I was recently walking through a lounge area of a building and noticed a group of my friends were relaxing in front of the fake fireplace, watching whatever was on TV at the time, probably hockey or Frozen. As I waved a kind hello to them, one of them brought up how I was moving to Scotland. They gave me a large congratulations and told me that they are going to miss me, but they knew how important this was for me, so they were okay with losing me for a few months.

With a smile so large it would be hard to remove, I said “thank you” and eagerly told them all of the details when they inquired more about it. As I began to walk away, a young guy who happened to be sitting in the vicinity said:

“You’re going to Scotland? Why the hell would you ever want to do that!?”

Taken off my guard, I held back my tongue from calling him a slew of insults like: ignorant, naive, and immature, among other much worse names i’ll keep to myself. I kept my cool and my slightly affected smile and told him:

“Are you kidding me? Who wouldn’t want to go to Scotland!”

Before he had a chance to respond, I went through the door behind me, avoiding further escalation of the uncomfrotable situation.

Luckily, this run-in was easy to deal with and I didn’t get caught up in an argument having to defend my love of travel. But sadly, people who love to travel, especially long-term, are always going to have to deal with people like this. It’s one of the few bad parts in the travel lifestyle.

I’m sure you’ve also been told thing like:

“Travel isn’t worth your time!”

“It’s too expensive, why would you want to blow your money like that?”

“The world is dangerous and you can’t trust anyone. You’re better off staying at home!”

Or even…

“You’re going to Scotland! Why the hell would you ever want to go to Scotland!”

The fact is, these people are jealous and they are scared to change their world view. Your very presence in their life, threatens their world view and they are too scared to let it change, so they will fight you to the teeth saying that the world is dangerous and travel isn’t worth it.

As hard as it is, it’s best to not argue with them. Even as easy as it is to best them in what they believe is “sound and logical thought,” they will probably never agree with you for risk of shattering their views. It’s hard to say where this thinking comes from, but if I had to put my two cents in I would assume it’s partly because of the media’s never-ending violence on thenews and partly because of how they were raised.


There’s a quote that I’m sure you’ve heard, at least I hope you have, because it’s one of the single greatest quotes of the 21st century. Compliments of Robert Downey Jr., it goes a little something like this:

“Listen, smile, agree. And then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.”

Damn, that’s a beautiful quote! So yes, even though it’s hard when people seem to not agree with your passion in life, it’s best to simply move on and to forget them. I’ve found that when I argue with them compared to when I don’t, I often think back on the situation I was put in much more often and for a longer period of time because arguing only makes me feel worse.

I love that quote, but with respect to Mr. Downey, I would like to change it slightly. You don’t have to agree with them, you can still look them in the eye and tell them they are wrong, as long as you walk away. It’s okay to still disagree with them but it’s also important to keep your cool and to smile at them, it will only make them rethink opening their mouths in the first place. Just remember that no matter what they say, your views are not going to change and neither are theirs, so don’t get wrapped up in trying to convince them what they are missing out on.

Deep down, they already know.

So what are your thoughts on how to deal with people who confront you about your travels? Have you ever had someone disapprove of your traveling? I’d love to hear your stories!




  1. Ha, yes! Heard same questions a bunch of times from random people. Yet, as a girl, things like “why don’t you get married”, “what about kids”, ” do you think of getting a family” add up, making it even more frustrating…

    It’s so unfair when you get judged of your dreams and lifestyle, just because it is different from what the majority seeks in life!

  2. This article hits home with me, I get so many questions like this all the time – The people I work with are just not interesting in seeing the world or going to far off destinations, so whenever I go away, I’m always bombarded with narrow minded questions like “Why do you want to go there” “whats the point in going to there”, I usually answer with “Why not?” and that shuts them up lol!

  3. Thanks for the twitter follow Clay!
    I must say I quite resonate with this article..as well being from a culture where you have to travel with a reason! ( Relocate for marriage, school or business??)And not just hop about from one country to another blowing money..and folks tend to think that one has to have abit of money to travel about…anyway the reactions I’ve gotten are not so pleasant to say the least…:-(

  4. Maybe I’m lucky, but the worst I get is a puzzled attitude from a few people who don’t really understand why I love travelling so much. My dad is probably the most confused. 🙂 But overall everybody has been respectful of my choices even if they don’t always understand them.

    If someone made the kind of remark this young guy made about your move, I’d probably give him a similar response! As you say, there’s no point arguing.

  5. Nothing wrong with Scotland (except the rain…) but it is beautiful and there is so much to explore and so many people to meet, and so much history. Some people just shout their mouths off for no reason – or because they are too scared to do something new themselves. You are having adventures – perhaps they’re jealous. Good luck!

  6. I haven’t had anyone say anything negative about my traveling since my friends and family know how much I love to see the world around me. I think the only thing they get nervous about is me traveling on my own when I am in Europe.

  7. I think it is easier when it’s someone that you don’t know, but what if it is someone your close too for example your mother. Though I think a mother or parent is in a different category as they have a protective factor and will never want to see their child go.

    Response to the quote,I would say “learn to disagree without being disagreeable”- another quote

  8. Oh, how I empathize with this post. I have heard such a thing too many times to count myself! I am also surprised that Scotland in particular sparked such a reaction! I heard similar things when I was traveling solo to Egypt, Greece, and SE Asia. It just goes to show that no matter how excited you are, how much research you’ve done, how prepared you are, there are always people ready to rain on your parade. They are the ones missing out, not you 🙂 🙂

  9. This got me fired up 🙂 I got a lot of backlash when I went to Zambia last year, and it was a struggle to try to educate others without arguing with them. I think as you’ve said, a lot of people disregard travel and don’t understand it thinking it’s not for them due to reasons like it being too expensive or bad publicity in the media.

    I’ve always been pretty stubborn since I was a kid, but I like to think that stubborness has translated into making my travels happen even if that means sacrificing a few beers or eating out. Of course, not everyone can have the same mentality and there will always be those people that really just do not understand travel. The quote you shared is a great way to look at it and power through with your dreams anyway!

    Thanks for the great post – one that really hit home!