I will try my best not be a rebel of what I am truly passionate about – but this ‘Travel industry boom’ is becoming a bit overwhelming. My news feed is full of bucket lists, articles about people leaving their jobs to travel, must see before you die lists, and solo travel advice. The content if flooding, there are no filters. And no one can know the story behind these posts better than me, as I often write them too, and might still will. But I am in an honest mood today. So I will tell you something REAL.
PAST. I started traveling as a break from my work in 2012. That’s how I started StreetTrotter later. Four year back, the travel industry was an inspiration, and the concept was still new and hard-hitting for workaholics like me. Most of my 9 to 5 daily job kind of peers hardly took a break from work, because we were all in our peak 20’s, and were willing to slog for success. But as much as we wanted a promotion, we were attracting a higher level of stress too. Our relationships were failing, because we were too busy to take a vacation and notice. Our whole generation was running the same race, and then, a few of us couldn’t take it anymore. We packed our bags and left.
The road taught us a lot then. It gave us an escape, and the chance to meet new people, learn and re-gather ourselves. When we returned we were healed through the treks we signed up for, the fresh air echoing in the mountains, the meditations we searched our souls with, the mantras we chanted, and the knowledge that other equally lost travelers shared with us. And then we started writing about it. Thinking that this same cure that cured us, would heal others too who were jailed in the same situations. And it did.
In no time, more and more of us packed our bags and left from the monotonous madness of life and work. We were humming our own beats then and paving our own paths. Travel was the new drug of the scarred, overstressed and damaged millennials. The trend caught up like a raging fire. Bloggers became travel bloggers. And travelers became bloggers. The industry boomed. The idea matured. And just like that – there was a business plan. Travel became a new kind of business. And I became one of its first, but many employees.
And now its all a race again. A race that will soon lose its charm, because we are all overdoing it.
PRESENT. Last year in 2015, after giving myself all the time I needed to rejuvenate, I got into the grad school of my dreams. I wanted to take the next step into my journalism career, and I wanted to learn more. I then took up two on campus jobs to earn for my tuition fee, and finally got a photojournalism internship at THE Harvard University.
I looked back at my journey, and realized that all those years that I travelled prepared me for these challenges today. StreetTrotter was, and is, the most impeccable portfolio I can share with my employers today, to bag all those dream roles I aspire for. Yet again, the need of success is biting me, and I no longer want to be on the road, as hard work needs me more than ever now.
This is when I realized, that as much as I loved to travel, I needed a good career, a good salary and a good stable lifestyle equally. I like the idea of being a good professional, with a kick ass package, but that means it also requires a fair amount of billable work hours and uncompromised commitment. I can’t be on the road anymore and live like a nomad, because no matter who tells you what, it’s not feasible in the long run. Travel cannot offer you a living. And lets accept it, I can not always be frugal about my travel choices. I need to earn to support the life of my dreams. And this is when the confusion started and the irritation seeped in. I didn’t know if I was failing at my passion, or was I just doing it wrong?
Or was everyone around me overdoing it. And overrating it.
I started making a list of all the people who left their jobs to travel the world – and ended up losing track, because there were just so many. So I decided to sit back and wait for them to return. A few of them have started to come back – with posts as to how they cannot do it anymore. Some zeroed out of cash, some saw it all already and some just got sick of the road. Trust me, I am not surprised.
Then I talked to fellow travel bloggers and asked them how do they do it? Most of them do it part time – with full time jobs to support their families. Yet again I was not surprised. In fact, I was in the same boat.
And now I am looking at all the entrepreneurs who have started their full fledged startups based on travel, and the players are once again, just so many. Couch surfing and Airbnb are not exclusive anymore, because everyone wants to share a piece of the travel infected pie and become competitors of this overrated business.
But being an insider – I can almost sense it. This buzz is going to crash.
You know why? – Because we overeducated the consumer and gave him too much on his plate. The average traveler is full of knowledge now, and tons of inspiration too – so all they need is a good hotel to stay, an affordable plane ticket, a map with good directions, a few travel apps, and not much of this free-flowing, over glorified travel advice.
FUTURE. We need to balance this theory out. Bring it back to its inspiring reality. How so? I will take the liberty to state a few more facts about travel, that no one else will tell you that easy. So in all honesty, I will. (And it took me a long time to convince myself on these too)…
- Dear Wanderlust-ers – #SLOWDOWN.
- Travel is the greatest human healer that will never die, or go out of fashion. So lets stop overselling the concept. Everyone gets it by now.
- Share your honest experiences, and better stories, than just bucket lists. Everyone can make their own with the help of google.
- Lets not leave our jobs to travel. Let get back to travel to inspire ourselves.
- Travel for a break, not for a living. There is no money out there.
- We need to aim higher, than just going around the world for a lifetime. You can do that in 80 days.
- Travel for a cause if you want to travel longer. But do come back.
- Stability is as important as escape. Find a home, that you can really call home. And stay there often.
- Don’t start a travel startup. You are not different anymore, you are just one more in the race.
- Travel in our modern world, is overrated. Stay calm, and respect it for what it is.
By Shraddha Gupta, Founder & COO of Streettrotter
*** DISCLAIMER ***
I the author of the content that can be found here within can assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my highly disorganized and somewhat dysfunctional mind interprets a particular situation and or concept.