Why I Won’t Get Mad If You Call Me Lucky

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It happened a couple months ago, as I was entering back into the U.S. through immigration at Newark airport. I was standing in line waiting for my turn to get stamped in when I caught a snippet of the conversation happening two immigration lines away from me.

An older African woman was going through immigration after her daughter. She handed over her passport and other documentation to the young immigration officer sitting in his cubicle, and answered his question about how long she was staying in the U.S.

“Six weeks,” she said.

“Six months?” the officer (incorrectly) repeated, incredulous. “I don't think so.”

“No, six WEEKS,” the woman corrected him.

The immigration officer then turned to his buddy in the next cubicle and said, “Six months. Maybe a slip of the tongue there?”

He kept going on about it, and then asked his officer friend if he should ask the woman to take off her winter coat.

“Are you pregnant?” he abruptly addressed the woman. And then, to his buddy in the same tone of voice: “God knows we don't need any more of THAT in this country.”

Standing two lines away watching this exchange, I was livid. Not only was this officer putting words into this poor woman's mouth, but he was acting as though she was too stupid to understand anything he was saying.

In that moment, I was embarrassed to be holding an American passport in my hand.

Passport

Now, I understand that immigration officials have a job to do. And I'm sure they come across plenty of people who ARE trying to get into the country with less-than-wholesome intentions. But that does not give them the right to treat certain people passing through immigration as less than human.

I'm not saying I've never had an issue crossing a border before (I'm looking at YOU, Canada), but never have I been profiled or degraded because of where my passport is from or the color of my skin.

After getting my own passport stamped that day, I found myself reflecting again and again on that exchange at immigration. I can't begin to fully understand what that woman was feeling at that moment, but I guarantee the feelings weren't positive. It made me seriously examine my own privilege as a traveler.

Amanda in Iceland

Reflecting in Iceland

Every once in a while, someone will say something to you – about your job or your success – that will come across as giving something outside of your control all the credit. Example: When someone says to a photographer “OMG your photos are so amazing – what kind of camera do you use?” As though the equipment is 100% responsible for those incredible images, and the photographer's talent and skill has nothing to do with it.

In the blogging (and especially travel blogging) community, comments that elicit this sort of response include “And you actually make money doing that?” (which is assumes that blogging isn't a valid career) and “You are SO lucky; I wish I could do that.”

Recently, as I was answering questions for an interview about my blog, this “lucky” comment came up. The interview question was: “It’s easy for someone to think ‘she’s so lucky' because you get to travel the world. Like something was handed to you. How would you respond to that?”

The knee-jerk response to the “lucky” comments is to respond back that you've worked your ass off as a travel blogger to get to where you are – and that most people CAN do what you're doing if they're willing to make sacrifices and put the work in.

But you know what? That's not true.

NOT everyone can travel the world like I do. Certain things HAVE been handed to me. And I AM lucky.

Amanda on Dune 45 in Namibia

Atop a dune in Namibia

As a travel blogger, it's my job to inspire people to want to see the world. I love using my site to share my stories and photos, but, at the end of the day I want my readers to book a trip or start planning a vacation to somewhere that they've read about on my blog. Destinations and travel companies I work with want this, too – it's the reason why many travel bloggers are able to get sponsored (and sometimes even paid) to travel.

But the reality is that not everyone is able to go to all the places I visit. In fact, many people aren't able to go anywhere at all.

Travel is not a right. It's a privilege – and one that I am very lucky to have.

Amanda at Horseshoe Bend in Arizona

At Horseshoe Bend in Arizona

Yes, it's true that I've worked hard over the past six years to turn what was once just a hobby into my career. A lot of my success as a blogger DOES come down to me putting in the blood, sweat, and tears.

But some of it comes down to luck, too.

I was lucky enough to be born in the United States – a place where freedom abounds and where a passport is easy to acquire. I was lucky enough to be born into a solidly middle-class family with two working parents who loved and supported me (both emotionally and financially) growing up. I was lucky enough to go to college (and then graduate school) and get a fantastic education. I was lucky enough to be born into a generation where entrepreneurship and alternative careers/lifestyles have actually been encouraged. And, yes, I was lucky to be born with white skin.

