Am I a Lame Traveler? (Or Why You Should Never Let Anyone Tell You Where You Should or Shouldn’t Travel)

Don't let anybody tell you where you should or shouldn't travel.
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Travelers (and travel bloggers), I've learned, can be a pretty judge-y bunch sometimes.

Think about it.

When you meet a new traveler on the road, what are some of the first things you talk about? Where you've been. Where you're going. Maybe how many countries you've visited.

And sometimes these conversations can turn into a pissing match. “Oh, you backpacked solo through Myanmar? Well I lived for a month in a ger with the locals in Mongolia.”

This impulse to one-up fellow travelers is just natural for some of us. Of course we want to talk about our own adventures — especially if they were really epic. And especially since friends and family back home often just don't get it.

But sometimes travelers take this one-upmanship too far.

Traveler questions

Not long ago, I had someone tell me that I travel too “safe.” In fact, I've heard this more than once. People ask why I haven't been to Africa yet; why South America isn't filled in on my Destinations map. I even had a reader ask why I've used partnerships with travel companies like Intrepid Travel to go to “easy” places like Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Why wasn't I going to more adventurous destinations?

On the one hand, I get this mentality. Yes, there are certain parts of the world that are “easier” to travel to than others, and it probably would make sense for me to use partnerships to get to some of those off-the-beaten-path destinations.

But you know what? Maybe I don't WANT to go to those places.

Scotland

Me in Scotland – are you judging me?

I've only been traveling seriously for a few years. And, instead of planning my travels around the craziest destinations I can get to, my travel decisions are made simply based on where I really want to go the most.

I went to Eastern Europe because it was the number one region of the world I wanted to visit. I went to the Greek Islands on a tour because the opportunity arose and I really wanted to spend some time there. Could I have traveled around the Greek Islands on my own, or tackled Hungary solo? Sure. Absolutely. But if I want to travel with a group and have a good guide, why should I be judged for that?

I look at other bloggers sometimes and know I could never undertake the adventures that they have. I could never travel solo across Russia. I could never live in India. I could never teach English in China.

Actually, the “I could never” isn't entirely true. Sure, I *could* do those things. But I know, after learning about my travel style over the past couple of years, that I wouldn't *enjoy* those types of travel experiences.

Alaskan cruise

I CAN, however, happily lounge here for a while.

And here's the thing; here's the main message of this post: you shouldn't let ANYbody tell you where you should be traveling.

If you're like most Americans, you probably have 2-3 weeks of paid vacation time a year. If you want to go on a cruise or spend a week in Paris or go visit the Grand Canyon, then you should do it. It doesn't matter how “mainstream” or “touristy” a destination or experience is — if it's what YOU want to do, then you should do it.

Don't let anybody tell you where you should or shouldn't travel.

Does the fact that I've never driven a scooter the length of Africa or hitchhiked across America make me a lame traveler? Am I LESS of a traveler because I go on guided tours or enjoy returning to destinations that others consider “easy”?

I definitely don't think so. I'm true to myself in my travels. I go where I want, when I want, how I want.

And I think, in many cases, my travel style mirrors the styles that a lot of YOU, my readers, have.

Do I WANT to go on a safari in Africa, enter the Mongol Rally, or travel overland through Central America? YES, I would love to do those things. Someday. It's just that there are so many other destinations and experiences on my to-do list that I want to do just a little bit more.

I want to see the fjords in Norway, pretend I'm a hobbit again in New Zealand, road trip down the West Coast of the US, and introduce my mom to the UK.

And, as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with that.

——

What do you think? Do you let others influence your travels?

 

137 Comments

  • Jo says:

    I think people are just assholes sometimes. I hear a lot about how all travellers are the most laid-back non-judgemental unprejudiced people going, and it’s just so not true! Some travellers are judgemental snobs, just like some people in every walk of life are.

    I also find a lot of people get carried away when travelling, and get more ‘confident’ (cocky?) about visiting so-called dangerous places once they’ve had a taste of somewhere outside Europe/the US/Australia. So if they were already an asshole anyway, I can see how that developing confidence could make them look down on people who ‘play it safe’.

    If you’re seeing what you want to see and you’re having fun doing it, you’re ahead of most people. Especially those who are travelling solely for a passport stamp from a ‘shocking’ destination rather than from any personal interest in a place. You do you.
    Jo recently posted..Tale of a big fish and a small town – Guatape, Colombia

  • Amber says:

    I hope to meet you one day, we have the same traveling style! As a newer blogger, sometimes I feel that I’m not doing things right because some bloggers are very vocal on what they consider a “traveler” vs a “tourist”. I’m glad you’re being true to you, and I love reading about your travels 🙂
    Amber recently posted..Times Square

  • Yesssss! I couldn’t have said it better myself, Amanda! Travel shouldn’t be a competition between other travelers to see who has the most passport stamps. So silly. Who cares where you travel or how you travel.. just travel! It’s life changing 🙂
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..The View from The Shard: Dancing over London!

    • Amanda says:

      Agreed! I mean, I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep track of how many countries you’ve been to, and would never look down at people who have “30 before 30” goals or anything like that – that’s completely natural for frequent travelers, I think. But just because you keep track for yourself doesn’t mean it should be a competition! And I would NEVER judge someone in regards to where they have or haven’t traveled!

