I am thinking about this subject for a pretty long time. In a nutshell – is the effort, time, money invested in travel worth it in the end?
A short list that should explain why travel is bad –
- plane tickets are expensive, and let’s be honest flying is not the great experience touted up to be (I might change this point once a Concorde II comes to market)
- flying is tiring, security checks are extremely annoying (yes, you Dutch security that took my Mexican salsa sauce!)
- food on the airplane – I cannot decide if it’s best not to have any or ask for a complete ice cream meal
- accommodation-wise – it is so tiring to move from place to place, sleep in a bed not your own, browse Lonely Planet in search of that perfect hostel or guesthouse. Not to mention – how to decide which is more cost-effective and better between a 5 USD guesthouse and a 6 USD guesthouse?
- the people you meet on the road – it is so tiring to always meet new people, keep track of names / e-mails / Facebook id’s! And isn’t it so much nicer to have a nice quiet dinner at home instead of cooking communal food or go partying ? Not to mention using English, French and Spanish sometimes in the same phrase. Lastly – if you are unhappy with your job, or rent, or car payments how can you listen to all the tales of months and months of traveling? A lot of people are so irresponsible in trying to skirt the corporate grind…
- food – whether it’s called Montezuma’s revenge, Delhi belly or pharaoh’s curse, sooner or later all the nasty local food will make you sick. And if you escape this danger, you are still stuck with ordering in sign-language, eating food so spicy that it makes your eyes water and confusing desserts with main meals and vice-versa. How can people live without pre-packaged pre-cooked deep-freezed delicious supermarket food?
- money – let’s forget for a moment that traveling is expensive, and it’s far more economical to stay home and watch TV or go in the nature and have a delicious bbq on the side of the highway – but how can you keep track of pesos, kronas, dongs (seriously) and countless other currencies? It’s hard enough to keep track of euros and lei’s (and the ever-changing exchange rate)
- traffic – whether it’s a crazy mass of cars, motorbikes, elephants and bicycles on the same road (at the same time), or streets so empty that you remember fondly the speeding cars back home – it’s a dangerous chaos. And always remember – there are still countries in which people drive on the wrong side of the road. Or they disregard completely the concept of lanes.
- maps, directions, compass, asking for directions, public transport – oh, this can be a post in itself! From public transport that tries to freeze the passengers (I’m thinking about you Bangkok BTS!), maps that are not written in English, rickshaws, psychedelic-painted tuk-tuks or the least advanced of transportation methods: walking. People have invented cars for a reason – to to get slowly from place to place in a pleasant manner. Or sometimes get stuck in traffic.
- activities – some people travel in order to experience scuba diving, hiking, mountain climbing, snorkeling or the ultimate activity: lay in a hammock on a deserted beach. But this is self-delusional – every place on earth was already visited, and Discover, National Geographic and BBC have made movies (in HD nonetheless!) about every activity imaginable. So it is far more relaxing to sit in a comfortable armchair and watch “Oceans” on a big 200″ TV set.
- there are a lot more things that should convince any sane, hard working people, that traveling is a weird thing to do. However one last thing needs special mention – foreign people. First of all – from TV everyone knows the world is a dangerous place. Everywhere there are wars, drug problems, kidnappings, robberies and so on. It’s not only more sensible but also safer to just stay at home. And even if you manage to escape all the dangers on the road, you still have to cope with people staring at you, asking for your name, trying to chat with you or wanting to have their pictures taken with you. You start to miss the anonymity of riding the subway to work – where everybody avoids eye contact and there is an air of professionalism (no one is smiling – so they must be very serious!)
I hope this list of things clearly show the folly of traveling.
And now, I’m back to searching for some plane tickets for my next adventure.
Oh, and the necessary disclaimer: the whole article is written with a heavy dose of irony. Except me searching for tickets.