None of these things were in my control; I had no say over where I was born or to whom. All of that comes down to luck.

And it's mostly because of all that luck that I am now able to travel as much as I do.

Amanda at Lake Louise

At Lake Louise in Canada

Sometimes, when I'm looking at my blog as a business and travel as work, it's easy to forget this. It's easy to take for granted the fact that I do for a living what some people only daydream of. People who take zero vacation days a year because they don't have any, or people who work minimum wage jobs and struggle to provide their families with the basic essentials, nevermind vacations. People who live in impoverished countries, or under governments that make travel impossible.

I have struggled and worried about money over the years, but I've always been able to afford shoes on my feet, food in my belly, and a roof over my head. Many people around the world can't say the same.

All those blog posts out there telling you how easy it is to save up money to travel the world? They definitely apply to an audience of similarly lucky and privileged people like me.

If I had been born in a different country, a different socio-economic class, a different decade… my story would likely be very different.

And I don't ever want to forget that.

Rocky Mountain Track

Atop a mountain in New Zealand

I still want to continue to write inspiring, entertaining, and informative stories. I still want to show people how they can explore the world, and I still want to encourage them to do so.

But I also want to take a moment today to acknowledge how lucky I am, and to ask you to take a moment to be thankful for and aware of your own privilege, too.

Because travel IS a privilege. And I won't get mad if you call me lucky.

If you're interested in reading more about the subject of privilege and travel, here are some other posts you should read:

Have YOU ever had a travel experience that reminded you just how lucky you are?

 

85 Comments

  • Sprytgrrl says:

    Thank you for your honest, touching post. Love the blog and we’re so lucky that you are so lucky! 🙂

  • Mamalimai Fantaztik says:

    Your work is very impressive Amanda.I love hiking and I am thinking about doing something with all the many pictures I have taken for so long.Is a book with pictures sounds like a good idea?What sayest thou your excellency?Thank you and keep the great work.

  • Marni says:

    Awesome post! I applaud you for being able to admit that at least part of it is luck. I feel the same way – I work hard and budget as much as possible to be able to travel, but I am also lucky. My blood boiled when I read that exchange between the customs official and the woman. Interestingly, the worst border crossing trouble I ever had happened while driving through to the US once (I live in Canada). It was so frustrating because I was born in the US, but had lived up in Canada with my mom since my parents’ divorce when I was 8. On this particular instance, I was driving by myself through the Buffalo border and the guy asked me “Okay, how do I know you’ll come back?” So I began to list off the reasons – I’m a university student, most of my family is up here, I don’t want to live in the US, etc., and his reply to that was, “Yeah, but how do I KNOW you’ll come back?” This went on for awhile longer until he finally noticed my place of birth on my passport. His mannerisms and mood switched like a light and suddenly he was beyond cheerful and overly friendly, inviting me to “stay as long as I liked”. It’s sobering to experience something like that, and even though it’s been years, it still leaves me feeling bitter when I think about it, and the fact that most people wouldn’t have ended up with as easy a solution as I had. It’s infuriating to know how frequently people from other areas of the world have to deal with it (and obviously to a much higher degree than mine).
    Marni recently posted..Cruise, 2015 – Day at Sea & Grand Cayman

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, I know I definitely have it good when it comes to being able to easily enter most countries! I really am lucky to have a US passport.

  • Brenna says:

    I think it’s really important to talk about how much of a privilege travelling really is, so I’m glad that more travel bloggers are doing it! Thanks a lot for linking to my post as well. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      I think it’s really important, too! I’ve been working on this one for a really long time (since that incident at immigration) and am happy to have finally published it!

  • Oneika says:

    This is great Amanda! I also agree with Brenna when she says that it’s important that people in the industry start acknowledging some of their inherent privilege and how it positively impacts their ability to travel! Very thoughtful post and thanks so much for linking to mine! Hope to catch up with you soon and enjoy Africa!

    • Amanda says:

      I mean, I understand that people want to be able to take credit for all the hard work they’ve put into something (be it a blog, a business, whatever), but there is definitely privilege inherent in many cases, and I definitely think it’s important that we acknowledge that! It doesn’t have to be a bad thing – but it’s definitely there.

