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You're a Travel Snob. Here's How I Know.

Student Work
by Rebecca Bellan Aug 6, 2015

You don’t want to hang out with people from your own country while abroad.

You’re not the only American who has ever left the country, so kindly get over yourself. When I first started traveling, it seemed natural to get excited over meeting someone else from the US and trying to bond. However, I noticed a pattern emerging.

Maybe I just didn’t look like a nice person, but I felt as though many Americans went out of their way to avoid befriending me or any other star-spangled traveler. It’s as if they wanted to surround themselves with interesting foreigners so they themselves could be thought of as interesting foreigners, sans competition.

You don’t listen to other people’s travel stories.

Perhaps you feel a certain jealousy that someone has had an experience that you haven’t yet, so you barely wait for them to finish what they were saying before you self-righteously proclaim that you yourself had an even more intense, life-changing journey, probably on a voluntour trip that you paid a ton of money to go on.

You insist that your way of traveling is the only way.

I met a guy (American, 30-years old) in Poland who had been a ‘gypsy’ for years, he says, paying his way around the world with his music. *Insert eye-roll here.*

We volunteered together on an English language program with some Polish business people. I was chatting with the girl next to me about how I might like to try one of those EF College Break tours when I went home the following month, in case it wasn’t feasible for me to immediately continue the nomad lifestyle. I thought it might be nice to have someone else do all the planning and research for me for a change. So what?

Well, this young man stood up in his seat, turned around and proceeded to tell me that guided tours shouldn’t be considered traveling. If I wanted to travel the “real” way, I should travel like he does, with no plan, a guitar, and a backpack. While his words may have had a point, his arrogance had me all but hissing at him until he left me alone.

You stick your nose in the air when your friends back home tell you about their week at a resort in the Bahamas.

Oh, you stayed at an all-inclusive resort and rode jet skis and drank piña coladas by the pool? That’s not “real” travel.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels secure enough to leave the comforts of home and sleep on bunk beds in hostels in the same clothes they wore all day. Some people just want a vacation, a chance to tan their skin and get day drunk by some white sand beaches. That’s their choice, and it’s what makes them happy. While we may know deep down that there are more fulfilling forms of travel, it is not our duty to make people feel bad for spending more money in a week than we might in three months.

According to you, no one’s really traveled if they haven’t been away from home for more than two weeks.

Last year, I went backpacking in South America for 3 months. Most of my friends and family back home thought this was a long time to travel solo. However, I also got asked by more than one backpacker snob, “Only three months?”

They would then proceed to tell me how they have been traveling for two years straight, declaring humbly that they were lucky to have such supportive parents, yet no ties back home. Must be nice dude.

And no one’s truly traveled unless they’ve left the States.

I’ll admit, it sounds way cooler to begin a story with, “When I was in Paris…” than “When I was in Utah…” But don’t forget that your own country most likely has a booming tourism industry. If you’re dying to backpack around Spain, who’s to say that someone from Spain isn’t dying to backpack around the US? It’s all relative, and new experiences in new places are new experiences in new places.

You start sentences with, “This is why I hate my country…”

You regale people with instances of how it’s so much better to live like the people you met in other countries.

The Indians in the Peruvian Amazon are so connected with the earth, so pure. Sicilians eat so much better than we do because all their produce is fresh and organic. The Chinese have such respect for their elders.

Spare me, okay?

You have a speech prepared for how world travel has made you a ‘better person.’

Gosh, when I was picking olives on a farm in the South of Italy, I learned so much about myself as an individual. I’ve become a more cultured, well-rounded person with so much more respect for humanity.

Have you? Or did you just take selfies of yourself staring off into the Amalfi coast to post on Instagram with the hashtag #blessed? You’re not necessarily a better person. So why do you think everyone could solve their own problem if they only had the courage to quit their job, pack up a backpack and buy a one-way ticket?

Visiting just one country on a single trip is no longer acceptable to you.

Sure, it’s cool to be able to tell those friends of yours back home who don’t have passports that last month you visited England, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. But how much of those countries did you really experience? You don’t care, though, as long as you can cross another off the list and brag on Facebook about how you’ve been to 30 countries before you turned 30.

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