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I Can Travel Because I’m Privileged

 “You don’t need to be rich to travel,” “anyone can travel if you make it a priority.” These are the famous lines that seemingly every traveler and travel blogger uses. I am definitely guilty myself. But when I say these things, they are pretty much only true for the other privileged people.

I wrote a previous blog post about how I don’t like to tell people I’m traveling because I feel like they are jealous and “rain on my parade.” I said these things because I didn’t want to admit to myself that the real reason I can travel is because of how privileged I am. Isn’t it easier to think that I worked for all of it? That I deserve it? I would love to think that but it’s just not true.

I really don’t pay for much on my own. I’m 22, live at home, and don’t pay rent. I don’t pay for my cell phone bill or car insurance either. I didn’t have to pay for my bachelor’s degree, so I am not in debt. My family is all healthy and there is no one that needs me there to take care of them. I am American, white, and healthy. If I were to get sick, I have enough family that I would be taken care of and would never be alone on the streets. I am beyond privileged. And a year ago, I would have never had the humility to have been able to say that.prague_charles_bridge_ciaofelicia

I come from a family who owns property and stock shares. I come from a family who believes that hard work will lead to success. I come from a family who doesn’t give anything to poor people on the street because they think they’re probably lying about being poor. This is the way that I was raised to think and now, at 22 years old, I have finally realized that I am standing on the shoulders of their success. Sometimes no matter how hard you work, you will never be rich. I have friends that work harder than anyone I know, but have to spend the money I would use on a European summer to support their family. They have to give money to their family, and I just take from my family. Thinking about this made the privilege I have so obvious to me.family_cruise_ciaofelicia

It seems to me that everyone who travels wants to share about how they worked so hard to be able to travel. Which in many cases is true, but it’s not as simple as just working hard. What about the people who are discriminated against for being of color, the people who have to stay at home and work to support their family, and the people who don’t have a great family to financially or emotionally support them?  No amount of hard work will allow them as much ease to travel as I have.

I am so grateful for the life I live, and I hope I never take a second of it for granted, because I am one of the lucky ones and I am privileged.

10 thoughts on “I Can Travel Because I’m Privileged

  1. Thank you so much for writing this. I was JUST talking about this last night with my boyfriend. Traveling itself is a privilege. Majority of places you travel there’s a huge contrast between how to locals and the tourists life. I don’t think it should inhibit us from traveling but rather we should travel to shine light on other communities and voices that may not have been heard. Thank you so much for this piece. – Alex

  2. Great post! I totally agree, and will readily admit that even though I did work hard to save money to travel, I was already in the very privileged position to be able to do so. Admitting privilege doesn’t have to be some terrible thing, it’s simply acknowledging that a lot of things went into our success or current lifestyle that we had no control over. The more we are open about the fact that not everyone has a truly ‘equal’ opportunity in life, the more we are able to forget our differences and come together! Thank you for sharing this sentiment – it’s really important!

  3. Finally, somebody admitted it! I’m on the other side of this – I own a third world passport, brown skin, and lives away from my family to work and send money for them. I work double so I could still travel. 🙂

    I’ve been wanting to write something like this but I don’t want to come across as racist or whatever. I have nothing against Americans or Westerns in general but it’s the truth, not everyone can hop a plane and travel because there’s visa, family, and responsibilities. There’s a lot of things to save for and papers to prepare before we could actually go to Europe or America. We have to schedule appointments and prove ourselves. It’s the way of the world and I’ve learned to be okay with it. I just don’t like how some bloggers put it like it’s something so easy to do – quit your job and travel the world. Because we can’t. Full time job and a certain amount of savings are the primary requirements to get visa.

    I just hoped that someone on the other side would realize this and not be mean. Thank you for being that someone. It was heartwarming to read something like this. 🙂

  4. Excellent Post, Felicia! I think it’s so hard to look at yourself objectively when privilege is one of those things that isn’t always so obvious. There are so many external factors that people don’t account for and often blame people for not working hard enough. For you to admit that privilege is a huge factor in how we’re able to design our life takes moral courage! Alot of people live and prosper in ignorance.

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