  • Brianna says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Amanda. As much as we want to encourage people to travel, it’s difficult to remember that there are so many people out there who have no resources to do so. It’s not always as easy as giving up your daily Starbucks latte to save for travel.
    Brianna recently posted..11 Summer Celebrations Around the World

    • Amanda says:

      Exactly! Many people would love to travel the world, but circumstances don’t always allow it no matter how many inspirational posts we bloggers write.

  • Heck yes! I want to be your friend.

  • Elisa says:

    I agree, traveling is something you should do if you’re able to do it! You may not able to go someplace every year, however, you can still feel inspired to explore.

    I had a Croatian border control officer comment “You are an explorer” when he saw my US passport. That made my day! 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Yes if you’re able to do it, I agree! But unfortunately not everyone is able to do it, and sometimes it’s important to remember that.

  • There is the hand we are dealt and then there is how we play it….

    Stay inspiring, Craig

    Ps – Canada has been a tough place to get in / out for me too… That made me smile.
    Craig Zabransky recently posted..Fathom, a New Way to Social Impact Travel – Episode 14

    • Amanda says:

      That’s so true! But some people’s hands are definitely better than others…

      And yeah, Canada really doesn’t like me!!

      • Rob says:

        I’m curious about what happened to you at the Canadian border.

        I’ve been lightly hassled once, and of course I also carry a Canadian passport, but I’ve never really heard of anyone being hassled coming into the country as a tourist.

        • Amanda says:

          It’s because once I came in on a press trip, and ever since then they’ve grilled me about what I’m doing in Canada (no doubt suspicious that I’m working there somehow). Once I even had to go through the line for extra immigration screening.

          And on my last trip there (where I arrived by train), the immigration officer was cocky and rude and basically wanted to know how a single woman like myself could possibly be able to afford to have so many stamps in my passport. (He wouldn’t let me leave until I told him that I lived with my boyfriend and his profession.)

  • Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I was talking to someone about travel the other day and he asked how I “get to” travel so much. At first I was annoyed, like I don’t “get to” I decided to and I’m doing it, like anyone who does anything. But it’s true, my circumstances are similar to yours so that privilege, combined with determination is how I get to travel so much. I do try not to take it granted.

  • Rochelle says:

    Awesome post! I was travelling around Europe last year and did a day trip to Gibraltar. I have an Australian passport and I sailed through the check point. However two of the guys in my group had passports from a Middle Eastern Country and after being given a very embarrassing grilling they were told, sorry you can’t enter. They had to wait until we had finished and returned. It was pretty eye opening and I also thought to myself wow, I am really lucky.

    • Amanda says:

      Ugh, how terrible! I can’t even fathom something like that happening – I am definitely so lucky to have a passport that’s accepted almost anywhere.

  • I do still get annoyed by the “you’re so lucky” comment, but I agree that I am lucky for being born in the right country, one that provides me an amazing freedom of movement!

  • Eric says:

    I flat out hate that word. Luck has nothing to do with it. We all work very long and hard. Most importantly we didn’t “wish upon a star” to have this life. Ahh, feel better for getting that out. Very nice piece. Keep traveling.

    • Amanda says:

      You may work long and hard, but some things you can’t control, like the circumstances you’re born into. I definitely have had to work a lot less to travel the world than people born in other countries who probably would love to travel, too, but simply can’t for a variety of reasons.

  • Kerry says:

    Hi Amanda

    Awesome post. Your observation, thoughts and reflections on the situation are inspiring. I sometimes stupidly like to stick up for people like the older African woman in the above situation. I haven’t got myself in any trouble so far, but I wonder if I would get in trouble if I was there and said something to the customers officers. Their behaviours were disgustingly condescending and racist. I don’t believe that is the way border control should work. These people should be re-trained and re-educated. It’s sad these kind of people are put to work at the front line.
    I am of Asian origin and have been living in Australia for more than 20 years. I sometimes experience people like this first hand in Australia too. But racism is a tough task to crack. Maybe that’s where travel comes in. Travelling helps to open our eyes and minds to truely respect people and cultures.

