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Travel Envy – The side to travel blogging that nobody talks about!

Travel envy is a real thing; while much of travel blogging, travel photography and the nomadic lifestyle is an incredibly positive experience, there are always some people that can’t quite wrap their head around the idea. Whether it’s a flippant comment, an ignorant question or just downright rudeness; every travel blogger is faced with negativity eventually.

Well, it all comes with the territory I’m afraid, and if travel blogging is something you’re considering as a long term career, coping with the good, the bad, and the ugly will, sooner or later, become a part of every day life.

So why give a travel blogger a hard time?

I can’t imagine why out of all the photos that clog our news feeds, it appears as though travel photos are what makes people so angry/sad/annoyed.

I suppose it’s really confusing for us because we’ve always seen travel photos as a source of inspiration, especially when we’re looking to plan our next trip. Actually, did you know that approximately 52% of people choose their next vacation spot based on seeing their friends photos online?

The truth is, I think a lot of bitterness comes from an unjustified feeling of helplessness. People often wrongly write things off as impossible and become embittered towards those in more fortunate positions; looking in on a life that feels completely out of reach. The thing is, for the vast majority of us, a life of travel is 100% within reach (more on that later), all it takes is a change of mind-set and an adaptation of lifestyle.

Our experience:

We’ve had a long time to think about this one, my fellow travel lovers, so here are our top 4 reasons why people will give you a hard time for travelling too much! – (and why it doesn’t matter!)

(1) They think you’re made of money and/or wasting money.

“How do you afford to travel all these places?”

This question always makes me laugh.. Since when was it ok to ask people about what they can afford? Can you imagine if we turned around and said, “How come you CAN’T afford to travel?” Yeah… bye bye friendship..

To give a real answer though – they’re wrong on both counts. I discovered that traveling was my passion a while ago and made a conscious decision to spend all my time and money on experiences abroad. This, of course, meant cutting back on expenses at home (this meant no new clothes, no going out for dinners, no partying, no fancy new cars) – but hey, $200 on a boozy night out? Or a flight? I can tell you there’s no contest.

While my peers and I work roughly the same hours and make about the same amount of money, our life experiences are worlds apart because of the daily choices we make.

We put very little value on owning material possessions and focus our attention on new experiences instead, and we’re extremely happy living that way. In fact, it’s actually been proven that this makes people happier!

I admit, it does take money to travel and not everyone has the same disposable income. But, if travel means as much to you as it does to us, there are always ways to make trips happen. Especially now with the rise of internet platforms such as Couchsurfing (meet and stay with locals for free from around the world), Grabr (make money while you travel) and the enormous amount of other ways you can make money while traveling the world – there’s just no good reason not to (if it’s what you really want).

(2) They literally can’t relate to your way of life.

“Why are you always gone?”
“Isn’t it tiring?”
“But… it’s so FAR… was it worth it?”
First of all, there are no right answers to the questions I’m constantly asked by friends who don’t seem to “get” my lifestyle. And, likewise, I really struggle to understand theirs. A 4 hour road trip on the weekend is as baffling to them as their 4 hour Netflix binge is to me, but I don’t question their motives or the reasoning behind THEIR actions. At the end of the day, each to their own!

 (3) They think you’re bragging.

Isn’t social media in its entirety one giant platform for bragging? That’s what it seems like anyway. All the baby photos, the food pics, the status updates about a new job/car/partner, showing off your engagement ring, your graduation/wedding/new home photos… what ISN’T a brag?! Seems like if you’re that easily offended it’s probably a good idea to stay off social media. Or just unfollow me :D.

We’re also just passionate about travelling and passionate about photography. We share pictures because we enjoy sharing beautiful places with our friends and hope to inspire them to get outdoors. If we can get just one person off their couch and into the mountains with our content then we’ll consider ourselves a success.

(4) Your photos make them feel bad about themselves.

Ahh, social comparison. We all do it. And if you say you don’t, you’re either doing it subconsciously or you’re lying. It’s the way humans are programmed and the only way to tell how well you’re doing in life, isn’t it? I think the best phrase I’ve heard recently is, “losers focus on winners, winners focus on winning”. If we all focused a little more on our own lives, and living to the fullest, I think we’d all feel a lot more fulfilled.

