You Only Live Once
At the risk of sounding like a lame millennial trying to be cool, I want to talk about "YOLO" as it relates to travel. Basically, you only live once... so travel the way you want and don't judge others who choose to travel differently.
If you are lucky enough to be able to afford travel and have the ability to take the time to do so, inevitably you've come across someone who has judged your decisions in travel. Maybe you yourself have even judged others who travel differently than you do.
I know I have certainly been judgmental about how some people travel. I don't understand how someone could go out of their way to travel to a country and then stay in an all inclusive resort and never leave. You certainly miss out on the experience of the locals. Also, people who couch surf or bus super long distances when they could afford to stay at nicer places and fly also boggle my mind.
That's the thing; though, there are many things that I do that others would not understand. Why go to (fill in blank)? Aren't you afraid you'll get kidnapped? Isn't it dangerous? You mean you went to (fill in the blank) and didn't visit or do (fill in the blank)? Why spend so much time in (fill in blank)? These are all questions I commonly get and put me on the defensive.
The reality is, we should travel and do what we want without feeling like we have to justify our decisions to anyone. Do not apologize for your travel decisions. If you want to take a bus for 20 hours and sleep on the couch of stranger, then have at it. Fly first class and stay in an all-inclusive resort, sure! Spend 2 months in the middle of nowhere in some third world country, why not!
Travel is a luxury that opens eyes and minds by exposing us to different cultures and peoples. It allows us to experience the world in a way that we hadn't before and in turn allows us to bring that experience back to our homes. Only by actually visiting a place and experiencing it can we truly appreciate all the world has to offer.
Now that doesn't mean that you shouldn't re-evaluate your travel decisions from time to time and see if there are things you could do to improve your experience. You shouldn't change merely to please someone else. Experiment and mix things up sometimes. Step outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you'll love it and decide to change how you travel or maybe you will hate it and it will reinforce what you currently do.
So if, like me, you enjoy travel and view the world as a place to explore. Then don't let anyone tell you how to travel, where to go or what to do! Do what makes you happy, because after all, you only live once!