    I also agree with your about being lucky to have a passport that is accepted in most countries. I used to get annoyed when people said I was so lucky that I was able to travel or buy houses..etc, I always told them I worked so hard to get to where I am! But, now I think maybe there is also luck involved because I am in a country there is no war, there are abundant job opportunities if you are willing to work hard, children get good education etc..so I am lucky I am in an environment that I can strive to be the best I can be.

    Thanks for your post. I enjoy reading all the posts in your blog!

    Kerry

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Kerry! And yes, racism is such a tough subject. It made me really ashamed that people coming into my country were met with immigration officers like those two, though – they were so awful!

  • Arnie says:

    This is such a well written, and thought provoking, article. It makes you think seriously about our “white privilege” that is so often denied in our own country by certain factions.
    Arnie recently posted..Advantages of Dive Training

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Arnie! “White privilege” is often seen as kind of a dirty phrase, but the fact is that it applies to a lot of us! And I don’t think it’s a bad thing to acknowledge.

  • Kassia says:

    Absolutely spot on! People don’t understand how much effort goes into making travel writing a success (including several other jobs on the side to buy things like food), but it’s so true that just coming from a country in which it’s even an option makes me feel so lucky everyday to be working hard and seeing the world.

    • Amanda says:

      Absolutely! I have no doubt that my desire to travel would be strong even had I been born somewhere else, but I have a feeling my life would have taken a very different path if I wasn’t in the US.

  • Kara says:

    I’m with you Amanda, traveling is not as easy for everyone. And sometimes certain blogs come across as it just being super easy. I’ve been blessed to go on some amazing trips in the past to Australia, China, across Canada on the train and the UK. However those trips took a lot of advance planning and saving. I did have a bit of help from my Grandma for my UK trip and my church payed for half my China trip (I was volunteer at a orphanage there that my church supports). When I took my Australia trip at 19 years old I had spent a whole year working at subway to save up $10000. Travel blogger can make the travel look easy and breezy but the photos and stories are only a snippet of the whole journey.

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, and that’s one of the reasons why I think it’s important to stop every once in a while and acknowledge that it’s NOT always as easy as most bloggers make it out to be!

  • Often times we Americans do not realize how great we have things. I have gotten in and out of countries easily and watched as other people with different nationalities and passports struggled at the gate. We must remember – no matter where we travel or how long we are gone – that we are very blessed. This post is a great reminder of this!
    Kati from Ms B Travels recently posted..From the Heart of a Traveler

  • I’m Canadian and even I have had difficulties getting back into Canada from Buffalo. I would have been so bothered as well if I had overheard the conversation you mentioned at the beginning of the post.
    It is so sad how people can treat others.

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, sometimes people definitely make me sad. 🙁 It does make me feel slightly better than others have trouble at the Canadian border too, though!

  • Dominique says:

    Beautifully written! I thought about it recently when I was watching a war movie, actually. How privileged we are to have been born were we have been born. It makes me sad to think the place you’ve been born in dictates the life you’ll have (apart from a lucky few). I wish people would start realizing this and start treating people better!

    • Amanda says:

      I so agree! In most cases, people don’t get to choose the circumstances that they’re born into. We really need to remember that when we jump to conclusions about others!

  • Laryssa says:

    Great post, Amanda. I know of other travel bloggers who get so offended by the “lucky” remark, but they’re missing the bigger picture that you’ve outlined here.
    Laryssa recently posted..Travel Tips for Doing Comic-Con on a Budget

  • Kelly says:

    Such a well-written post, so happy when I saw this come up on my newsfeed! I love that this topic is coming up more and more, and that travel bloggers and people in the travel industry are beginning to change the way that they talk about themselves and how they travel. Also, thanks for the shout-out 🙂
    Kelly recently posted..7 Adventurous One Week Central America Itineraries

    • Amanda says:

      I’m glad that the topic is coming up more, too! In the end, it just makes us all more well-rounded – and more aware of the world around us!

  • Danny says:

    I had similar feelings after traveling to India last year. To be honest, I felt a bit guilty for being able to travel so freely and easily while so many other people could only ever dream of this privilege. Thanks for the reminder that, at the end of the day, we really have it good.

