Why I Can’t Convince You to Travel

Harlem Cake

Million dollar cake in Harlem

Are you familiar with the street solicitors that hang out in NYC’s busiest quarters (i.e. Times Square, Union Square, etc.)? If not, they are the persistent, charismatic folks who solicit passers-by to donate money to non-profit campaigns or to sign up for a city bus tour. In my argument to convince you to travel, I feel like one of those solicitors. You might stop and listen to my spiel, but you may have no intention of following through with a donation or in this case, travel plans. You might give me your email address for me to follow up, but will anything really come of that?

No matter what kind of polarizing stories or photos show up on here, will it ever be enough to taunt you, make you feel like you’re missing out, woo you of an exotic elsewhere? What if I shake you to the ground screaming ‘TRAVEL DAMNIT!”?

What will make you take action? What will make you get on the plane? With each passing day, I become more unsure, but I will not surrender my position. I will continue doing my best to make you jealous enough to go out and have your own adventures, but the rest is up to you.

The Art of Non-Conformity - Chris Guillebeau

In Chris Guillebeau’s book, The Art of Non-Conformity, he touches on shaping one’s lifestyle around travel, if that’s what one truly wants, stating, “see you on the other side.” Have you heard the catchphrase “once you go mac, you never go back”? It refers to Apple/Mac products, of course. I’d argue something similar holds true for travel. Once you’ve traveled for 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years, it’s difficult to go back to your old comfort zone, and for some, travel becomes so embedded in who they are, they strive to build their new life around it.

The way my mind envisions such a scenario is vivid. I’m standing on one side of a wall, a liquid forcefield if you will. I can stick my hand through and peer at the life I once had. The safety net of a stable job, regular routine, and social outings is always there if I want to go back, but I won’t, at least for another 5-10 years. On the other side of this forcefield, I see my friends. The friends who, through long-winded emails and social media comments, sometimes desperately plea to help get their travel wishes off the ground. The difference is that, to them, the forcefield feels like unbreakable glass composed of unfair excuses. It keeps them boxed in, holds them back. What they don’t realize, however, is that they’re standing in front of the same liquid forcefield that I can reach through. They just have to jump. I can lend a hand to pull them through, but if traveling isn’t a priority, they’ll never make it to the other side.

“Curiosity is much too individual a trait to take directions.” ~Florent Chavouet

Travel style and places of intrigue are unique to the individual. Reading blog posts and studying destination guides are all well and good, but no matter how many stories, tips, and advice you research, they are not your own. Eventually, you have to go out and see the world so many people are talking about for yourself. Information in print becomes outdated at lightning speed so the only way to stay current is to move your five senses around the world as frequently as possible. I cannot convince you or help you travel if you’re not willing.

Even now as I’m writing to you, I feel as though my efforts are going to waste. My creative material has run dry, and I need you to pick up where I left off. I joke that I have few online readers because people are out creating their own path of adventures instead. I’d like to think this is true, but I also know many are hiding quietly behind computer screens immersed in “one day” wishes. To those who are listening, I’ll say that to take the risk costs $1,000 but you reap the rewards. To let another opportunity go by also costs $1,000 but leaves behind regret. Either way, it will cost you, so you may as well go for it.

So, what’s it going to be?

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