What Ardent and Solo Travelers hear!

Travelers Savings

While solo travel and frequent backpacking is more common and is probably also a fad now, it’s still not considered normal by many. Well that’s the case at least in my circle of people in India. A solo traveler or any ardent traveler often gets a lot of comments and questions (not to discount the looks exchanged between non-backpackers) from friends, acquaintances and sometimes families too. Some are direct questions/comments while others are aspersions arising out of free speech. 

There are many blogs covering the genuine queries about budget and/or solo traveling already. This post is for the non-solo travelers and non-budget travelers, to address their top concerns and judgments. I will make the best attempt to answer (based on friends and my experiences alike) to help wisdom prevail!


Common comments on ardent, budget, solo travelers and my responses as they are, and as they should be:


1. How do you get so many vacation days? You sure have a great manager, and a good organization! Do you work by the way, or do you just get paid to travel? 

What I normally say

Well, I am with the same organization from a long time, I have accrued a lot of paid vacation days. In fact, before I took to traveling I have expired a lot of vacation days many a times. And yes, my managers have always been great. 

What you should know:

I realize your comments are not soliciting my advice in any sense. So let me be frank, I don’t have time for your sarcastic amusements of me!
Now, if you are looking for genuine tips you should consider rephrasing your comments and ask, can you tell me how to plan time off? How to get my boss to approve my leaves? I would love to travel like you do.
If you find my organization leave policies better than yours, you are free to join in. I could surely use up the referral money for my next travel. But you have to promise to grow old here. Just stop being greedy and be loyal to one organization (and stagnate). Don’t change jobs every 2 years or less to get fat paycheques! 
Stay focused and work in office hours instead of doing your personal bills, trading and reading world news etc. Then your manager will appreciate when you ask for regular earned time offs. Ok; that’s not true! In actuality, it’s about the outcome irrespective of how much time you spend at work. So if you have done your job and done it right, then why are you guilty taking breaks? Even if you don’t have a great boss like I do, no one can stop you from taking leaves! Go for it!
You have earned it and you deserve a break.


2. Where do you get so much money from? So many international trips? Psst psst [behind the back talks, impudently] – what other sources of income does s/he have? 

What I normally say:

Well I have zero investments and savings. I spend every penny of my earnings towards travel.
Money can’t make memories if I lock it in properties or even worse if I lock myself in a life long loan! So I use up all my money to travel and create lovely memories.

What you should know: 

Well this is what is in my mind. If you love traveling and are not able to, due to lack of money. Then get some financial advice, see why you are not able to save up for your passion. And if you really have no luxury loans and it is in fact a financial crisis, then do park your travel plans for until you have a stable income and an option to save for your passion.
And for the others who do not have a genuine financial crisis. Here is my free advice. Do not buy a house that you cannot afford, for a 30 years EMI plan. And to add to that car #1 and then car #2 and then property #2, all on loans! Not to speak of the # of iPhones you upgrade to on 0%interests EMI schemes!
If travel is really your interest, you will know how to save for it. Don’t cloud someone else’s fun by thinking and talking malice about how they are making money.
Look at how they are saving money by living a minimalist city life to spend their hard-earned money on their passion, which is beyond shopping, alcohol and fine dining!
And if you find someone who is doing it all and living life king size, model them if you have to. But I did just say, figure what brings you happiness rather than wanting to be like someone else!

3. A comment in passing about other Solo travelers which am sure is meant for me too: What’s with her/him? Is s/he crazy! S/he has gone mad over travel, what is s/he up to? Does s/he have any plans of settling down? (referring to getting married / kids in their definition of settling down).

And comments for the ones who have a family: How do her kids manage? Is she a good parent?

What I normally say:

She just loves traveling and she is just very active on Facebook so that’s the reason it feels like she is always traveling. And well you know how the travel bug is, right?!
I am travel bug bitten too [and I giggle trying to cover up my loath for scathing comments].


What you should know: 

Let’s admit it, all the thing you know of me or her or anyone else is from the Facebook timeline!
Everyone posts happy times on their social media, which is travel for a traveler. Who posts a crying selfie?????!! So yes, our passion is travel and we do that on every possible chance. And we will post all travel pictures which are happy, high times. Remember the saying? Share your joys, it multiplies! Not so true with social media now, is it??!! ๐Ÿ˜›
I clearly appreciate your passion, which could be biking, running, partying, eating or working out. I also like and love your umpteen posts on activities related to your passion! And I am sensible enough to know that if you post only your workout videos or marathon updates, or food and beverages, it doesn’t mean that you are not doing anything else on this earth! So stop labelling ardent (budget) travelers and assuming that they are only traveling all the time.
About settling down (by your definition). If you are looking for gossip, ask your friend directly, you might get more meat. And why do you assume that settling down is the right course for your friend? Let her/him decide that, with your due permission ๐Ÿ˜›
And about married women traveling Solo : Being married and complaining of not having time for oneself is a common crib. Instead of defining what a good mother should be, satisfy your queer by asking the right questions. FYI – You are not a benchmark for others, so don’t assume that they want to mimic your motherhood. Ask your friend, how she takes out time for her passions. You should take time off to chase your passion too. It need not be travel, it can be anything that brings out the better of you! That will help you spend time constructively on yourself than judging the world around !

4. Went on a solo travel again? Whoa, I need people, man! I love to be with people. I find it miserable to walk around alone and have meals staring at others having company! You must love being a loner!

What I normally say:

Yeah…may be. I guess I don’t really need people, I go to experience the local culture and interact with the locals.
And then, I think, am I really a non-people person? I love human interaction too. And I am also comfortable enough in my own skin to be self-sufficient at times and be on my own without being awkward about it.


What you should know:

Who are this ‘people’ you are talking about? Your known friends, spouse or kids? What about other people under the sun? The travelers? the locals?, are they not human for a Solo traveler to Hang out with eh?!
While I agree that it would be great to share a meal with someone you know. However once in a while, when you are traveling it’s more peaceful and insightful to sit alone and relish a new cuisine, look at maps and plan your day, or just observe the surroundings.
If you love people and like to talk, then you will anyways make friends in no time. While it may not be a long-lasting friendship, the conversations can be deeper and more fresh, than with your friends. Travelers carry so many stories, you will never get bored! And if you are not talking and are busy getting around, then you are making a new story! Right there!

Please remember this, ‘Solo travelers’ are social as well. In fact, they make more friends unlike group/couple travelers who build social walls around themselves. And they also utilise the time to travel inwards as much as they travel outwards.

PS: There are many genuine nice questions asked as well, mostly around safety tips and planning the travels.
I thank all the people who ask the right questions to travelers, you keep us sane! ๐Ÿ™‚


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