I don’t think the term ‘Travel Guilt’ has an official description (yet), so I am going to attempt to describe it in a clear and concise manner.
Travel Guilt is a phrase coined for multiple uses.
1) The acknowledgement that the cost of ones travel are difficult to ‘justify’.
2) The shame felt at moaning about how your next trip is ‘ages away’, when you got back last week.
3) The shame brought on by being so stuck on which destination to go to next, that you book multiple trips in short succession, or even at once.
Let’s first acknowledge that unless travel is your job, despite my best efforts to convince anyone that it’s essential, it apparently remains one of life’s luxuries and should not be a priority.
Travel, holidays, adventures, discoveries – whatever you want to call them, have always been high on my list of priorities. Surely then, it makes sense that a significant proportion of my disposable income gets allocated to funding it. I mean, my liver hasn’t seen any action in a few years now and I came clean of nicotine last year so I barely have any vices these days! Our idea of eating out is to eat on the sofa, rather than the table and I am the queen of accessorizing, would Madame like a few more glitzy bangles with that plain black t-shirt?
So why do I constantly battle travel guilt and feel like I am always justifying our time away? Not only to others at, but also to myself. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard remarks like ‘that looks really expensive, you must be rich’, or ‘you are so lucky to be going there’. Let’s get a few things straight here, expensive is a relative term. What is expensive to one person may be another’s idea of bargainous, it’s not black and white. Secondly, I define lucky as having come across something purely by chance. As yet, we haven’t won, or been given, a single trip. They have all been carefully, planned, budgeted and saved for.
Our travel budget is generally quite healthy, because we have tuned our daily lives to allow us more funds to explore; I drive a diesel car, we watch our utility bills, we shop wisely and don’t splurge on expensive clothes. Talking logically, a meal out for two every week, including drinks, would probably add up to the cost of one holiday over the space of a year. It’s easily done without realising.
We have also grown so much as a couple during our trips! Holidays can be stressful, especially the necessary planning, packing and panicking yet we pull together and always manage to get through it. We enjoy researching together and divvying up the tasks, discussing our hopes and all the things we dream about seeing during out lives together. We share new experiences every time we travel and each new environment allows us to learn a little more about each other, as well as the new world around us. Without my husband, I would never have had the courage to get back in the water and finish my diving course and without me, and my passion to travel, he would never have been on a seaplane or snorkeled a coral reef. Travel brings out the best in both of us, it’s our therapy and our freedom.
Still I go through the same inner battle every time we start trip planning.
At the moment it’s the same issue. We can afford two islands at the opposite end of the financial scale. Having lived a fairly frugal life, and wishing to do as much travelling as we can whilst we are able to, I find myself asking if I can justify the more expensive island? Just because the funds are there does it mean they should be spent? Will I have an even better time because it costs that much more? I have spent so long considering it that I can’t help but feel guilty that this decision is becoming such a big issue. I’m not talking about being evicted from our home or struggling to put food on the table, I think twitter readers would describe it as a #firstworldproblem.
I’m also constantly moaning about the number of days until we head off again, despite having only got back from Egypt ten days ago. The thought of travels keep me going through day to day mundane life. I work to travel, it’s my purpose for getting out of bed every morning and when the countdown has more than three digits, the light at the end of the tunnel seems so very far away. I know I sound like a stuck record to those around me and I suffer an insane amount of jealousy towards anyone with a trip before I go away again. For that, I am sorry.
So, if you aren’t a lover of travel but can hear yourself coming out with the comments above, please take a minute to consider the plight of those addicted to traveling the world. We do struggle sometimes over the amount we spend, we do feel bad for moaning about where to go and we also feel bad about our restlessness during the big countdown! Just to help pass the time, I’m off to investigate some more destinations…………….