12 March 2017

Reddit Travel Rants, No. 3: Wannabe Travelers and a Case of Sour Grapes

This doesn't happen often. But sometimes, there are people who say that they want to travel, yet all they can do is find excuses why they cannot travel. Like how their citizenship means that they have to apply for visas every time they want to travel. Like how there's racism everywhere and they are not white. Like how it is not safe out there. Like they don't have money. Like they don't know the language. So they whine and complain about this online, and tell the world that it must be nice if you're White, Westerner, have a powerful passport, and have money, because you don't need to deal with these "problems" and can travel the world. It must be nice.

To these people I call bullshit.

First of all, passport power means nothing. Sure, the world is not created equal. Some passports are more powerful in the sense that one doesn't need to apply for a visa beforehand and can simply show up at the border and they would be let in. But nevertheless even the weakest passports have places one can visit without a visa. And so what if there is a visa requirement? Then apply and apply correctly, and chances are if you have done the application correctly, then you will get the visa.

Second, just because there is racism doesn't mean that being White is automatically an advantage. Heck, the fact that I am Asian actually became beneficial for me because it allowed me to blend it easier with the locals when I was in Central and South America. I have friends who are Caucasians who limit their travels to Europe because they think that it would be hard for them to travel in other parts of the world.

Third, sure there are places that are unsafe. But one can learn how to behave in unfamiliar cities, and the majority of people travel with no incident. I have been to "dangerous" places like Guatemala and Iran, but honestly, the crime that I have encountered was not there, but rather in Berlin, where I live in.

Fourth, money is important. And travel is a privilege, not a right. You need money to travel, so if you want to travel, save money. If you want money for something else, then don't whine saying it must be nice that you can travel and I cannot.

Fifth, the language issue should not hinder one from traveling. Pack a phrasebook. I have traveled to so many places where I didn't speak the language, and I had fun. I didn't know Armenian, Georgian, Farsi, Burmese, yet I was able to navigate myself in these places and enjoy my stay.

The thing is, sometimes the hindrance to travel isn't external sources, but oneself. Sometimes, people say that they want to travel, yet they come up with all of these contrived reasons why they think they cannot travel, when in fact, these reasons are all in their heads. So if you feel like whining because you think you cannot travel, don't blame the people who actually do travel. Don't guilt trip travelers by saying it must be nice that you have a powerful passport, that you are a Westerner, that you have money, and so on. Because seriously, if you think you cannot travel, it's not because of the travelers, but because of yourself.


  1. I have a personal policy: I refuse to chat about "places I could totally go to" with people too lazy to apply for a passport. I'm sorry but unless you're from North Korea or live in a failed state, you have ZERO excuse.

    1. Zhu,

      I wonder how common it is for Canadians to not have a passport. In the USA it is very common and I have personally met some people in western NY who don't have a passport and haven't even stepped outside its borders. I wonder how common that is in Canada as well.