Opinion

Wait…You’re Only Travelling for 3 Months?

When I think about my future, I see travel. The kind of travel where if I find a place I like, I can stay in that one place for a few months until I feel the need to move on.

Most of my friends that want to travel, however, see themselves doing shorter trips.

To be honest, I was under the impression that that’s how most people travelled – I’ve met tonnes of people who took a month off work to travel around Thailand, or Bali –  but one of my friends told me recently that she felt as though she was supposed to want to travel forever because all the backpackers that she seemed to meet were long-term travellers.

She felt as though people thought it was lame that she didn’t want to backpack her way through her twenties.

To be honest, some people probably do think that.

There are plenty of seasoned backpackers who look down on those who are just travelling for a couple of months, and drone on about the differences between a ‘tourist’ and a ‘traveller.’

But those people are jerks. 

You see, it doesn’t matter if you want to travel for a month, a year, or 10 years.

All travel is travel.

travel

My first trip to Asia was only 5 weeks long. It still counted! – Phuket, April 2015.

I’ve met people who save up their work holidays so that they can travel for one month each year, through one country. I’ve met people who constantly take long weekends in European cities, scouting out the best deals so that they can go on multiple trips while holding down a job at home. I’ve met people that have loved long-term travel so much that they’ve bought bars and hostels thousands of miles away from home. I’ve met people that have gone to work in Australia because they want to live as an expat as opposed to a backpacker.

Do you know what all of these people have in common?

They are all travellers. 

A 30-year-old backpacker who’s spent 10 years in dorm rooms, growing his dreadlocks and smoking weed might not see you as a ‘real traveller’ if you want to take shorter trips, but you’re going to get elitist people in every walk of life.

I was in a bar on Koh Rong a couple of months ago, and a girl that had been living in Sihanoukville was talking to a guy about how Otres Beach is ‘so elite that it’s not even in the guidebooks,’ and that ‘it’s a very select few hippies that go,’ implying that the average tourist is not cool enough to even hang out there.

Give me a break. 

If you travel because you want to be ‘elite’ and go somewhere that isn’t mainstream just for the sake of being different, then you’re an arsehole. Likewise, if you think that you’re a ‘better’ backpacker, just because you’ve slept in a dirtier dorm room, or not washed your hair in a month, you’re also an arsehole.

I met a Swedish girl in Cambodia named Victoria, and she was the total opposite of what you’d expect a backpacker to be. When she went to see Angkor Wat at sunrise, she woke up at 3am to curl her hair and put on full makeup. She wore a floor-length red dress to play beer pong.

I’m sure ‘real backpackers,’ whatever they are, would have turned their noses up at her for being so glam, but I thought she was fabulous. 

If you ‘only’ want to travel for 3 months because your priorities are being around your family, getting a promotion, and living in a nice apartment, then good on you. (I wrote more about that here).

You don’t have to be a long-term traveller to have amazing experiences and visit incredible countries.

Everyone is different.

Those people that brag about having been to 70 countries, or having no pages left in their passports, or not visiting home in 6 years, are no better than a girl that goes to Thailand for 8 weeks in between university semesters.

You don’t have to travel for years on end to be a proper traveller.

In reality, very few people do that.

Travel your way, nobody else’s.

moroc

First time out of Europe – Morocco, 2014.

What do you think? Have you met people that have looked down on you for not travelling long-term? Share your experiences with me in the comments below!

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Reena | Just24Days.com
    April 1, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Great post! Most people don’t have huge amounts of time to travel but you can still immerse yourself in a new location, culture or country, even with a short trip!

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 1, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Agreed! And some people wouldn’t WANT to take such long trips! Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Reply
    Marvi
    April 1, 2017 at 11:47 am

    very interesting read! i agree on so many points. we can be the traveller that we wan’t to be and not be guided by how our peers, our family or the people we meet thinks. 🙂

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 1, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Exactly! 😀 <3 Thanks for commenting and I'm glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    April 1, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Right on travel sister!!! I feel like there isno
    Wrong way to travel as long as you do what makes you happy. I always try tocome from a place oflove and not judgement.