  • Stef says:

    Absolutely! I agree with everything you say. I’m living in Mexico. Since I’ve been here, I know how many hours they are working and how much money the usual person makes. You can barely save anything. Cities are full of pawnshops and almost everything can be bought in installments. I’m not talking about cars and similar things here but of normal stuff like cameras (not the expensive ones), even flight tickets within the country are bought in installments. And we are talking about Mexico here, not an African country.
    This made me realize how lucky we really are. We don’t choose where we are born and everyone who is able to travel should be happy to have that privilege.
    Stef recently posted..Up for an adventure in the jungle? Don’t miss these 4 magical places in Palenque, Mexico

  • Ree Bell says:

    Thank you for this. Well worded and honest, and thank you also for the links to other similar posts. It’s something I’ve struggled with, especially now as I’m in university and saved money while I was working to take trips each month; but the new people I have met in university always wonder at my being able to do so, and I always feel forced to explain that I travel cheaply and that I earmarked money for my trips.

    I can’t even imagine what that woman must’ve felt. I’ve only gone through US customs once, but I too have white skin and I’m from Sweden and I don’t think the thought of me trying to stay illegally was even a concern.
    Ree Bell recently posted..Travel Memory: My First Solo-Trip

    • Amanda says:

      I get the “how do you afford to travel so much?” question all. the. time. Sometimes even from immigration officials, which is annoying. But yeah, my bad border experiences are nothing compared to what some people from other countries face!

  • Thank you for sharing this Amanda. Being from Australia I’m so very aware that travelling to places like Europe or the US makes me very lucky indeed. It’s such a long way away so even being able to afford flights makes me very fortunate. I’ve heard arguments all the time about how I’m not “lucky” because I work hard for that money to pay for those flights. But what people need to remember is that employment isn’t guaranteed. I’m SO lucky I have a well paying job, in my industry of choice at my age. I’m lucky I have the health to be able to travel (I don’t always, so when I do I realise how I take it for granted). Being white, Australian and english speaking puts me in a very lucky group indeed. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Amanda says:

      YES! Everything you said is true – yes you work hard for your money, but it’s luck that put you in the circumstances that let you earn all that money!

  • Our Wanders says:

    Thanks for this honest post! It’s very important from time to time to realize this truth that besides all the hard work and determination, we are also lucky to be able to travel. For us growing up in a post communist country the most obvious example to realize this is to think back to our grandparents’ life: they were not allowed to travel outside of the Soviet Union, period. This big beautiful world is so foreign and scary for them which is hard to understand for us, and we can be so grateful that our generation has tons of opportunity to travel/study/work abroad!
    Our Wanders recently posted..Our First Impressions Of Paris

  • Rob says:

    I’ve seen this nonsense more times than I can count. From the Finnish grandmother who spoke no English at JFK where I finally stepped in offered to translate (fortunately she spoke Swedish) to the time at the Estonian border where the guy gave my Canadian passport a wave and a smile without even looking but gave my Russian travel companion 20 minutes of hassle before I finally walked back and said “she’s with me”. And there’s the time the border person at LAX seemed to think that because I *lived* in Sweden I needed a visa to travel to the USA on my Canadian passport. And the time the stupid border guard in Ottawa decided to ask 20 questions about why I (living in the USA) was coming to Canada and finally shut up when I turned my passport over in front of her, spelled “Canada” for her and asked why she had a problem with me visiting my own country.

    Border guards power trip. Nominally they are trying to keep out the riff-raff but really it’s just a game in the middle of a boring job.

    As for privilege – I’m long over caring about it. I didn’t choose to be born a white male from Canada and I’m not going to get too traumatized that that has and does open doors perhaps closed to other people. That goes along with being slightly more at risk when traveling because I also carry an American passport. I hear terrorists are not fond of Americans.

    Life is what it is. We can’t change much about the world around us, but we can go with the flow and wallow in what *is* available to us.

    • Amanda says:

      We can’t change much about what we’re handed, no. But we certainly can pause for a few seconds every now and then to acknowledge and be thankful for it!

  • Excellent food for thought, thank you.