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve met some amazing people while traveling; I’ve also met people I wouldn’t cross the road to spit on if they were on fire. The latter are the people who say something like “oh you haven’t been to X…you HAVE to go there.’ even if I have no interest in it. They are the people who I try at all costs to avoid. I go to places that interest me– so what if other travelers don’t find it ‘cool enough’. Do what you want and to hell with everyone else.
    Michelle recently posted..Hadrian’s Wall

    • Amanda says:

      I could not have said it better, Michelle! I feel the same way. If I want to keep going back to New Zealand and London, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!

  • Leigh Anne says:

    I love this, Amanda! I want to go everywhere in the world, but for now I just keep finding myself around North America and Western Europe. I spent last weekend in Toronto and people cried, “but it’s just like the U.S.!” But it’s not! It’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit and it lived up to my high expectations. And I got to spend the trip catching up with friends, which was what mattered most to me this time. Don’t let people make you feel bad about your choices – I personally love reading about your adventures!

    • Amanda says:

      And there’s nothing wrong with sticking around North America and Western Europe! There are so many amazing things to see in both regions. And, let’s be honest – different people can have completely different experiences!

  • I don’t think anyone should tell you where to go and how to travel! I would love to see some of the places you have been to, particularly some places in Eastern Europe! Who cares how you chose to see them. Sure, challenging yourself to do the things you may think you couldn’t do is a part of the experience, but being true to yourself in your travels is what matters the most! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! I agree, if you know you are not going to enjoy going somewhere, then there is no point in doing it just to tick the box of an “adventurous traveler”.
    Oksana from Drink Tea & Travel recently posted..Why You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job to Travel

    • Amanda says:

      Yup. I mean, there are plenty of places that are on my “someday” list, and some of those are slightly more adventurous. But I’m in no rush! And I’ll never sacrifice my travel style for a passport stamp.

  • So very true. It should be as simple as going to the places that you want to go to. My favourite corners of the world are New Zealand, Europe and North America and too bad if people think it’s ‘easy’ – those are the regions that I love the most.
    Katie @ The World on my Necklace recently posted..Sampling the wares in the Hunter Valley and a quick peek at Nelson Bay

  • Love Love Love this post! It is so heartening to see a traveler and a travel blogger strongly support travelling the way YOU want to instead of what “they” say it should be. SO IMPORTANT to remember. Again, love it!

    Also, I want to live as a hobbit in New Zealand…as well as an elf, dwarf, ent…;P On the bucket list! Can’t wait to read about your adventure this time around there.
    Veronica Greenly recently posted..My Moments

    • Amanda says:

      I love telling my travel stories, but I would never try to tell someone how they should travel. I’ve traveled in many ways – some very traditional and some a little less – and I know there are merits to all of them!

  • Damn right sista! What should it matter what other people think is “real travel” or whatever else. Do what makes your heart sing I say – leave the others be with their d*ck measuring contests.
    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel recently posted..Nine Ways to Act Like a Local in Tokyo

  • Patti says:

    Well said! So many times I read – don’t go there, it’s so touristy. Well, guess what? I am a tourist. The way I look at it if I’m anywhere other than home, I’m a tourist. Of course if I’m in a foreign country I stand out more because I don’t speak the language or I look lost (I try hard not to). If I’m in the U.S. I’m on my home turf and can move much more freely. But if you think I’m going to miss out on seeing Mt. Rushmore or the Eiffel Tower because those places are seen (by some) as touristy, well too bad, I’m going and I’m going to have a great time. And maybe my readers are going to enjoy reading about those places that they’ve never been to.
    Patti recently posted..No Looking Back ~

    • Richelle says:

      Hahaha awesome Patti. You go girl! Sometimes the touristy places are popular for a reason.
      Richelle recently posted..Why you should consider grad school abroad

    • Amanda says:

      Great attitude! And I completely agree – I never skip any of the sites, “touristy” as they may be. To be honest, the average person reading my blog would probably think I was crazy if I went to Paris and didn’t take photos of the Eiffel Tower or went to Rome without seeing the Colosseum.

    • Julie says:

      Ooops. It looks like my post above went into the wrong thread. Never mind!

      Patti – well said. Who cares if somewhere is “touristy”. What that says to me is that there is something to see!! If lots of people are going there, well then , it must be somewhere good!!!

      I have a group of friends who think Waikiki is the worst place to go because it is so “touristy”. But, guess what? I love that place! I love the buzz of the people who are so excited to be there because it is Hawaii/ Waikiki. I love sitting on the beach just looking at that gorgeous ocean. (I’m not really a beach person, but I do LOVE being near the ocean). I love sitting on the terrace of the Moana Surfrider hotel (can’t afford to stay there, though!) having a delicious cocktail watching the sun go down over the sea. Who cares if it is “touristy”! It’s heaven!

      Go wherever it is that makes your heart sing! And if that happens to be “touristy”, then fantastic!

      • Amanda says:

        I’ll throw in my 2 cents and agree that the “touristy” spots are usually popular for good reason. I agree on Waikiki – I LOVE watching the sun set there!

  • Katie Aune says:

    Totally agree! Even though I like to travel to “weird” places I still get a hard time from people about the places I haven’t been. When I was struggling on my tour around the former USSR, SO many people told me I should ditch it and head to lie on the beach in SE Asia. Never mind that I am not a beach person at all and have very little interest in SE Asia.

