Do you ever get the sinking feeling that you aren’t seeing as much of the world as you should? Maybe you met someone who has more countries stamped on their passport than you do. Or you missed out on a seasonal event that meant a lot to you because it took place in a country with strict visa regulations, while the rest of your friends easily shelled out thousands of pesos on a whim. Or, you saw a cascade of picture-perfect moments online that made you stop for a second and think: What am I doing with my life?
If you’ve never experienced any of the scenarios mentioned above, then I salute you, brave and wise traveller. But for Pinoy travellers out there who know what I’m talking about, that endless cycle of comparison and self-doubt can be genuinely paralysing, especially when you don’t know why everyone travels more than you do. So, are our friends really journeying as often as we think they are? Or is social media just playing tricks on our minds? Let’s find out, shall we!
Not all that glitters is ‘grammable
Surprise! Most people exaggerate the stories of their vacations, glossing over the not-so-good parts of a trip to make it look like they had more fun than they had.
But a small part of me still believes that my friends are hopping from one destination to the next without any dull moments in between. Here are all the daring and beautiful lives I could be living, if I were brave enough to try. Strangely, my travel goals appear to be within my reach and still so far away from me at the same time.
What is it about social media that makes us feel like we know everything about a person? Maybe it’s because platforms like Instagram and Facebook are programmed to keep us hungry or bitin, always looking for the next best thing.
That is to say, we shouldn’t lose sleep over photographs of unspoilt beaches or mountain sunsets. Doing so will only make us anxious about why everyone travels (or appears to be travelling) more thoroughly than we do. Sometimes it’s better to go on a social media break as opposed to trying, and failing, to keep up with someone else’s journey, which may or may not even be the real thing.
The hidden cost of travel is privilege
While many countries have opened their borders to Filipinos, we still face many visa-related hurdles when it comes to getting a foot in the door in certain embassies. Fact is, travelling is a privilege that not everybody can afford in our country. In the age of budget airlines and early-bird ticket sales making it easier for Filipinos to hop on a plane, it’s easy to forget this reality sometimes — until we are reminded in ways that hit close to home.
Maybe you applied for a South Korea visa and got denied, while someone you knew received theirs easily. Maybe a friend of yours recently announced a “spontaneous” trip to America and the next thing you knew, they were already there. Just like that!
No longer is travel the exclusive luxury that only a few can enjoy. However, it doesn’t mean that financial barriers to travelling haven’t disappeared completely. If you are wondering why everyone travels more often than you do, a heftier travel fund could be one of the reasons.
Just as you might meet people with flashier cars, there will always be someone out there with more stamps in their passport. But why get caught up in the numbers? If you can travel to far-flung destinations for leisure and still have money to spare upon returning to the Philippines, then you are already more blessed than most.
Some people make travel their first priority
To be rooted or to roam? That seems to be a leading concern of our age — at least, one that plenty of adventurous Filipino millennials are trying to figure out for themselves. But as much as we yearn for a universal answer to this question, there won’t be any, because travelling can take on different meanings at multiple points in our lives.
Consider this: If you want to know why everyone travels more these days, maybe it’s because it fits their lifestyle at the moment. But once they start having families of their own, they might prefer to stay home for a while. Simply put, there are no wrong answers, only seasons that dictate whether we choose to wait or wander. There are times when travelling feels like the most important thing in the world. And other times when, honestly, all we really want is to catch up on sleep in our nice, comfy bed.
But whether we settle down or not, the key is to travel according to our own timing.
At the end of the day, we can take pride in the distances we cover without dwelling too much on how they measure up to other people’s lives. Nobody wins in a game of comparison anyway, so we might as well stop keeping score.
When travelling ceases to be a tool for measuring our worth or upstaging people, we stop worrying about why everyone travels more than we do. We start thinking about reaching our own goals. This way, travel becomes a natural progression of our curiosity, taking us to places far and wide. And finally, we discover that our dreams don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but our own.