    I think it’s still ok to be annoyed with the “lucky” comments because they most often (at least in my case) come from people with the same privilege. For example, a very dear friend of mine decided to become a single mother and struggled financially for years. She tells me how lucky I am to travel so much. I believe our life choices dictate our differences more than luck. Same goes for other friends who value weekly manicures or fancy dinners.

    Absolutely, compared to someone from a 3rd world or non-democratic country, or someone with darker skin, less educational opportunities, we are all lucky. But if you look like me and grew up like me, don’t call me lucky for the choices I’ve made!
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..3 Nights in Siem Reap, Cambodia

    • Amanda says:

      I can certainly appreciate that point of view, too, Leigh. When it comes to people from a similar level of privilege, then it often DOES come down to the choices we make and what we choose to prioritize in our lives.

  • Joss says:

    I totally agree with you! It is easy to forget the privileges we inherently have, that we may not even be aware of… great post.

  • I agree that travel is a privilege but I also think that people work hard to do it as well. As a Canadian I am generally greeted with open arms wherever I go and it’s a wonderful feeling. However, as you’ve mentioned you can’t forget the hard work it took to be able to travel and to afford it. I work full-time and blog part-time. I freelance in the odd hours I’m not doing either of those. I work damn hard to support my passion but I know that at the same time, not everyone has been given the same advantages as me in life and for that I’m grateful.

    • Amanda says:

      It’s definitely a mixture of both luck AND hard work for many of us. But I feel like too many bloggers gloss over the luck part and just focus on how hard they’ve worked to be able to travel. I don’t want to discount the work – I work my butt off, too! But I’m able to do it all largely because I was lucky to be born into circumstances that allow me to.

  • Linda says:

    For someone living in Europe, I am bound to say the same thing: I am lucky that I can travel around without any visa and passport around 28 countries in Europe. Around the world is more difficult to get, specially in USA and Canada.

    I think of that every time I see some syrian refugee tries to get in Europe. A lot of restrictions, even if their country is affected by war. There are fears, but those examples of disrespect shouldn’t be the way we treat immigrants in any country.

    I don’t see the conditions radically changing in the next decade, unfortunately.
    Linda recently posted..Santorini – A Stylish Holiday Destination

    • Amanda says:

      It’s definitely very sad. But, just like how I don’t see things in the U.S. changing anytime soon, I think you’re probably right. 🙁

  • Morgan says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more! You certainly are lucky! Traveling is a privilege and a worthwhile experience that many people never have. There’s nothing wrong with embracing that you are fortunate enough to travel!
    Nicely said! Thanks so much for posting!

  • Excellent piece, Amanda! Obviously, I very much agree;)
    Thanks for linking back, love!

  • Jellis Vaes says:

    Amanda, this is a beautiful written article. It’s a hard truth. And I envy you for saying this as it is an important aspect that many people don’t like to admit. Hard work will get you very far, but luck at times is sometimes missing. And that luck is many times coming down how you look and where you are born. This was a great reminder, I deeply thank you for writing this. You really made me stand still for a moment and call myself lucky as well.
    Jellis Vaes recently posted..How Will you be Remembered?

  • Adrienne Rivetti says:

    I love this post so much. We all need to face our privilege in every aspect of our lives. And I also appreciate this as a consumer of travel blogs. So many travel bloggers get their shackles up when it comes to this question. Not to minimize the hard work that everyone puts in, but it is absolutely a privilege. When people say that to you, “Wow! Lucky you!” I don’t think anybody is thinking you just stumbled into it without any effort. That’s not the intention behind a comment like that. It’s just to say that they think what you’re doing is pretty amazing. It’s a compliment.

    • Amanda says:

      Exactly. And most people also make comments about how much work it must take, and how much writing I must do – I’d say 90% of people understand that, yes, this IS a job – just a very cool one. 🙂

  • lee says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Many thanks for your article, as a caucasian male, most people assume I am immune to things happening to me like you described but sadly it happens everywhere. When returning home to the UK via JFK from Medellin I was looked up and down by an office patrolling the aisles. I was over there visiting family at the time but this guy had a real beef. after giving my suitcase a few hefty kicks and stating “let’s see what’s hiding in here” he went through my case pulling and tossing my stuff out into where people were walking, resulting in footprints on a few of my clothes. Not satisfied with finding nothing wrong he proceeded to frisk me in front of everyone saying “if you have anything I’ll find it, dont you worry!” again after finding nothing he told me to “clear up my mess” before skulking off.