    And really, not to date myself, but when I was your age I did mostly group tours and only traveled solo to “safe” places where a lot of English was spoken like Norway and Australia. It wasn’t until my 30s that I got more adventurous.
    Katie Aune recently posted..The French Lessons Begin

    • Amanda says:

      I love reading your stories of going to those “weird” places, Katie. I don’t necessarily always have dreams of following in your footsteps, but I can appreciate that those are the places that call to you the most and I respect that.

      Who knows, maybe 10 years from now I’ll be jetting off to somewhere exotic. But if not, I’ll be fine with that too. 🙂

  • Well said! I’ve actually started writing a very similar post so you’ve taken the words out of my mouth. I’m particularly amused by travellers who seem to think they have a one-up on you if they’ve stayed in the cheapest possible places they can find. While I obviously like to seek out well-priced accommodation, I refuse to compromise on certain things (such as cleanliness!) for the sake of a cheap hostel room. Does that make me less of a backpacker? Maybe, but I don’t really care 🙂
    Andrea Anastasiou recently posted..24 Hours in Nha Trang – Bai Dai Beach, Long Son Pagoda and Long Thanh Art Photography Studio

    • Amanda says:

      I’m totally with you on that – when I was in Thailand, I found myself booking mid-range hotels instead of cheap hostels. People told me I was crazy for spending $60 a night on a nice hotel room, or $130 a night at a beach hotel. But you know what? As far as I was concerned, those were great value-for-money prices – and I could afford it.

      I have no desire to sleep on a mat on a floor in a hostel dorm room just so I can say I paid as little money as possible. That’s not my style!

      • Julie says:

        I am SO with you, there, Amanda. Those days are loooooong gone. Give me a comfortable, clean room and I am happy to pay a fair price for it. My “hostel” days are over.

        Having said that, I loved the time I spent doing the “hostel” thing. But, I was significantly younger than I am now, and at a different phase in my life, so it was the right thing for me to do at that time. Now, I am in a different space, and want to have more comfort and safety when I travel. There is nothing wrong with that at all!

        I applaud those who are doing the “off the beaten track stuff” (and sometimes giggle a bit inside thinking, “geez, I did that stuff 30 years ago before you were even born …” when they are bragging about the things they are doing as though they are the first ones to have discovered a particular place, or done something spectacular) and am happy that it is now more “mainstream” to do the “hippy trail”. When I did it, everyone thought I was completely bonkers going off to a “strange country” on my own. They thought I’d completely lost my marbles! It wasn’t such the “done thing” back then. So, I’m happy for those who are doing the backpacking thing. Travel is wonderful. But, traveling your OWN way is the most wonderful!

  • Renuka says:

    Great post! No, I never let anyone influence my travels. I do exactly what I want to do. I know there are people who have been to the highest mountains or to a remote desert, they want you to do the same. But I guess, I travel as much as possible for me financially and physically. I travel to places that intrigue me personally.
    Renuka recently posted..How Did I Spend This Summer?

  • Suzanne says:

    You sound just like me and it is a good place to be. I think all things are relative. I get comments in the playground that we are so adventurous, but I then look at other blogs and feel very sedate and basic. I like organised group trips; as a single mum wanting to show my boys a bit of the world it is easier and safer to have the security of a pre-arranged guide and hotel. Even on a trip to Italy as a group, we had a totally different experience in the tourist trap of Amalfi to everyone else as I didn’t chose to sit in the coffee shop for the day, but explored the side streets and had an amazing day! Do what you want, it’s your life and adventure!
    Suzanne recently posted..Land’s End or John o’ Groats – the jury is still out

    • Amanda says:

      I think a lot of travelers have a skewed view of group travel. The truth is, though (as it seems like you’ve discovered), even a trip with a group can be unique – it’s exactly what you make it.

  • Richelle says:

    This is such a great post. I’ve found sometimes it’s hard not to judge others for having a different travel style than you, but it’s a horrible thing to do, and you should never make someone else feel bad for being less “adventurous” than you. In college I studied abroad in China, and I used to find myself judging people who studied abroad in England and spent the entire time getting drunk and hanging out with other foreigners. But you know what? It’s not my place to judge. At least they have a passport, which many Americans don’t even have. We should be promoting travel and cross-cultural experiences as a whole, rather than judging others and putting people down.
    Richelle recently posted..A Quick Guide to Mandarin Chinese

    • Lucinda says:

      I love this comment – I think I’m the same. I judge sometimes in my head (usually for things like you have said – spending your travelling time drinking, not even trying to see a place just spending the entire time in a resort, etc) but I am trying really, really hard not to.

      However, I am worried sometimes that genuinely supportive comments I make may seem judgemental. Like if someone is going to the Grand Canon, and I make a suggestion that they also try Bryce Canyon and Zion if they get a chance because I loved them. Or if you tell me you’ve been somewhere, and I say I’ve been there too – I’m not trying to one-up you, I’m just making conversation. I’m not sure, maybe I communicate well but reading posts like this I worry that maybe I come off a bit judgey sometimes, even when I don’t mean to.

      • Amanda says:

        If you’re not meaning to, then chances are you aren’t coming off that way, Lucinda. 🙂

        I, too, sometimes have to remind myself not to judge too much – but when I see young travelers drinking their way through Europe, never actually SEEING any of it… well, it’s tough not to judge a tiny bit.

    • Amanda says:

      Amen! I could not have said it better myself!

