Travel Health: How to Handle Travel Shaming

You’ve been bitten by the bug, swept up into wanderlust and become an avid traveller. You’ve worked hard, saved up and made extra spending money to be able to indulge in your hobby. You try and get away as often as you can as a budget traveller or love to live in luxury on one big vacation. Maybe your are the kind of traveller that spends time researching and planning your trips, or enjoys the excitement and mysteries of last minute getaways. When you travel, you explore new places, learn historical facts, enjoy new foods, meet wonderful local people, take part in exhilarating activities, discover alternative viewpoints, admire beautiful vistas, engage with nature and return a wiser person. You love to share your experiences in real life and online with your friends, family and colleagues.

And then you get travel shamed.

“You always seem to be travelling – don’t you ever work?”

“You must be wasting lots of money if you are off on holiday again

“You should stop travelling, grow up and settle down. When are you going to buy a property and get married?”

“Why would you want to ever leave this country?”

“You are being brainwashed by social media; no one will employ you if you leave your career to go travelling.”

Suddenly you feel crushed, that travelling is ‘wrong’ and you are a disappointment to those you love and respect. It’s soul destroying.

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How can you get over this?

It is important to understand why this person may have said this to you. There could be several reasons:

  1. They most likely have different values to you. They might enjoy spending their time and money on other things, such as decorating their home, spoiling their children or playing golf. You may not agree on how they live their life but choose not to offend them, however because they value a more traditional lifestyle or conform more than you do, they express this by challenging what you value more, which is travel.
  2. They may be genuinely concerned about your spending, safety or future career due to your hobby of travel. People do love to meddle on other people’s affairs and have opinions about everyone and everything.
  3. They may have their own issues, they really could be jealous of your lifestyle or they would actually like to do what you do, but are scared to or cannot afford it.
  4. They could be frightened that you will be tempted to leave them for good and they are worried about losing a friend, family member or partner.

The person may just have a differing opinion, is trying to express care for you or they have their own personal issues with your choice of free time pursuit.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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There are several different ways to respond to the travel shaming comment.

Here’s a few suggestions to try:

  1. Try to explain to the person about why you value travel more than they do, and why they may value other activities they enjoy doing. Describe to them all the benefits that travel gives you, and how it makes you feel.
  2. Reassure the person that you are not getting into debt, have adequate insurance, are aware of tourist scams, and are not jeopardising your career prospects. You can explain how you finance your travels, researched each destination’s level of crime and can add various new skills to your resume.
  3. Ask them what it is that makes them dislike your love for travel? Question their motives and possible insecurities that they are projecting onto you. You could help them get over their issues and lead to a deeper relationship if they admit why they felt the need to demean you.
  4. Reassure the person that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and even if you are off exploring new places you will return home to them. It could be that they just need a hug and a commitment.

If the person continues to make negative comments, you can then:

  1. Respond by saying “I understand that we may not agree on this issue, however I would appreciate it if you would respect my personal life choices” and leave it at that, if you can.
  2. Ignore them. It can be powerful to say nothing at all in return.
  3. Change the subject to one you both agree on or something completely neutral.

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Have a think over the outcome of your response to the shaming and once you have had time to digest you may be able to make some decisions. This may require making some changes such as:

  1. Actions speak louder than words. Whisk the person away on a surprise break! They might find that once they try it, they too will become addicted to travel.
  2. Make sure that you surround yourself with positive supportive people. If this person continues to call you out on your choice to travel then spend less time with them or cut them out completely. This may be very hard but it is worth it.
  3. Connect with like minded people through Meetup groups, social media and when you are travelling! They will surely restore your energy, self-esteem and desire to set off on a new adventure. After all, the famous quote from Rumi says “When setting out on a journey do not seek advice from those who have never left home”.

With these tools in your defence you will be able to tackle any negative comments about your love for wandering the world again.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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