Traveling is only for rich?

Unfortunately, I have heard the stereotype that traveling is only for rich from people many times.  But in reality I often noticed the opposite. Remember the phrase: “It doesn’t matter how old your sneakers are if you walking in them in Paris?” It’s trivial, but that’s the point.  Priorities matter.

For most of people material things are more important than traveling, often because it was important for previous generations, so it was the priorities set in people’s minds during their upbringing. Well, material things still considered to be something that shows the level of “wealth”. Also, vanity plays a huge role in it, which, of course, depends on the (imaginary) opinions of others around us.  People do not want to look “poor” in the eyes of others, in simple words, so they buy a lot of unnecessary stuff. And manufacturers use it, constantly littering the market with products that quickly get broken. This phenomenon has got a well known name of “Consumer Society” or “Consumerism”, which can be the whole cultural ideology in some countries (and India is surely one of them).

People who prefer traveling, on the contrary, are often much more indifferent to material stuff: they don’t seek for the latest iPhone and another newest “miracles” of technology just for the sake of showing it off (even unconsciously); they don’t ask for jewelry as presents from their spouses; they do not go crazy on clothes in shopping malls and don’t buy those which they will not know with what and where to wear, but prefer quality and compatibility;  they do not spend a lot of money on celebrating birthdays and weddings just for the sake of “prestige”; they may not even have a car…List isn’t general and can be extended…

I gave up many of these things but not as a sacrifice – I  just don’t feel I need them. It wasn’t always like that for me though. I used to be a shopaholic before but I didn’t like it to be uncontrollable. So I reduced my wardrobe in half once, gave away the clothes I don’t wear often and set the rules for myself to buy only matching ones – not to waste much time in mornings for choosing the outfit. By the way, the coat on picture is 8 years old and I am not ashamed to say so even publicly. I am also totally indifferent to jewelry and don’t understand most of women obsession about it at all. The same was with the wedding and wedding dress – I didn’t want to celebrate my wedding God knows how much, frankly speaking (yes, such girls exist!), and choosing a dress was a headache for me (and not in a good way, but i actually wasn’t interested in it).

I, as well, stopped being “addicted” to TV since the day I started traveling because it’s not something you care about during your trips (at least abroad trips) so now I don’t feel like having it, I think it’s weird idea to consider it a necessity (especially expensive TVs) in the age of Internet where you can see everything and more, whenever you want. I also believe that a lot of information on TV is capable of manipulating people minds.

I wanted to have a car earlier but now I think there is no need of it if you live in a big city or traveling often – using another transport can be much easier and cheaper. And I am not talking about only metro, using cabs these days can be cheaper than having your own auto as well, specially it is noticeable to me since I started to live in Delhi. In smaller cities, yes, car is still a necessity.

Hope you understood – for me the sense of stuff in my life matters, not the feeling of “prestige”. For such people like me material things simply are not so important and do not give much joy.  Same with the opinions of others. Your life is yours, after all, and what is the difference what a neighbor and a former classmate think, right? But to see the world, to fill life with impressions and memories, and, most importantly, to destroy the stereotypes and prejudices in your mind – to start looking at the world and life by completely different eyes – it’s priceless.  And material stuff – well, you just throw it away.

These days there starts to be more people in the world who realize their consumerism dependence and change their habits, giving up the idea of the complex of  feeling “poor” along with it, but yet the influence of “prestige” thinking is huge in the world. But I am here not to impose my opinion, just to show “the other side of the coin”. I am an “anti-consumer” partly, i suppose.

In addition, travelers often love minimalism because they do not like to carry with them large bags all the time – hard, uncomfortable, also needs to think about overweight luggage..

These factors can significantly help to save for traveling. Also, if to choose inexpensive countries such as India and many others, traveling can be much more affordable. Asian countries often provide low-cost tickets, low prices for food and transportation, if you choose not expensive hotel as well – traveling can be much more affordable. Thats funny, but Indian people often consider foreigners to be rich just because they are traveling here, when India now is one of the cheapest travel destinations in the world but Indians themselves are usually spending a lot of money for “prestige” and “reputation”, and have the most expensive weddings in the world (about Indian weddings you can read Here). And when Indian housewives own 13% of world’s gold (according to statistics) – Indian people do indeed pay quite much attention to the jewelery, which I (thankfully) didn’t adopt even after becoming a wife of an Indian.

Of course, this is not about everyone, there are really rich people who do not have to save on anything in order to see the world.  But this does not mean that it is worth generalizing, considering that the others can’t afford it. Or to think that if a person travels, he/she necessarily has an extra amount of money. Everything is possible, depends what matters.

On the picture: Zhongshan Park, Shanghai, China

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