What is the true cost of travel?
It’s fantastic seeing photos of all my travel buddies in amazing locations. Watching YouTube vlogs and reading blogs of people’s travel journeys. It all looks fantastic adventurous and carefree.
What no one ever talks about though is the true cost of travel and I don’t mean in the monetary sense. Whether you are traveling or migrating with your own family or traveling alone what effects is it having on extended friends and family left behind?
Despite traveling from Australia twice within 18 months my mum feels as though I abandoned the immediate family. I had the blessings of my grandparents, siblings, sister-in-law, nephew and my Dad to embark on this amazing adventure and it truly has been the best 18 months of my life.
I however, didn’t quite gain the full support from my mum because she believed I wasn’t emotionally or mentally ready . Curiosity and adventure has always trickled through my veins. My mum knows me better than anyone else in the world and she’s understood travel is something I have wanted to do for years. But she possesses a maternal fear that only a parent can truly understand.
A year before I embarked on my adventure of a life time. I confided in my younger brother and told him how I was thinking about backpacking round Australia.
He was completely on board and told me to ‘go for it!.’
He then told me that he really wanted to see Ohio and he was making plans to go there for a holiday…..
He never made it to Ohio.
Little did I know that would be our last conversation. Within 2 weeks of that conversation he was in a coma with a sudden rare infection and passed away shortly after.
When traveling I realised that everyone has a story to tell. Everyone’s reason for traveling is completely different. No two journeys will be the same. My driver is life is too short to put things off for the future. The future is not guaranteed for any of us. Just like the sunset is not going to wait for us to be ready to take that perfect photo. I suppose that’s why I am a solo traveler. I am not prepared to wait for a relationship to travel, or retirement to travel, or my best friends to be in a position to travel etc.
In that respect you could say I am selfish. Maybe most travelers have a sense of selfishness in them. I am traveling without a support network which in turn worries my parents even more. But if I internalised and analysed every possibility. I would not have quit my commercial real estate position to go backpacking.
I know I wasn’t the only traveler to be carrying family guilt . I had friends who would come off the phone besides themselves because their family had made them feel guilty about being away for 3 years. Missing birthdays, family holidays, weddings etc. I had made friends with families that had emigrated permanently and they didn’t want to upload photos on Facebook of the amazing time they were having because grandparents and extended family were torn emotionally about losing their grandchildren /nieces /nephews /cousins to another country.
In those 18 months which is relatively a short amount of time. A few things have changed Transport for London don’t accept money on buses anymore. Birmingham have swift cards for bus travel. Everyone appears a bit older and thinner, including television personalities.
The one constant thing that never seems to age or change are the traditional British Soaps. I can sit in front of the television even two years later and still tell you what’s happening with poor Dot Cotton and blubbering Ian Beale.
I believe the true cost of travel is relationships. There is Skype and other digital outlets which has made keeping in contact even easier than before. But if we are being honest as a traveler we can’t deny having to choose between going home for a christening or going home for Christmas because we can’t afford both. Or flying home after Christmas because you can’t afford the astronomical flights before Christmas. Or not flying home at all because actually you would rather spend your money seeing South East Asia.
Travel isn’t something new age, my own grandparents migrated from Jamaica to settle in the UK. They chose to leave friends and family behind for what they considered a better life. I have family that have migrated to France, Canada, Australia, and America. Whilst at the time it was really sad to see my uncle/ aunts and cousins leave . I am now in a position where I can jump on a plane and visit, which I have done. They are happy and healthy and that is the important thing.
What would you say is the true cost of travel?