Feeling Guilty for Traveling
My perspective in traveling continues to change over the years. This last excursion made me reevaluate what I'm looking for on my vacations.
We're all built differently, but the fantasy of traveling around the world is in many of us. Not all of us want to be culture shocked, or go to completely foreign lands. We all have different perspectives when traveling. Here, I'll be speaking on my own perspectives.
Whenever I go abroad I've always want to be dazzled by new and exciting things, but this has changed in the past few years. I used to think, "what's the point of traveling if you're going to see and hear the same stuff that you're used to?"
So I travelled to various countries, and I have to say that every country has stuff that I can't see or do where I'm from. In my youth wanderlust hit me like a ton of bricks. It didn't help that a lot of my friends were traveling as well. I wanted to check out everything. I had that romantic thought of traveling around the world for work.
I think this all changed when I went to China for the first time. I didn't like the fact that I was this westerner coming to their country without a care in the world. Things were super cheap and I was lapping it up. That is until I noticed that there was a lot of panhandlers all over the streets. There were individuals that were all dirty, missing limbs with burnt flesh begging for money on the streets. It was horrible. I thought about what I was doing, and the guilt took over.
I didn't travel for the longest time after that trip. There were other reasons as to why I stopped traveling, but the guilt was a big issue with me.
Recently, my girlfriend really wanted to go somewhere, and after much to my own dismay, I agreed. I decided to go somewhere with a better socioeconomic situation than China. For the first week I started getting back into it. I was loving it again. After a little more than two weeks into my vacation I started to contemplate my voyage. It wasn't that I wasn't having fun on my trip, but something was different. I talked to my girlfriend and she had similar issues.
We were getting homesick. We wanted to be with our friends and family again. I missed being able to drive my own car and sleep in my own bed. I missed my old routine, my video games, and a good burger. Maybe I've become institutionalized over the years, but I also think that I have it pretty darn good back at home as well.
It's said that it's good to get outside your comfort zone, and I understand why. Too much of a monotonous life can get to my psyche, but I never felt that my life was monotonous. I think by comparison, thrill seekers would find my life monotonous. I enjoyed my life back at home.
It wasn't only the homesickness though. Something else started to build up. I think it was a sense of guilt. There weren't that many homeless people to feel bad about this time. What could be bothering me so much?
Over there I got to see the citizens in their element. I thought this was strange since I don't even want to see my own local citizens in their element. As I went from place to place, I noticed that their citizens were super friendly, and generally their society was much more social than the people at home. Despite the fact that they were more social and inviting, I couldn't help feeling isolated.
I had a sense of missing out on the things my friends and family were doing back at home. I couldn't really talk to them about the discoveries I've seen and experienced, because they were probably sleeping when I was awake. It felt fairly isolating, despite the fact that my girlfriend was there. It was a good thing she was there too because that isolating feeling would have gotten even worse.
I really commend those that travel alone for long periods of time, because I couldn't deal with that kind of isolation. I guess they could be perceived as modern day hermits as the world becomes more and more populated.
I discovered that I need people when I travel. I feel that traveling is a great bonding experience. When you have your friends and family with you as you discover new things, the experience becomes that much better. I was really thankful that I was able to experience the things that I did with my girlfriend, but both of us wished more of our friends and family could experience it with us.
I once stopped traveling because I felt guilty that I was living this luxurious life when the locals were starving and living under dire circumstances. So I traveled to countries with better socioeconomic situations, and yet I feel that same guilt. This time the guilt is that my friends and family can't join me.
I'm damned if I go, and I'm damned if I don't go. Shaking feelings of guilt away isn't so easy. I don't know why I can't just appreciate fine things without worrying about others not being able to experience the same luxuries.
Every time I want to go on a trip it becomes more and more low key. I don't want anyone feeling envy for the things that I'm doing, or looking down on anyone else. I hardly post on social media about my trips, in fact I've even removed some of the pictures that I've posted in the past.
I know I can't let these feelings get in the way of me experiencing the things that I want to experience. I will continue on to check out new places, and hopefully I'll get over it.