Is social media setting unrealistic travel goals? Travel costs money and whether you find it expensive or you don’t isn’t the point here. The point is travel costs money. It’s also true that most people I know in the travel space have worked hard to afford to travel. However, working hard is not the only factor that will enable you to travel. I have thought about it and realized that the actual reality of travel falls but is not limited to the following categories:
1. The true reality of responsibilities: The true reality is that some people want to travel but have tonnes of financial obligations that hinder them from traveling. Do not let me get started on raising children, especially if you are a single parent. How about those that pay school fees for their siblings? How about those that have student loans? How about those that pay medical bills for their family members? These aspects costs not only cost lots of money, but they are also a priority. The list is rather long, but this is the reality of some people’s lives. I have come across single parents that afford to travel, but most can’t always afford to travel. It’s somewhat difficult to ensure you travel with such responsibilities on your back and I only realize that telling people in such positions to work hard to travel is exhausting. It’s not fair to say to someone to work hard while I have almost zero responsibilities and no student loans worrying me.
2. The true reality having a source of income: Most people will tell you they save a lot to afford to travel which is accurate. For you to travel, you need to save , save and save some more. However, what are you going to save if you do not have the money to save? Do not get me started on anyone that is jobless or was recently rendered unemployed. What if your source if income is just enough to allow you to survive? What if your source of income only allows you to live hand to mouth? At this point then what do you save? Having a source of income that allows me and the next traveler to travel is a privilege because it means I can fund my basic needs for survival and still save some to travel.
P.S I am side-eyeing anyone that spend all their weekends on bottles of champagnes and expensive whiskeys and chics that rock 600 USD human hair but still ask me how I can afford to travel. Buddy, the amount you spend the last eight weekends is enough to get me a flight ticket. Sit down.
3.The true reality of having a head start: Some travelers come from wealthy families, and they are privileged enough to afford to travel. Listen, such people, travel business class and stay in 5-star hotels and have no business reading a budget travel blog like this one. Does this mean we should not respect them as travelers? NO. It means they are privileged, good for them, the rest of us though, we have to find a way to make it work, like subscribing and reading budget travel blogs like this one. hehe. That was a shameless plug.
4. The true reality of being a digital nomad: These are full-time travelers, and I have nothing but mad respect to full-time travelers leading the digital nomad life. These travelers practically live out of their suitcase. Some sold all the assets they had to travel, some saved for years to afford to sustain their lives, and some were struggling with little to no money before they become successful travelers that make a living working online or creating content. How can I not respect such people? These are the risk takers of the travel community. Can you imagine quitting your job, selling all your belongings and leaving your current life to live on the road? Those Instagram pictures do not tell the struggles, the hard work, and persistence of these people. Instagram travel pictures look cute but do you know what this person has gone through to get where he or she is currently? Are you willing to do the same? By the way, most of the content creators that make enough money to travel the world full time are not from Africa. Yes, we have content creators of African descent, but most of them are either dual passport holders, were raised outside Africa or live outside the African continent. Please note the use of most as I do not know every single black content creator that is paid to travel.
I am yet to meet an African, born and raised and based in Africa that quit their job to travel the world full time and they are making money out of it. I am not saying they are less African or it’s impossible as an African, I am saying that it’s not a common thing to tell your African parents that broke their backs to take you to school that you are quitting your 8 to 5 to travel the world. With that said, I firmly believe it’s possible for Africans to become a full time paid content creators on the road, it’s just that we are not there yet.
Finally, with all that I have said, much respect to all travelers that work several jobs to afford to travel. God knows these travelers get accused of having sponsors or blessers, having wealthy fathers or engaging in “immoral” activities to provide to travel. I have been accused of this too, but I do not care because I know the truth. So my dear travelers, keep working hard and giving us that travel FOMO. Let’s not forget our privilege though. Do not tell people that everyone can travel. It is a lie because not everyone is in a position to travel.
So what’s the point of this post you ask? That the next time someone asks me how I afford to travel, I will think about all these factors and accept that I work hard, struggle to make money to travel and most importantly realize that life’s circumstances have allowed me to travel.
And to that person that works hard and wants to travel but the reality of life cannot let you travel, do not beat yourself up, there are a lot of factors that determine whether you can travel or not and whether you believe it or not, your hard work will one day pay off.