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      Amen!!!

  • Reply
    Dani
    April 1, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Ahh i love this so much. I hate it when people immediately think they’re a better traveller because they’ve been somewhere longer or they’ve stayed in hostels the whole time and you’ve stayed in hotels. I wish the comparing would stop and we could all just travel happily alongside one another.

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 1, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Exactly – we’re all travellers so there’s no need for all the competition and point scoring!

  • Reply
    Nina
    April 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Yep, you have to do whatever YOU want not what’s cool or what others say. I’ve been abroad and traveling for six years but I go really slow and live in countries. When people hear I’ve been traveling for so long and they think of a few countries to ask if I’ve been to and I tell them I haven’t been there yet, they look at me with disbelief. OMG what?! you haven’t been to like every country on earth in six years?! Uhm, no dude. hopefully, I don’t die tomorrow, and if I don’t that country will be there for when I do want to go see it. K thanks bye! haha. Do whatever makes you happy 🙂

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 1, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Hahaha people are a bit like that with me as well! I lived in Cambodia for almost a year, and every other country that I’ve visited in SE Asia has never been for less than a month! It’s not for everyone and I definitely understand why some people prefer shorter trips but it works for me 🙂

  • Reply
    Katie @ Zen Life and Travel
    April 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    YES!!! I was so happy to read this! I’m so sick of seeing articles about the difference between tourists and “real travelers” – it’s so stupid! Those people need to get over themselves…Anyways, glad I’m not the only one who thinks that way. The other thing that struck me about your article is how shitty vacation time is here in the US – you talk about people saving up their vacation to travel for a month…that would be an insane luxury here. It’s hard to get most employers to let you take 2 weeks off at once.

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Oh god, I haven’t seen any of those articles but I think they’d make me so mad haha. And yeah, see I’m not sure what vacation time is in the UK as I’m self-employed so I can just disappear as and when I please haha but I’ve met a lot of people from, for example, Belgium, France and Germany who take a month each summer to do a trip!

  • Reply
    Jennifer Schlueter
    April 1, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Great post! SO agreeing with you 🙂
    Loved your example with the fabulous Swedish backpacker – whatever floats your boat…
    I’ve had a lot of people not understanding my decision to become a digital nomad. Some were weirded out, others fully accepted it, loved it, but told me that it wasn’t for them. Which is how I’d love all conversations to go 😉

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      Haha, she was great – she’s still on the road over a year later! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    Ellis
    April 1, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Great post and I absolutely agree. I see myself as a traveller, but the longest trip I made was 3 months. I lived and worked abroad as an expat, but I dont count that as travelling. That was work. I never got into the counting of countries I have been to. I get that question a lot tough and still I can not answer it. I travel to places because they interest me, not because I want to be different.

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Exactly, if you only travel to count countries then – and I hate to say it but – you’re doing it wrong! Haha.

  • Reply
    Alice Chen
    April 1, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I love this! Everyone definitely has a different style. The thing about hostels is that many travelers ARE long-term travelers, and it makes you feel bad! I met a guy who had been staying at a hostel for four months, and my entire trip wasn’t even going to be that long! Comparison is the thief of joy, though.

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      I know, my friend is coming to the end of a 3 month trip to SE Asia and she felt really bad that she was “only” travelling for 3 months – but hey – 3 months is still a long time and MORE than enough time to have a great trip!

  • Reply
    ARIANA DEL RIO
    April 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    true you will find elitists and assholes everywhere. The thing is, if you are encountering them, they are mirroring something back to you that you need to see to grow. Maybe they are showing you what you don’t want be. Maybe they are helping you solidify your identity. part-time traveler. traveler who washes and brushes hair. traveler that is already taking a risk just by immersing themselves in something unfamiliar. I don’t mind encountering an asshole here or there. Actually reminds me of why I am here, because we have to slowly begin outnumbering them and spreading more love and positivity into the world. Cheers!