  • Naomi says:

    This travel prejudice is probably the thing that enfuriates me the most about travel. I particularly hate the traveller/tourist distinction because you know what THEY ARE BASICALLY THE SAME. What’s the problem with travel being ‘safe’? Why would I want to knowingly put myself in danger? Why would I pay extra money for something I know I probably wouldn’t enjoy? I totally admire people who do the whole crazy go-off-the-beaten track (sorry for the cliché) thing but I also admire those who have their own travelling style too. Travel is for everyone, not just some elitist travellers.
    Naomi recently posted..Dear Fresher

  • kami says:

    Amen to that! I sometimes feel for some (many!) people traveling is like a competitions – who has seen more off the beaten path places, done extreme things, had crazy adventures. Well I don’t want to be a part of that contest, thank you very much. It doesn’t make you a lame person if you travel how you want to and where you want to, I think it makes you more real! What works for others doesn’t have to work for you and your happiness! People should finally understand that! ( just talking about this makes me slightly angry;))
    kami recently posted..10 epic moments of my trip to Middle East

    • Amanda says:

      Haha, don’t get angry, Kami! I have had some amazing adventures, but I didn’t necessarily have to go to crazy places to have them – I wish more people could realize that!

  • As long as you are traveling and are excited about that destination that’s all that matters, even if it’s in your own backyard on a weekend getaway.

    What annoys me is when other travelers or bloggers brag about how they “lived in Koh Lanta” or “lived on blah blah island” when all they really did was lay around on said island or partied there for 4 weeks!
    Craig Makepeace recently posted..Texas Longhorns in Australia – who knew?

  • Brendan says:

    Nice post Amanda. I’m a firm believer that you should travel for your own reasons to the places that you want to see. If you’re travelling for anyone else, you’re doing it wrong. I think I’m a bit of an example of doing my own thing, and probably on the extreme travel side of things. I visit these places because it’s what excites me. If “easier” destinations excite you, then that’s where you should be. And yeah, the one-upmanship of travel is lame. But you see that everywhere, even just a hostel.
    There is a keeping up with the Joneses aspect to travel, and the moment you catch yourself travelling for bragging rights, then it’s time to quit.
    Keep doing your thing! You do it well.
    Brendan recently posted..The Best Tripod for Travel? Reviewing the 3 Legged Thing Brian

  • Emily says:

    Well said! I leave for my first solo adventure next week and I can’t wait to find out what my own travel style and preference is. And I will do my very best to stay true to what I enjoy and not judge others for what they enjoy. We are all different so we all experience life and travel differently – just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s better or worse. The uniqueness of the travel community is what makes it amazing!
    Emily recently posted..Chinese visas – More complicated than necessary

  • Ryan says:

    Not a huge fan of this mentality either, Amanda. Frankly, I believe it’s a maturity thing: I don’t think you’re going to find many truly seasoned travellers doing this, rather those who discovered it a few years back and still haven’t shook off those initial pretensions of being a “cultured world citizen.” What I think is funny is that these same people who talk all this crap about getting “off-the-beaten-path” (a phrase I’ve truly come to despise) or “travelling like a local” are usually the same ones who are always pictured in these less “safe” destinations drinking and partying hard with other foreigners. I’m speculating that feeling the need to belittle other travellers for choosing to visit (might I say, awesome!) places like Eastern Europe or New Zealand points rather to some deep-seated emotional void rather than an legitimate argument against one’s travel style being somehow less hardcore or fulfilling. Glad you wrote this, Amanda; it’s something that really needs to be said more often 🙂
    Ryan recently posted..4 Lifestyle Design and Travel Myths Busted

  • This is definitely not lame travel, it’s Original travel! I don’t even keep a bucket or a country list, and if I love a city/country, I will keep going back. Every experience is different. I don’t like travelling with people who are ‘country tickers’ – or think that one of their assets is being in XX number of countries – that doesn’t really prove anything. it takes the joy out of travelling when travellers add a competitive angle to it and try to out-travel one another.
    Jean | Holy Smithereens recently posted..Flight Review: Singapore Airlines Sydney to Singapore Boeing 777-300A Economy Class

    • Amanda says:

      I agree, Jean! I mean, I DO have a bucket list and I do know the rough number of countries I’ve visited – but I never feel the urge to “compete” with other travelers! That’s just silly.

  • Katrina says:

    GREAT post! Sadly, there is rarely a happy medium when it comes to travel conversations: either they aren’t travelers themselves and don’t understand why I’d “waste” my money on trips instead of buying a house, or they are hard-core travelers who have done ‘shrooms with medicine men in Africa and wrestled venomous snakes in Asia so my travels are just SOOO blase in comparison. But like you said, it’s MY life, MY money, MY precious vacation time, so if I want to do the “mainstream” travel sites, then why should anyone else care?!
    Katrina recently posted..Kilmarnock, Virginia – A Photo Essay

  • You are not a lame traveler! I absolutely agree you should go where you’re heard desires. I just saw The Blonde Abroad post a pic of harry potter and say “feeling like a tourist, but loving it” and it’s so true, I’d love that too & only lame-asses would judge that!

