Why I Am Saying No To The Pressure To Travel

13 August 2019

Today I'm talking travel. 

It's peak summer time and with those aged between 25-34 years old taking the most holidays of all the age groups (an average of 4.1 holidays per year), what better time to write a travel post. But, it's not the 'traditional' travel post. 

But first, can we take a minute to appreciate how cute this Polka dot mini dress I got gifted Femme Luxe Finery is. 


Okay - minute over. Let's dive in.

There’s no better feeling than hopping on a plane and exploring somewhere new. It’s a break from your day to day life and a change of scenery. I for one am a massive fan of travelling to new places, eating new foods and experiencing new cultures. Not only does it allow me to learn more about the world we live in and different ways of life, it also allows me to learn about myself (but not in a ‘gap yahhhh, I’m travelling to find myself’ kind of way). Travel refreshes your body, mind and soul, which just adds to the reasons why I love it, however because of the force platforms such as, Instagram and perhaps being at the age I am (23) , I feel like there is a massive pressure to travel. And not just go on holiday, but to 'travel'. The latter being a highly romanticised noble quest to chase all the corners of the earth, trekking on the roads of self-discovery and constantly going on action-packed weekend breaks in cultural hot spots. The ’30 under 30’ hash tag , the challenge for individuals to visit 30 countries before they reach the age of 30 encompasses the current appetite towards travel. I seem to have missed the moment where travel became a competition? 

It’s become one of those things like gaining a degree or marriage, where if I haven’t visited Australia, Bali and gone Skiing in the Alps or to a boutique hotel in Santorini by a certain point, then society frowns upon it.

I can’t ignore the fact that I’ve been incredibly fortunate, I’ve travelled to China to study, explored the most of Europe, toured islands in the Caribbean and literally just come back from a week in Cyprus. Admittedly, this is the ultimate #FirstWorldProblem, but one that I have noticed is becoming more and more prominent. The romanticism of travel gives people a false impression of what travel should look like or feel like.  This coupled with the constant reminder through peers on Facebook, influencers on Instagram and companies telling us why we should be travelling more.

I never did a gap year between education and went straight into working life after University, so never got the opportunity to go on a self-discovery cliché break and come back with a pair of Gap Yahhh pants. My obsession with having to travel places all the time was pointed out by a family member a couple of years ago who was concerned about my attitudes towards travelling and questioned why I had to be on a plane going somewhere every second - this being fully understandable as that was the year I had indulged in trips like there was no tomorrow. We now have more affordable modes of transport, more opportunities to travel, more access to information and more ways to book than any generation before us. It is easier to travel the world now, but that doesn't mean I have to hop on 10 flights within a year without thinking why I am doing it but more so because ‘everyone else is doing it’. It became a box ticking exercise more than anything, another experience I could share on Social Media in the hope that amongst all the Travel pictures my feed wouldn't get lost in the thick of it all.

Travel should be exactly what you want from it. Travelling can take lots of different forms whether its frequency, destination or duration, I’ve now learnt to take a step back and think ‘Am I doing this because i want to and not because I’ll feel left out if not?’ There’s no right way or wrong way to travel. Brighton is just as good as Bali and a long weekend is worth just as much a 6 month post-University back packing trip, and whether you’re aimlessly walking the streets or packing in excursion after excursion, whatever works for you and what you’ll get out of it is what matters. 

After a lot of time I’ve learnt not to feel pressured to travel the way that travel is marketed or perceived to be normal. It would always come with a massive FOMO attached to it and leave me feeling extremely bad for not travelling with every spare minute I had. We live in an age of 'Instagram made me do it'. The highlight reel of Social Media shouldn’t rush you and make you desire to be in a position because of what you saw when scrolling. Don’t feel like you’re doing it wrong, or like you’re wasting the opportunity because you are not jetting off on a flight every weekend. Do what you want, and don’t apologise. 

Insta­gram is constantly shaping our expec­ta­tion of trav­el. The masses of Instagram pages are great for inspiration but it cannot be ignored that it creates an unhealthy frame of mind, starts to onset FOMO and has me asking the questions ‘why aren't I travelling that much?'. The white washed buildings of Greece, Pura Penataran Agung Lempuy in Bali and so many more spots attract thou­sands of vis­i­tors every year from every cor­ner of the world to snap the perfect Instagram picture for showcasing on their feed. 346 million pictures in fact - and those are just the ones with #trav­el.   

One funny/sad thing I heard about the “Gates to Heav­en” in Bali (below) is that it is fake. To quote a certain US president, it's 'Fake News'

So, apparently the truth is, this beautiful stretch of water you see is not actually water. Apparently, it's a reflec­tive slate of glass affixed to a phone to give the illu­sion of water. And do we even have to mention 'Fyre Festival'? Instagram has killed life, and not in the good way.

I will always love travel and strive to travel as much as I can given the opportunities, but I am going to be pressured to hop on a flight every time British Airways has a flight sale? Probably not. Am I going to go backpacking in 'gap yahhhh' trousers to claim I've travelled? Probably not. Life is about doing things that make you happy. If you don’t think that backpacking is one of those things then it’s simple: don’t bother with it!

Outfit details 
Bag - Zara (Black 1/2418/304/040/03)
Boots - Primark (similar)

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