Why we shouldn't pretend that everybody can just quit their jobs and travel...

La Esperanza, Ecuador, South America
These men (the one on the right, not me) were collected from their home and taken around Ecuador in a truck to build roads such as this one. They did not know how long they would be away from their families.


Maybe I'm just feeling bitter because I can't travel right now and maybe this article will be a little controversial, but I feel that among the chorus of bloggers telling people to give up their mundane lives and see the world, we've neglected to acknowledge our own privilege. Although many of us work hard for the freedom to travel, it's impossible to pretend that our opportunities are open to everyone...


Lake Titicaca, Isla del Sol, Bolivia
Indigenous women and children in Bolivia.


Some of our luck is down to family and friends. I always had the option of staying with them while I saved, calling in an emergency or returning home if funds dwindled down to zero. My friends have lent me their sofas when I've rocked up at their doorways (mostly Bryony, thank-you!) and occasionally helped me out when I've found myself unstuck abroad. Above all, nearly everyone in my life has been supportive. It's possible to travel without this safety blanket, but leaving takes a good deal more bravery and commitment. 


Secondly, the people of Britain are comparatively privileged. Travel is considered a normal right of passage for many young adults, women are relatively liberated, the pound is strong and we have one of the most powerful passports in the world. We are also (currently) lucky enough to be a part of the European Union. This gives us 28 countries who's borders we can automatically cross without need of a visa; we can even live and work in them without legal issues if we have the opportunity. Imagine being born in North Korea.


Huaraz, Peru
Me and a friend hiking in Peru.


Even within the relatively wealthy nation of Britain, poverty and responsibilities make the idea of long term travel unthinkable for many. High rent and food prices compared to the minimum wage make it nearly impossible to save if you have a low paid job and dependants. Though I've met a few truly inspirational families, including one small troupe of French circus performers who were cycling their way North through the Americas, maintaining a consistent education for your children must be difficult if you aren't knowledgeable in vital areas yourself. Sometimes I barely have the confidence to set out on an adventure alone, let alone take children with me, so I admire those who are brave enough to take their families.


Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia
A man fishing in Bolivia.


So, I'm not going to patronise you all by saying you could be just like me if you really put your minds to it. I don't know who you are. Life is complicated and some things are more important than travel.


Rant over. 



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