    Also, thanks for linking my blog- Your’e right, you COULD live in India or do any of that , but if you’re not called to you won’t enjoy it!
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..All time best Restaurants in Delhi from a Local Foodie

  • Nita says:

    Love it!! I totally agree with you. No two people are the same and what they want will never be exactly identical either. Same applies to travel. There’s no right or wrong, and there shouldn’t be any judgements. It’s all a matter of preference. Great post 🙂

  • Flora says:

    This is an awesome post, Amanda. There’s often way too much pressure put on how ‘out there’ a trip can be, when in actual fact we travel simply because we love it – for whatever particular reasons we each have. And I hate the competitiveness in hostel discussions!! Total respect to you for travelling the way you want to 🙂
    Flora recently posted..Navigating the Cuban Casa System

    • Amanda says:

      I think one of the main reasons I dislike hostels (well, along with the whole sharing my space with strangers part) is this kind of competitiveness! I avoid these conversations as much as I can.

  • Katie says:

    I LOVE THIS!! I usually find a lot of the people who are judgmental are actually either 1. really insecure or 2. really unhappy. Either way, I don’t need their negativity in my life 🙂
    Katie recently posted..The Temples of Bali

  • Lyn says:

    Great post Amanda, I love that you are true to yourself and travel where and when you want. Travel is such a personal thing and what floats your boat doesn’t necessarily make the list of the next person’s wishlist. Keep going to the places you want to see and experience the things that mean the most to you and keep enjoying travel.
    Lyn recently posted..Kamandalu Ubud, Heritage of Serenity, Rejuvenated

  • Emily R says:

    I don’t get that mentality at all! Like you said, we should all just do what makes US happy when traveling. I’m with you – there are plenty of places I’d like to visit in a perfect world, but there are definitely some at the top of the list that I’d rather see just a little bit more than others. Keep being you and don’t worry about the judgment! You’re awesome!

  • Allyson says:

    Love this! Life is short. Go where YOU want!
    Allyson recently posted..Fun Food Fridays: Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, Oahu

  • Leah says:

    I love Vegas, have NO desire to go back to China, and probably could live happily in France and never leave the rest of my life. Those who don’t like it aren’t paying for my travel, so they can just keep their opinions to themselves. 🙂
    Leah recently posted..Living in Paris: A September to Remember

  • I agree with the comment above that says “Some people are just assholes”.

    There’s a travel blogger that I’ve got to know recently who makes me so angry. He has been very judgemental about my choice to use Busabout for my summer trip. I don’t travel full time, I work a 6 day, 50hr week & blog on the side as a hobby currently. I want a break when I go away, if I choose to spend 3 weeks with a tour company (and spend an entire week of that drunk) is entirely my decision.

    Yeah I could do it myself, but if someone else is going to do all the hard stuff for me, then GREAT! I can relax and enjoy the ride, surely that’s the point? Enjoying it. Plus with a tour I have a set of ready made friends with me, amazing!

    I travelled through Spain alone, plan on doing Italy alone, and regularly do weekend trips to various European cities. I keep meaning to venture out of Europe, but there’s just so much to see & it’s RIGHT THERE!
    Sammi Wanderlustin’ recently posted..I’m Feeling So Bohemian Like You

    • Amanda says:

      Well whoever this blogger is, he definitely sounds like a bit of an asshole.

      This is YOUR vacation – of course you should be free to travel however and wherever you want. If I lived in Europe, I doubt I would ever venture much further – there are SO MANY cool places to see right there.

      And, as someone who’s traveled with Busabout before, I would never judge you for that! In fact, I loved using Busabout’s loop passes last summer – it took a lot of the stress out of planning all my transport, AND I had a read-made group of other travelers to hang out with in most of the destinations! It was great!

  • Hahaha! I love this! Couldn’t agree more!
    RaW | Ramble and Wander recently posted..Malaysia: Petronas Twin Towers Tour

  • Marsha says:

    Great post. I feel if you haven’t done the RTW stuff or gone to the third world, people will be you crap. Sorry maybe I don’t want to go there or cannot afford it. There can be many reasons. I’ve always been of the belief: travel where you want and how you want, and it’s never wrong. I’m planning my first non-European vacation but I doubt I’ll make a habit of it. I prefer my “safe” travels as well, for now.
    Marsha recently posted..Travel Blogging Course

    • Amanda says:

      And there’s nothing wrong with that! I’ve done the Southeast Asia thing and tried to do a RTW trip. But you know what? It’s not for me – that’s just not my style!

  • Here’s my thought on this: Travel is a way of expanding your comfort zone. You don’t *expand* your comfort zone by being afraid of heights and jumping off a cliff. That would only scare the hell out of you and ensure you’ll never get close to a cliff again.

    “Do something every day that scares you”. It might just be having your first meal on your own in a restaurant. Or walking down a different route. Or walking without knowing where exactly you’re going. Maybe even asking a stranger for directions. From there, you go up to ordering something more exotic for lunch and visiting a more local neighbourhood in a new city. Then, you’ll order whatever dish on a Chinese menu looking forward to the surprise!

    It’s a process – little by little you’ll become more comfortable with diverse cultures, climates and lifestyles and you’re travel will become more “adventurous” 🙂
    Katharina @ Kate goes Global recently posted..The day I watched the sun rise from the highest peak in Spain

    • Amanda says:

      I definitely agree! Though, travel doesn’t HAVE to be about expanding your comfort zone. If you’re already a pretty outgoing person, you could easily travel somewhere and still feel comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with that, either!