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      That’s a really good point, and an interesting view! Thanks 😀

  • Reply
    Khansa
    April 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    I really liked this post for few reasons
    Firstly, each person is entitled to their definition of being a traveller
    Second, you have put that in to a perfect article.
    And third, this isn’t just about travel, but everything in life from being a mom to a fashionista. It’s upto each person to decide what they want to do, and how they want to do it so long as they are not harming anyone. Thanks for a great writeup

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Exactly! As the saying goes – each to their own 🙂 thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Leigh
    April 1, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    “My first trip to Asia was only 5 weeks long”

    I can tell you are not American, haha! Our vacations are in increments of days, not weeks or months. I didn’t take my first two-week vacation until well into my 30’s!!! I am planning for 6 months of travel later this year and wondering if I will get bored.

    But you’re right – to each his own! I don’t worry about what other people think or do, I can only be me 🙂

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Haha! Yeah, I know that 5 weeks is a looong time for a holiday, I just meant that compared to the other backpackers that I met, it was nothing!
      And I don’t think you’ll get bored 😉

  • Reply
    Kaisa Lee
    April 1, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    This post was literally so empowering! I feel like what makes travel and the people you meet traveling awesome is the diversity in experiences. I mean, that’s WHY we travel to foreign lands for crying out loud!

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Haha, I’ve never been called empowering before – thanks! 😀 And yesss, you are so right about the diversity!

  • Reply
    Alissa
    April 1, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    There is so much elitism in the travel sphere, it’s ridiculous. I think travel blogging fuels the elitism a fair bit as well – especially in those posts that tell everyone that the only way to live is to quit your job and travel the world indefinitely. But A lot of travelers and bloggers forget that this is not an option for everyone. Let alone 2 or 3 months of travel at a time, in the US to get 2 full WEEKS of vacation in a year is a luxury, and there are plenty of people who can’t afford or are unable to to even take 2 weeks off. I agree with your post and perspective that people need to get off their high horses about travel because all travel is travel, regardless of the length of the trip or how “authentic” of a traveler the person thinks they are. And I also think that people who talk about travel (travelers/travel writers) need to be cognizant that everyone’s situation is different and that not everyone can travel!

    hehe end rant! Thanks for sharing this post!!

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Amen!!!

  • Reply
    Ingrid
    April 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Loved your post and I totally agree! I think this is applicable to everything in life and in this world, only because it’s human nature to label others and to create “groups”. I think everyone is unique in its way and whatever we choose to do and live our lives doesn’t have to concern anyone else, except us.

    Ingrid

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      You are so right, it can definitely be applied to almost everything! As long as we are happy and not harming anyone, who cares? 🙂

  • Reply
    Kyntra Strickland
    April 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I love teaching and my husband wants to finish his degree. We don’t want to drop everything and leave. We want to build roots at home and one day buy a house and have a family, but we also want to travel! I’m so grateful for the 12 weeks a year we get to travel since we are both still in education because I know that time is fleeting. One day he will only get two weeks off of work and we won’t have the ability to travel internationally as frequently. We have plans to travel RTW for a couple of years, but after we save up money and pay off student loans. Everyone who wants to see new places and experience something different is a traveller regardless of their travel style.

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Exactly, all travel is travel! Have fun on your RTW trip! 😉

  • Reply
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    April 13, 2017 at 7:21 pm

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  • Reply
    CAL PAR
    April 18, 2017 at 1:05 am

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Well written!

  • Reply
    シャネル高価買取
    April 18, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the amazing spirit.

  • Reply
    Karin
    May 13, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Whaaat? Somebody thinks that Ores is a secret hippie spot? Hahahaaaa, can´t believe my eyes 😀 You´re right, assholes are everywhere 😉

  • Reply
    Taylor
    July 23, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Great post! This really resonated with me!

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