    I also lived in Bangladesh for just under 2 years with racism being my unwelcome companion almost every day, my colleagues used to joke about it calling it “skin tax”. Dont get me wrong, 99% of the people I met were absolutely amazing but I was treated with disdain, overcharged, served last when was there first, ignored and was told to go home more than a few times. Racism is ugly wherever you find it. It happens everywhere but fortunately it’s a minority that are at fault.

    On a plus note I would like to mention one of the nicest moments where cross culture lines were not only ignored but were crossed out. I was in Thailand in Ban Tao, at the time not many tourists were in this area so I was a lone foreigner. I found and spent all my time at this beach cafe, I became good friends with the owner and towards the end of my trip I was minding his 4 kids, going for beach walks, looking after his daughters baby (many times they found me asleep under an umbrella with the baby curled up in my arms snoring away. He often refused to charge me giving me free meals and drinks and even gave me a lift back to my hotel a few times, I miss them all fondly and hope to return to Thailand next year where I will look them up
    lee recently posted..Top 10 reasons to visit Thailand

    • Amanda says:

      You summed it up so perfectly, Lee, with this one statement: “Racism is ugly wherever you find it.” It’s so true, and I’m sorry that you’ve experienced it abroad!

  • So interesting to read the comments – and your article, that goes without saying 🙂 It’s so true that it’s a privilege. I noticed that from childhood, my father used to have a Chilean passport (now he holds a Canadian one too so it’s easier) and when I was 8 we were on transit once through the USA and we were locked in a room between our flights to make sure my father wouldn’t leave the airport. It was so ridiculous.

    Some passports definitely make it so much easier to travel. I’m definitely aware of my privilege! Although a lot of my friends, from similar backgrounds it’s worth to be noted, often say I’m lucky to live abroad and travel, but I try to make it clear to them that I sacrificed so much to make that happen.

    And so weird to hear you had some issues with the Canadian border! Of course I’m Canadian so I never had any issues, but it’s shocking to hear. I mean to me the USA is definitely the absolute worst border in the world, border agents are just so shockingly rude and I’ve never seen an exception to the rule sadly. I was once sent into the line of extra screening at the Canadian/US border because I had stamps from South America and Africa, the guy quickly saw I was Canadian and told me to get back on the bus. It was all just so strange.

    • Amanda says:

      The Canada/US border seems to be tough, no matter which way you’re going!

      That’s awful that your dad had to go through that when you were young! But I suppose it does help put that privilege in some perspective.

  • Eden Moyer says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It is so refreshing to have someone finally accept that in some ways that are lucky. I understand that it takes a lot from you to make this work and your blog inspires me greatly, but I can’t put anything away on my minimum wage job because everything goes to bills. I’m just lucky I live with my grandparents and pay them $300 a month in rent. My soul yearns to see the great, bid, wide world but financial reasons keep me locked in place. I’m working on creating a local “travel” blog of sorts to see if I can do it, but everything is just a dream right now. Thank you for being so honest and understanding =)

    • Amanda says:

      You certainly don’t have to go far in order to “travel” – I wish you the best of luck with you blog! And yes, I think it’s very important that people like me acknowledge our own lucky circumstances! (But it’s also nice when people appreciate all the work it takes to keep a blog like this running, too!)

  • Jade D'sa says:

    I get the “lucky” comment way too often and it drives me crazy because I wasn’t the slightest bit lucky. It’s sheer hard work.
    http://www.thatgoangirl.com
    Jade

  • Very well said Amanda. I must admit that I forget how lucky I am! I am self employed, I work from home and I can work whenever and where ever I please and can take time off whenever I like. Yes I did engineer that way of life, but I am still very lucky to live in a society where the technology has allowed me to actually do that!
    Caroline Middlebrook recently posted..Woodbridge & Martlesham Creek Walk

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