  • Amen, hallelujah, preach it, sista! 🙂

    <3 Love from the other Amanda in the Midwest.
    Amanda C @ UnrestingSea recently posted..Before the Before

  • Helen says:

    Screw the opinions of others where you should and shouldn’t travel! You have to do what you enjoy! Each to their own and all that! Whatever makes you happy!

    If travel has taught me anything, it’s to be patient and unjudgemental of the way others live their lives.

    I’ve travelled all different ways, solo, with a tour group, with friends – all different, but all just as great! I made some of my best friends on a group tour through Africa. My life wouldn’t be as good if they weren’t in it. FACT.

    Keep travelling your way my friend!
    Helen recently posted..Tips for Women Travelling Alone in Africa

  • Heidi says:

    This really resonates with me because I have a specific travel niche. I write solely about Colorado.
    Several times in the last year I’ve been told, “I don’t consider you a travel writer.”

    What? Because I write about a specific state? Because I’m the expert on one specific area? That makes no sense.

    I do not think your passport needs to be filled with stamps in order to qualify you as a travel writer. If you write about travel, whether it’s in Italy or whether it’s in North Dakota, you are a travel writer.

    I blog about Colorado and I write magazine articles (in travel publications) about Colorado!

    Yes, there are some people judge-y people in the travel industry, but that occurs in every industry. I’m just lucky that the Colorado travel industry has embraced what I’m doing and ultimately that’s what counts.

    I do, however, get a little annoyed at the snobbishness I occasionally run into when it comes to international v. domestic travel. So I thoroughly enjoyed this piece!

    • Amanda says:

      You are so right – passport stamps don’t make you a traveler or travel writer. The US alone is HUGE and has so much to see and do. And Colorado? Colorado is awesome! Keep doing your thing, girl!

  • Lila says:

    I have the same style of travelling. I enjoy travelling “save” a lot, simply because it fits my interests. Nevertheless, I admire people who travel through war zones, unsafe regions and the most exotic and remote places on the world. And maybe someday I’ll go on such an adventure as well. But first there are a lot of other places that are absolutely on the top of my list. And despite being in Europe, they are adventures for me, because I believe that every kind of travelling is a gain.
    Lila recently posted..An unforgettable sunset on the Isle of Arran

    • Amanda says:

      I’m the same way! I love READING about all those awesome trips through remote parts of the world, but I don’t have a burning desire to do it, too. But that’s fine. In those cases, I’m just an armchair traveler, just like how people who read this site are armchair travelers to the places I visit.

  • Ali says:

    I love this post Amanda! It’s totally ok to go to the “easier” places if that’s where you want to go. I really want to explore more of Europe, though I do also want to see more of South America. If you’re just traveling to places to look cool or get bragging rights, you won’t enjoy it as much, and then what’s the point? You have to do what you enjoy and what makes you comfortable. I really don’t like the people who judge others for not traveling to tougher destinations. Plus your interests change over time. India scares me but maybe sometime in the future I’ll feel more up to going there. Also, I’d love to see the fiords in Norway too!
    Ali recently posted..A Story of Overcoming Solo Travel Fear

    • Amanda says:

      I totally agree. Why force myself to go somewhere that would make me stressed out or that I know I wouldn’t enjoy? Doesn’t make any sense to me. But you’re right – interests change. I feel the same way as you about India!

  • Well said. I traveled the past year and continue to travel more in the future, but there’s still a million places I haven’t been to. I’ve met that type of person before who’s judgmental just because I haven’t been to Asia yet or whatever. You’re right, it’s your life, not theirs!
    Hannah Wasielewski recently posted..Everything That Went Wrong in Bolivia – The Not So Pretty Side of Travel

  • Julie says:

    I agree, 100%, Amanda. Travel should be about what makes YOU happy, not other people. I love Australia, for example, and have visited many, many times. People say to me “why don’t you go somewhere else for a change” and I say “why? I love Australia, and every time I land, I feel happy and excited, why should I miss that opportunity?”.

    The way you travel is your own business. I love luxury travel, I love budget travel. Each has its own merits. I can’t afford “luxury” travel all the time, so make good use of points and miles; but when they are in short supply I am very happy to budget travel. I spent three years backpacking around the world in my early 20’s and it was a great experience, but now I am older, a little bit of luxury …. i.e. a clean bed and a hot shower … goes a long way!! The creaky bones need the warmth of the shower and the comfort of a soft, clean bed!!!

    Keep doing what makes you content. The world is your oyster, and you can choose what you want to see.

    • Amanda says:

      My travel style has changed even in just the past 2 years. I shy away from hostels now and much prefer my own room somewhere. But there’s nothing wrong with that! There’s no “right” or “wrong” way (or place) to travel.

  • Laura says:

    You’re not traveling for “them,” you’re traveling for YOU! Congratulations on following what you want to do any not letting anyone else make you feel bad over it. What’s the point of going somewhere difficult and exhausting if you don’t enjoy yourself or connect with the place? Keep on keeping on!
    Laura recently posted..Friday Roundup: August 8, 2014

  • I love your post and can completely relate to your feelings. There are places I don’t feel attracted to and will probably never visit. On the other hand I keep revisiting Australia over and over again because othe experiences I make there are very rewarding for me. It’s about the experiences we make and how we share and help others with our knowledge, rather that showing off the number of places visited and the dangerous situations faced. 🙂
    Michela @Rocky Travel Blog recently posted..How to Pack for an Outdoor Adventure

  • Cindy says:

    Love your post, Amanda, and totally agree. And love that I know about a whole bunch of other people who feel the same way!
    Cindy recently posted..Evening in the Marina, Port Superior, Wisconsin

  • Sam says:

    You are absolutely right – there is nothing wrong with it! Yes, do what you want and ignore the haters.
    Sam recently posted..Best Reads: August 2014

  • Great post Amanda and this rings so true for me today. I just met up with a friend who returned home from some time in India and they kept on pushing the agenda of me going to India to the point that I got really annoyed. Sure, maybe one day, but it isn’t high on my priority list and I won’t be particularly heartbroken if I don’t actually go. There are so many other places that fascinate me. I get that yes you had a great time, but it doesn’t make me want to drop my bags and go. I want to travel on my own terms, when and where I want to.
    Adelina // Pack Me To recently posted..How Not to Learn How to Paddleboard (or Why You Shouldn’t Go Paddleboarding For the First Time at Granville Island)

    • Amanda says:

      Exactly! I have to remind myself of that sometimes when I go on about New Zealand to other people. (Though, to be fair, I think a lot more people want to go to NZ!) But yeah. When someone is trying to push something on me (travel or otherwise), it actually just turns me off completely!

  • Alex says:

    I love this post Amanda. One of the things I love most about travelling especially alone is that I can go wherever I want to go, not where other people want to go. It is not right for other people to judge you because you choose to go to your dream destination which might be a popular tourist destination.

    I’ve noticed this judgement a lot recently myself in Canada, I’m currently working in Jasper a beautiful place with lots of hiking and things to do. When I speak to some of the Canadians I’m working with (mostly who come from Ontario) about how I’m looking forward to visiting Toronto at the end of my stay in Canada they ask why would I want to go there and comment on how boring it is. This is really disappointing to hear because it might put people off visiting that city. Luckily I have been there before (and really enjoyed the city) so I will still go back.

    Just because it does not have the natural beauty like Jasper does doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy exploring a city.

    If we let others decide where we should be going it’s likely we wouldn’t enjoy the experience as much and then what would be the point in travelling?
    Alex recently posted..Maligne Lake – Wickedly Beautiful

  • Nicole says:

    People? No. They don’t influence us as travelers. Money plays a good part, though. As do airplane sales. =)
    Nicole recently posted..Myths about Taiwan

  • Do I let others influence my travels? absolutely not!
    My money. My travel.
    I love this post Amanda as this is rather a sore point when it comes to travel bloggers, and it makes me proud that you have stood up for your beliefs. Yay!

    I’ve been travelling since the mid-90’s (Yikes), and I’ve done a mixture of everything. Of course, when I was younger, I went as cheap as poss. Now, I’m a little older, married, and with a pre-teenager so my style has adjusted accordingly. I haven’t got “a thing” for South America or Australia, so I haven’t bothered! I love Asia and Europe so I travel to those destinations. I’ve just got back from Thailand and Indonesia and everyone was like; which beach did you go to? Well, guess what. I’m not into beaches so I didn’t go to any!

    I also like going back to places that I fancy. In fact, I go to a little fishing villiage in Poland every two to three years. I’ve been gong there for 14 years. No probs at all! Great post!
    Victoria@ The British Berliner recently posted..Thai food is going to kill you: Eat it or die!

    • Amanda says:

      I also really love going back to my favorite places. When I got to New Zealand in November, it will be my fourth time there! But I don’t feel bad about that at all – I know I love NZ and that I’ll have a great time!

  • Lily Lau says:

    You’re so true, Amanda… adventurous people don’t understand why some people just want to lie down on the beach and enjoy a good cocktail, and quiet people don’t understand why some people want to travel to risky places, but be sure that both groups will dare to judge.
    Lily Lau recently posted..Top 10 most expensive “classic cars” ever sold

  • Radin Fadli says:

    I love this entry Amanda! Yup! You shouldn’t let anyone tell you where you should be traveling. I just started traveling last year, and I only have been to Asia’s countries, and one place I love the most is South Korea (Seoul). I’m from Malaysia, so we only have sunny/rainy season, so I really appreciate the calmness of autumn weather in Seoul, been there for skiing too in the winter. The people are friendly, although there is some language barrier, but I get along just fine. I love the environment and the culture .
    But yet, some of the people (back home, and even among so call my travel companion) makes fun of it. They joking about the those korean little eyes, their language, their food, and maybe because I’m a fan of these K pop music (which I’m not). So to me, if I love it, I couldn’t care less what other people are thinking as long as I enjoy it.
    In the end, its how the travel experience makes us fell right? Just like one of the point in your entry “26 Things Travel Has Taught Me”

    10. It’s OK to keep returning to a place you love
    Even though the world is huge with endless places to discover, I’ve realized that some places will keep pulling you back. You will leave bits of your heart in different corners of the globe, and those places will call to you periodically. And this is OK. You don’t have to always go somewhere different to be a “traveler.”