The problem with social comparison on social media is that we only ever see our friends’ highlight reels. A bombardment of achievements clutters your news feed on a daily basis, and if you’re having a crappy day (or month) you’re going to end up feeling pretty shitty when you look at it. If my friend has recently lost her job and she logs onto Facebook to see photos of me exploring waterfalls in Bali, what’s going to happen? She’ll probably feel even worse about herself and probably resent me just a little bit.

My takeaway from all this?

Most importantly, yes these are issues you’re probably going to face, but it is 100% worth it if it’s in the pursuit of something amazing. We live in an incredible time where traveling can be a career. People reject what they don’t understand and there’s no sense in becoming embittered by it or brought down by negativity. Educate where possible and enlighten those willing to view the world and its possibilities from a different perspective.

If traveling makes you happy, then please don’t stop.

If you’ve taken some incredible photos while you were gone, please share them – Because there are people on your feed, like me, who love seeing them and who support you.

and if your friends get jealous or angry about it – find better friends!

Befriend other travelers. I’ve found that the more travel bloggers and photographers I encounter on Facebook, the more travel-friendly my feed becomes. This is the kind of energy that’s good for you. Happy Travels!

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    In my experience, there are some people so burdened by financial troubles and psychological issues that they are driven to thoughts of violence or suicide by travel envy, and professional help (mainly mind-altering medications and facile comfort words from what I’ve seen) can only do so much when the real root of the problem is that some people are simply too damaged; too emotionally underdeveloped and too disadvantaged by circumstances to take responsibility for their own lives or even to move on and find promise for significant travel experiences, no matter how much they work – and that’s just assuming they get descent jobs. Thus they live in perpetual misery and bitterness when they look at the lives of a relatively emotionally well-fed middle-class traveler like yourself. Forgive me, but this article – understandably – sounds more akin to an apologists dismissive description of the issue. But then again, I’m sure I sound like the kind of person you didn’t write this article for.

    • Robin Tuck says:

      Thanks for your comment. I totally understand your response to this post and you appear to have touched on our greatest fear that it may have come across as conceited, elitist or dismissive. This was a fairly light hearted article about the things one might come across when one embarks on what one might consider a decadent and ultra unconventional career and wasn’t really intended to touch on any deeper issues in society (of which we’re abundantly aware). I suppose, having a rough idea of our readership demographic, it’s fair to say that it was a somewhat targeted article to a certain group that may be realistically considering the opportunity to consider travel blogging as a profession. With that came assumptions about the circles they travel in and the people they may connect with on a daily basis. It wasn’t intended to trivialise or make light of more serious barriers that may cause the animosity and violence you mentioned.

      I agree that there are deeper issues that may make travel blogging a source of frustration and anger, but I would also say that that argument could be applied to many situations where people with less look unfavourably towards people with more; whether that be travel, money, beauty, freedom of expression etc. etc. I feel like you could substitute those words fairly interchangeably in your comment. To my mind, this is the nature of the world we live in, and as this animosity isn’t only specific to travel blogging per se, we felt like it was kind of a moot point to make.

      Perhaps given your comments, I will make some amendments that address this, and I appreciate the feedback. I agree that this is a typical apologist article, which in some ways was designed to stir some controversy, but it was never my intention for it to come across as dismissive of those that may be in less fortunate positions. The real aim of the article wasn’t to produce an exhaustive list, rather it was designed to show that this glamorised and rose tinted view that people have of travel blogging isn’t necessarily 100% accurate and that fantastic as it may be, it’s not without its downsides. I think it’s a good idea that people know what they’re getting into and to know that it may alienate people unexpectedly. The nitty gritty of how it offends different people was really for illustrative purposes, although perhaps we could have made our point better.

      Thanks for your feedback and we really welcome constructive feedback and criticism that opens a dialogue. Any intelligent comments are always welcome, so don’t feel like you need the protection of anonymity!

      Cheers,

      Rob

  2. James says:

    I think the expectations that society imposes on us is the main reason as to why people act like this. There is this illusion that one must constantly be working and bee seen working in other to be perceived as a competent adult or something like that. It’s really worrying that so many people around the world have such a tied-down mentality.

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