You think this is going to be an article on “not making travel a priority” ? HAHAHA please sit down for geography 101.
Since I have started my endeavor in the travel blogging world, I have started following so many amazing people who also write and document their adventures. I won’t lie, occasionally, I see their blogs and I get a little bummed.
These people have things like “currently visited 33 countries” in their instagram bio. PARDON? And their pictures are nothing but Medieval bridges, and ancient cities beside crystal water, and a bunch of other things out of a fairy tale.
I usually read this and just think, HOW? Then…
This is where comparison would set in, and sure, we may call it comparison.. but let's be real. It’s probably just jealously.
I still haven't been to France, or anywhere in Europe for that matter. But I plan imaginary trips there in my head, at least every other day.
Is it that I haven't been because I am not “making it a priority” or because I am spending my money on stupid material things, or because I spend $8 on fancy coffees?
For some the question isn’t as much about personal spending choices as it is about having bills that won't allow for that kind of travel- be it student loans or a mortgage.
Here is the deal, flights to Europe usually costs around $700 from the east coast (and that is an AFFORDABLE flight) most are more like $1200. It takes 8 hours to fly there, so probably that’s two additional travel days, then even more PTO days for your time exploring the continent and adjusting to the new time zone. Of course I think this is more than possible for travelers, and people do it all the time, but most people in America don't have the vacation days, money or energy to travel abroad like this more than a couple times a year.. at most.
Once you get to Europe, you have countries upon countries at your fingertips to visit. But not everyone is flying to Europe all the time… brace yourself… SOME PEOPLE LIVE THERE.
See, in America, you can drive for 3 days straight and still be in America. That is because America is the 3rd largest country in the world. You go north, and you can visit the second largest country, aka Canada. You go south, and you're in Mexico.. which is still a pretty big country.
SO HERE IS WHERE I AM GOING WITH THIS, if my analytics for this blog are correct, 99% of my readers are from the US and a large majority are from the Southeast.
Guess what, the drive from East Tennessee to Charleston, is 5-ish hours. You know what else is a 5 hour drive? The drive from Zurich, Switzerland to Salzburg Austria. Oh, and you pass through Lichtenstein and Germany. I’m sure that is a much better drive than the tree- lined interstate in South Carolina.
Here is another example, let’s say you were flying to Miami for a long weekend. With a good deal, you could easily swing that for $300.I just went on google flights and found a trip from London to Dubai for $378.
It takes me 3 hours to drive to Charlotte, but if I lived in London, I could take a train for 2 hours in end up in Paris. Flights from one country to another in Europe rarely exceed $150 round trip, even for flights from Dublin to Istanbul. I am doing good if I can find a $150 flight to Florida.
I live in America, and most likely, you do too. I guess if seeing a lot of countries meant that much to me, I could move to Europe, or spend all my vacation days and break the bank trying to spend a few day in a different country and moving on to the next one. Don't get me wrong, I plan on doing the latter someday (hopefully sooner than later) but I doubt it will ever be a yearly or bi-yearly occurrence.
There are people that live in Europe, and they visit the south of France the way we visit Palm Beach. The countries are smaller, and so they have been to more of them. And in my opinion, this is one of the main reasons a lot of people in the US and North America, haven't seen as many countries as compared to other parts of the world. It isn't because we are uncultured or don't care, it's because we are isolated and most people don't get 6 paid weeks of vacations like many Europeans do.
I am not saying one continent is better or worse, but I am saying one has big countries and the other has small countries. #GEOGRAPHY
So if you were wondering, this might be why you haven't been to 33 countries, but don't let that bum you out.
There are parts of China that are 1,600 miles from the nearest ocean. I bet many of you have seen the waves break while sitting on the shore, just as they might have seen temples and mountains that you never will. There is an island called Tristan Da Cuhna in the Pacific that is 1300 miles from the nearest other land.. Although remote, they experience a beautiful place that many people will never see.
We can't choose where we are born or what circumstances we were born in, and we shouldn’t choose where we live based on how we will spend our holidays. Just because you haven't been to as many countries as some blogger on Instagram doesn't mean you aren't a traveler or that your won't someday. It might just take a little more planning and ingenuity and time… and quite a bit more money. But believe in yourself that you will, and its okay that you haven't yet.
Oh, and the next time you are driving an hour and a half somewhere, remember that is the distance from Prague to Dresden, but you’re still going somewhere… just probably just not somewhere as cool as Prague.
Sorry, guys, not everything is inspirational, some things are just true. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