    Keep writing Amanda ^^

  • rebecca says:

    great article! couldn’t agree more. The second others start telling you how to travel you lose the freedom that you are traveling to obtain
    rebecca recently posted..Street Art in Poland

  • This is a wonderful post! One thing that is often encouraged in the Blogging community is to not follow all of society’s rules and barriers. Not to follow the – go to school, get debt, work, work some more, get married, die system blindly. Do what makes YOU happy yada yada. So why then, are so many setting up yet another set of ‘rules’ and telling people to live up to a set of standards whether they find them interesting or not?
    I love to go to slightly odder destinations too, but there is a line between encouraging people to get out of their comfort zone and not dismiss places based on bad media and actually dissing people who aren’t interested in those regions/ are more interested in other regions.
    Zoe @ Tales from over the Horizon recently posted..Discover Stunning Heaven Lake

    • Amanda says:

      I totally agree, Zoe! You’ve said it so well. Why should we have to trade in one set of expectations for another? I like getting off the beaten path sometimes – but within reason; my “off the beaten path” may be different than someone else’s. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

  • Completely agree. I think traveling doesn’t necessarily mean getting on a plane and going to exotic destinations. This summer we did a lot of short travels in a 100 mile radius of DC and had a great time and explored some lovely places we haven’t gone before.
    I’ve been several times to Africa and South America for work/pleasure and the experiences are amazing but we just went to Shenandoah National Park 2 hours away and that was spectacular as well.
    I just encourage people on my blog and in my circles to discover something new whether it is 30 minutes from your home or a 30hr plane ride.
    p.s. just discovered your blog, love it!
    Jessica van Dop DeJesus recently posted..5 things I learned as a TBEX Newbie

    • Amanda says:

      That’s absolutely my opinion too, Jessica! You don’t have to travel far – even going somewhere an hour away can be an adventure! I’ve stuck around North America for most of this year, but have still had some awesome adventures!

  • Franca says:

    Good point Amanda! I like to listen to people’s tips and advice when it comes to places that I haven’t been yet, it can be very inspiring and might increase (or not) my curiosity towards countries I wouldn’t have thought of going to, but ultimately it’s always me deciding where and when to go somewhere, always me! 🙂
    Franca recently posted..Vegan Pizza By Italian Hands at Sfizy Veg, Berlin

    • Amanda says:

      Good! I of course read lots of blogs and pay attention to places others are recommending or warning against. But, like you, it’s always MY decision in the end!

  • Annika says:

    Absolutely love this sentiment! I hate travel snobbery (while I will admit that I might be guilty of it too at times…ups). I got the same looks when I went to Thailand with Intrepid, but had the same experience as you described – great new friends and no hassle of organizing.

    • Amanda says:

      I hate it when travelers try to make others feel bad about how they choose to travel. As long as you aren’t being terrible (i.e. exploiting the locals, or just being really nasty/ignorant), then I don’t think anyone should be able to judge you!

  • Annie says:

    I love this post! This is exactly how I think: Travel should be a decision and a way to express our unique way of living. It’s not to prove anything to anybody except ourselves. We all set our own limits and unless you want to travel to impress other people, the goal is just to reach happiness and see what you want to see and do what you want to do.
    Annie recently posted..Mývatn: A cheap way to go to Mars

  • Andrew K says:

    It’s encouraging to read stuff like this. I got into traveling within the last few years as well (in my mid-20s) and to my dismay, so has everyone else in my generation! I have a few former coworkers who’ve moved from familiarity of Canada to New Zealand, South Korea, England (yeah yeah, the safe countries), and Iraq. I’m definitely guilty of comparing my own travel experiences to those of my friends, and envying those who’ve been to more places than I have. One of my ‘themes’ is trying to get to a country that no one I know has been to before…my dad’s been to dozens of countries, so that’s a bit of a challenge. But, as I also gather from your article, the main thing is to accept one’s own style of travel, and circumstances, and travel the way you want to. I’ve always been a cautious, risk-averse guy, and that’s why I haven’t done a lot of travelling, and why I’ve never been to a third-world country. I also don’t think I’d really have the energy to go backpacking through a tropical mountain range, even if I’m jealous of my extroverted friends who’ve done that sort of thing. But, everyone’s eyes open at the time that makes the most sense to them, and once I/people accept that, then it’s adventure time on our own terms!

    • Amanda says:

      Adventure on your on terms is really the only way to adventure! Don’t push yourself to try something/go somewhere you know you wouldn’t enjoy – that’s just silly! Travel how you want, and accept that different people have different travel styles! What’s that quote? “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Don’t rob yourself of enjoying your travels just because you’re comparing where you’ve been with where others have been!

  • Monika says:

    I totally agree with you! I like to get inspired by other travellers, but reading some posts I sometimes get a feeling that giving up your whole previous life and backpacking SE Asia for a year on a shoestring budget is the only acceptable and true way to travel (according to those bloggers). Do not even dare to think of sleeping in a hotel room with a shower or taking a guided tour! I mean, there isn´t only one way of travelling and all of them are right if it´s how you feel it.
    Monika recently posted..How to be a solo traveller without travelling alone

  • Meg says:

    This article struck a chord with me. Is it anyone’s place to tell you where, when and how you should travel? Definitely not! Live and let live…and love your adventures, whatever form they take!

  • Jimmy says:

    Love this article and these posts… I just love to travel sooo much. From Tanzania to Vegas…and Peru to British Columbia…. it’s all been great! I love the tourist stuff and the more remote places too! It has been beyond a dream for me to travel. I think everyone should see as much of the world as possible. 🙂

  • Jimmy says:

    Tell me one of your favorite destinations Amanda… I’m looking for ideas for 2017. ?

  • Jimmy says:

    Yes… me too! New Zealand sounds amazing… I keep looking for cheap flights…hahaha. Thanks for the ideas Amanda. ?

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