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.

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.

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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47 thoughts on “Wait…You’re Only Travelling for 3 Months?”

  1. Reena | Just24Days.com

    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!

    1. Travelling Jezebel

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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. πŸ™‚

  4. 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.

  5. 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 πŸ™‚

    1. Travelling Jezebel

      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 πŸ™‚

  6. 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.

    1. Travelling Jezebel

      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!

  7. Great post! SO agreeing with you πŸ™‚
    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 πŸ˜‰

    1. Travelling Jezebel

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

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

    1. Travelling Jezebel

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

  10. 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.

    1. Travelling Jezebel

      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!

  11. 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!

    1. Travelling Jezebel

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

  12. 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

  13. “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 πŸ™‚

    1. Travelling Jezebel

      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 πŸ˜‰

  14. 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!!

  15. 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

    1. Travelling Jezebel

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

  16. Kyntra Strickland

    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.

  17. Whaaat? Somebody thinks that Ores is a secret hippie spot? Hahahaaaa, canΒ΄t believe my eyes πŸ˜€ YouΒ΄re right, assholes are everywhere πŸ˜‰

  18. I found this post very very interesting and, although it is old, I would also add – You don’t need to travel if you don’t want to! I love travelling and I’ve been doing it since I was little and I used to go around telling people to travel, to do like I did, “come on you don’t need a lot of money”, but it wasn’t until later that I found out that no one should be forced to travel! And social networks and western ways of life seem to force young people (especially) into travelling to Thailand when they may not be interested and they’ll end up sitting on a beach all day long doing the same thing they’d be doing in Brighton and complaining about the lack of commodities or spending a lot of money on foreign-founded hotels that will have warm water. I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m saying it’s not necessary and it ends up ruining some people’s experiences as well.
    So if someone wants to travel I’ll share every single tip on how to travel without spending loads of money or how to pack or whatever, but I have stopped telling everyone “you should just spend this summer in South America!” because there’s just no point πŸ™‚

    1. I agree totally. Two of my best friends don’t like to travel at all. One of them will go to Vegas once a year and stay in a lovely hotel, but aside from that, she has no desire to travel (especially in the way that I do with hostels etc.) and thinks that I’m crazy for living the way that I do haha. Each to their own πŸ˜€ thank you so much for your thoughtful comment as well!

  19. I don’t care what those ‘elite’ backpackers think I am but I do mind a lot that they want to discuss it.
    When it comes down to it I probably am a more experienced traveller than they are in almost all ways, but I sure as hell avoid opening up the can of worms pointing that out would be, because to them it is more about being competitive than it is about the experience as far as I can see and I have no interest in being competitive about travel with any other person. My challenges involve overcomming my fears of going to certain countries and not the business of those ‘elite’ people. They would probably just dismiss my aspirations as signs of not being a real traveller because real travelles in their opinion don’t feel fear.

    1. I completely agree, I hate it when I feel as though somebody is just trying to ‘outdo’ me by having been to a greater number of places, more off the beaten track places etc. We’re all travellers!

      1. I do want to hear what those who are competitive about how off the beaten track they go in one circumstance though.
        I’d be very greatful if they would go to Angola and make some comprehensive information about secure places to sleep and maybe some guidance about prices.
        Since they are so competitive they should be rushing to outdo each other to get that blog online so the rest of us can benefit from what they have to say for a change. Thanks in advance to all of them who will be putting the leg work into this because you sure are somebody whose opinion I will cling to so I can be just a little more like you are! πŸ™‚

        1. That’s certainly off the beaten track! Yeah, it still surprises me how many bloggers focus on places like Paris and Barcelona when there is already so MUCH information about those places out there! I am trying to write about more off the beaten track places, so you never know, Angola might be one of them one day!

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