Here’s something that went through my mind as I click through my friends’ Facebooks and look at the glorious pictures of their time in Europe or Asia or Africa: Can travel become another form of consumption? Another way to “keep up with the Jonses”?
Experts tell us that spending on experiences tend to make us happier than spending on stuff. What can be the best embodiment of experience than a really awesome vacation? Instead of coveting and surpassing the Jonses’ shiny new roadster or Italian handbag or big mansion with a pool, are we now trying to top number of countries visited and rank our most exhilerating experiences? Has trekking through the Australian outbacks, jetting to Paris in the Spring and hanging out in Bali in November become what the “cool kids do?”
I enjoy traveling – I love going to new places and immersing in the sense of “out of the every day” that a good trip brings. But sometimes I feel badly because I felt that I haven’t traveled enough – not enough for my own enjoyment and not enough compared to the people I know. It seems silly to let something that bring me so much joy bring me down because I feel as if I haven’t done enough – after all, some wise man has said that comparison is the thief of joy. I try not to compare, but then those damned Facebook pictures come up. My eyes devour those pictures, like a fashion blogger might covet a Celine bag or a hungry child would salivate at a cake.
It has been two years since my 5 Year Travel Plan post, and I have only made my way to one of those places, and that was for a family emergency, not a vacation. That means there are only 3 years left! Now, instead of trying to keep up with someone else, I’m trying to keep up with the me I thought I’d be. Perhaps I have met the Joneses, and they are us. My biological clock has kept very silent, but I certainly feel the travel clock tickin’. I couldn’t be the only one who feels this way – I have several friends who joke that they are all just driven by this sense of restlessness – to see more, do more, travel more – that is exacerbated by the copious amount of information we have on other friends or friends of friends who seem to jet off to Hong Kong at the drop of a dime or who managed to snag jobs in places such as Austria, Ghana, and Germany.