: we’re after the life of those bloggers because they’re after their own lives. If they weren’t living so totally in awe, cramming in every spare memory they can find to soak up the beautiful place around them, their lives wouldn’t seem quite so worth sharing. I would like to argue that you can live with that kind of what-did-I-do-to-deserve-this-life wonder from anywhere. You just gotta look for it and capture it and pretend you look like Amber Fillerup as you do it.
So here’s to all the adventures you can possibly find and all the stories I’m about to tell that won’t be nearly as interesting as if you’d actually been there. The thing about stories is they’re worth telling.