I’m just saying this as a warning: this article is closer to being a long rant rather than being anything informative. So, now you know.
Nowadays, all I ever hear from people my age is “traveling” and how great it is, and how “you won’t be happy if you just make money.”
I mean, there is truth to that, of course. However, the chance of me just packing my shit, when I only have $12,000 saved up, and then traveling for 2-3 years instead of focusing on my skill, my craft, my passion, my work, and my destiny is insane to me.
What I’m writing in this article is my personal opinion. I get many others don’t care about having a skill or having a life’s work to pursue.
That isn’t me. I love to work; I love to improve and strive to be more efficient than I was yesterday. I can’t stand being without a routine; I feel like the most miserable person on earth.
I want to be a master at a craft, and I’m not willing to sacrifice that for going to a place I’ve never been before.
My honest opinion of traveling – and secondary/higher education falls into this category as well – is that it’s for people who are trying to prolong their childhood. It’s for individuals who have no idea what they want to do with their life.
Check out this video of Jordan B Peterson talking with Joe Rogan. The points he makes – regarding universities and how they are adult day-care centers – echoes mine:
It’s for people who don’t want to work; they don’t want to pursue their passion, they’re hiding from it. They want to travel; they want to get another bachelor’s degree and say, “my passion is back-packing and learning.”
But you want to know what their real passion is? It’s avoiding work and responsibility. It’s procrastination and avoiding the inevitable.
It’s like a vagabond traveling around contributing nothing to the economy and nothing to anybody else.
There are obvious exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’re traveling around the world as part of a goal of some kind.
Maybe, you’re backpacking to learn a language you desperately need to learn. Maybe you’re a journalist, or perhaps you’re a travel blogger, or what have you.
Like everything else in life, nothing is inherently right or wrong. It all depends on how you go about it. For me, I would rather be financially self-sufficient before I take off to a foreign land.
If you feel like there is something you should be working on, then pursue that.
If you have a gift, and you know you have that innate talent for something great, it’s your obligation to yourself to capitalize on it and make something happen.
However, I understand that you can travel and still contribute while working on your craft. To the people that do that, that’s cool; I respect that.
What I don’t respect are these individuals who get 3 Bachelor Degrees and who travel around intermittently spending all of their money.
Then they come back here and look at you like, “Oh my god, you haven’t been to Europe?”
It’s like yeah, bitch, I haven’t been to Europe yet, you’re 30-years-old, broke, no career, no family, and nothing to show for the last ten years. But hey, at least you had “good experiences right?”
It isn’t a good idea to be turning 30 or even 40-years-old soon and wanting to ask yourself, “what have I been doing for the last decade of my life? I have no skills, no kids, no passion, no money, and just a bunch of memories.”
That’s what these kids will say to you. They’ll tell you “that you’ll have great experiences.”
Screw that. “Good experiences” don’t pay the rent bitch; devote yourself to your craft. Be the best you can be at what you do. If you have something to offer the world, don’t waste it traveling around like a ‘begpacker.’
If you haven’t heard of ‘begpacking,’ let me fill you in.
There’s a trend among Western tourists who go to Asia; they go to the country without any money or source of income, or rather they spend whatever they had, then they sit on the street and busk or beg people for money.
These are people from Western nations like Canada, the United States, Germany, France, and the like.
Why do these people need to beg for money? It’s because they just left for a foreign country impulsively with no cash and no backup plan.
I have to note there can be extenuating circumstances that are beyond a person’s control. For example, it’s possible to get mugged and lose everything.
The authorities who control immigration and police services in Thailand are reportedly sick of it as they’re making sure that people have at least 20,000 baht, or US$748 before they cross the border.
Coincidentally, I met someone last night who reminds me of this. She was a self-proclaimed “anarchist,” – in possession of an iPhone, no doubt. She has traveled all around the world, which I admit, is cool.
(As an entirely unrelated side note, I honestly feel that people who tilt hard to the left on the political spectrum, or rather, who are left-extremists, are attracted to that kind of politics for one reason and one reason only.
It’s because they can’t compete; plain and simple. Anarchists want to tear the entire system down because they can’t win within the system. They’re not hard-working enough, goal-oriented enough, talented enough, skilled enough, passionate enough, or even good-looking enough.
Have you ever seen a beautiful woman who is an anarchist? Hell no, because they compete in the system. They can win.
Competition is for those who think they can win – that’s right.
When I was a kid, I used to think that competition was for people who were “insecure.”
What a joke that was. Really, I was just too scared to compete against other people because I thought I would lose. I hid behind a sense of moral superiority like a coward.
People who can’t win either bow out of it entirely or even worse, they want to eradicate the competition and the system.
Think of the Joker from Batman. He can’t win. He hates the world, he hates himself, he hates society, and he wants to tear the whole thing down because of it.
He can’t win – so nobody else can either. As Friedrich Nietzche would say It’s the result of a deep seeded resentment, – but this is a story for another day)
It shouldn’t be your goal to voyage around the world with zero money that way when you 30-years-old, you have absolutely nothing going for you.
Despite my incessant bitching, I do want to travel around a little bit at some point. But I don’t want it to be a “lifestyle.” I have goals, ambitions, and things to take care of in my life that is too important for me to forget.
But the difference is that I intend to be entirely self-sufficient when I travel.
So, I guess the main point of what I’m getting at is this: If you plan to see the world, make sure you have your shit together. Don’t be a scumbag about it.
Here is what one commenter wrote on an article I found about “begpackers,” his sentiments reflect mine:
“Gawd, I never thought about being a parasite when I did the ‘begpacking’ bit around Asia 50 years ago.”
“It took me to Japan in 1964, the year Tokyo got the games, and I did the pavement artist stunt although I was a lousy artist. I got heaps of money because I was a genuine novelty at that time. Interviewed on TV, I bought a small third-hand VW and toured Japan with my act.”
“Restaurateurs would bring me steins of beer and bowls of noodles, girls would invite me back to their 3-tatami digs for some rumpy, and a jolly time was had by all.”
“Going back to Japan as a professional teacher 20 years later, the place was over-run by French junkies and other ne’er-do-wells all making out a miserly existence doing the same thing, but lacking my panache and even my modest talent. Yes, I can now see it is a parasitic racket, and I wouldn’t give them a cent, or a yen.”
If you want to travel around the world like a vagabond with no home, figure out a way to make money, so you don’t have to beg people, parents, friends, tourists, and the government like a scumbag.
One of the most common reasons you hear for traveling is that it’s better to do it when you’re young because a person has too many constraints when they’re older.
I don’t agree with this notion either. What you do with your life and what kind of restraints you have depends entirely on the decisions that you make as well as your character.
What obligations you have are up to you, and you only.
This example is seemingly unrelated, but the same principle lies behind my example: On occasion, I’ve heard a few older guys talk about how when a man gets old they’re supposed to get “thicker” and “fatter,” as if being a fat slob is something that YOU HAVE to do.
Well, it isn’t. It’s entirely up to you what kind of physique you have when you’re an older person, the same way it’s up to you regarding the definition of your limitations and restraints.
It all comes back to the essential rule regardless of what I’m talking about which is: you can do whatever you want and make your life whatever you want it to be.
Whether or not you will have constraints on where you can go and what you can and can’t do is up to you, not anybody else.
In summation, it’s not really that I think backpacking is not a good idea because it’s fine when done properly. It all depends on how you do it. Just handle your shit when you do it; don’t be like these other guys who beg people for money on the street.