A Response to “Millennials, Don’t Travel – Yet”

In Lifestyle, Travel by Tom @ Abroad American9 Comments

Alright. Confusing title aside – this really got my jimmies rustled yesterday. Mentioning “millennials” pretty much is a sure-fire way to do that. So, yesterday, a friend linked to an article, which itself was a response to another article encouraging millennials to “stop traveling – for now”. After reading both articles, I quickly scribbled out a comment on the friend’s Facebook post about it. This is an elongated version of that comment, with all the necessary context you’d need to understand it.

Talking about Millennials

First, I read the original post by Grant Cardone on CNBC.com. Ugh. Do I have to respond to this? Every time I see flashy, over-produced videos telling “millennials” they’re doing something wrong, my eyes roll with an indignation that I thought only belonged to my angsty teenage years.

I really don’t want to get into the whole millennials discussion now. However, if you’re interested, I strongly suggest that you watch this video about millennials and generations in general. Adam has a lot of great perspective-disrupting stuff that I think could really turn your mind.

Don’t watch it now, though! keep reading, comment with your reactions below, and then watch the video. I know it’s long, but just put it on and listen to it as you do some tidying up.

Travel With Tarah’s Response

Back to the task at hand. For my own sanity, I’ll keep my thoughts on Mr. Cardone’s opinions at bay for now. Instead, I’m going to respond to a response to it. Tarah over at travelwithtarah.com posted a great response to him a few days ago. I really like a lot of her points – but I disagree with her a little in this paragraph of her post:

A popular line in your article is when you say “I want to inspire millennials to work hard now so they can travel the world in style later”.  My response to this, is when I get there (and I will), I want to be able to appreciate it.  I want to appreciate the first class seats, extravagant meals, and five star hotels.  How am I going to appreciate these things if I’ve never experienced commercial flying, ramen noodles, and cheap hostels?  My mom often flies in business class when traveling abroad.  Once I asked her why she spends the extra money on business class, and her answer was simple: because I’ve earned it.  At age 53, I’ve earned it (sorry for spilling the beans on your age mom, you don’t look a day over 30).  I want to earn it.  I want to fly with my legs cramped, without complimentary water, and a seat that doesn’t recline for so many years, that by the time I make it to business class, I know I’ve earned it.

(Original post: A Response to Grant Cardone, The Millionaire That Wants Millennials to Stop Traveling)

My Response to Tarah

While I can appreciate not being able to experience the good without the bad, this isn’t the point I would use here. Instead, I’d say that I’d rather travel now, while I’m young and able. I’d rather travel now while I’m open to new people, places, languages, and lifestyles. I’m not saying that getting older makes one shut down in these respects. But, I do feel youth is certainly a motivation or a push to travel. The eagerness, hope, and willingness to learn is certainly something people can lose over time.

I would also make the point that cheap hostels aren’t really a suffering. Flying economy sure can be, but it’s not always so bad. But as for cheap hostels, sure, some are outdated, or unhygienic, that’s certainly a degree of suffering. However, many times, the cheap hostels are legitimately nice places to be, and that’s where worlds meet.

Millennials

The city center of Ghent, Belgium, as seen from the window of my first hostel on the continent for my big trip around Europe in 2015. While it was a “cheap hostel”, it was one of the best places I’ve ever stayed.

It’s at these kinds of places you stay up till 3 in the morning talking about your life experiences and your upbringing with someone from the other side of the world. I’d bet that happens less at all-inclusive resorts or 5-star hotels. Nothing against them, but as you and others have said, that’s a vacation, not travel.

But anyway, that’s my take, she may not agree with me. You may not agree with me. To each his/her own.

My Response to Grant

Yeahhh…nah.

Look, to each their own. I totally get my former classmates and colleagues who are following Mr. Cardone’s advice or who just aren’t as crazy about travel as I am. No big, to each their own. I’ll even cede that there certainly are benefits to what he’s talking about. Working on yourself and growing your income are good things, of course! But don’t tell me that you have the answer for everyone. Also, how does travel at a “young” (some millennials by the standard definition of the generation are in their upper 30s) age not benefit us?

The financial burden is as small as you want to make it, and the benefits can clearly outweigh the costs. Still, I know it’s not possible for everyone, especially the kind of travel you see on many travel blogs. It’s not about traveling just to travel, it’s about connecting with other people, other places, and other cultures. Changing your perspectives on the world. Learning some good life lessons and some things you can’t learn in the classroom or the conference room. Not to mention that travel can be a big confidence booster which is a GREAT skill in the workplace and in life generally.

For me, travel made me a more well-rounded person with a better understanding of the world around me, and of my place in it. That may not be a “marketable” skill, but it certainly could shine in interviews and in the office.

What do you guys think of this? Am I stupid and/or idealistic for believing what I do about travel?

Comments

  1. I wish I had the guts to travel, but I’m a homebody and a chicken. But I do agree, you shouldn’t wait until you can travel in style! My aunt is obviously not a millennial, but she spent all of her 20s and 30s travelling and living abroad, at one point sharing a one bedroom apartment with seven roommates in Tokyo! And when she reached her late 30s, then she settled down, got married and had a child, and got a stable job. But up until then she lived all over the world, with little money and had a great time! There’s no right or wrong way to live, or right or wrong time to travel.

    1. Wow – I really appreciate your perspective. Thanks for sharing! You made a point that I embarrassingly forgot to – that this is just my opinion, my view on travel, and my life. I suggest travel to others because of my positive experiences and all the benefits I’ve gained from it. However, that isn’t to suggest, as you did, that everyone needs to, or that travel is for everyone.

      To your first point – I understand that you think traveling takes guts. It certainly is perceived as out of lots of people’s comfort zones. It just takes the impulse decision to buy that ticket. Often they’re not refundable anyway, so you’re stuck with your decision! Once you get yourself out of your comfort zone, out of your bubble, a whole new world opens up to you.

      Stick around here and maybe I’ll be able to convince you, or maybe you could just live vicariously through me XD. Either way, thanks for sharing! I really appreciate it.

      For some extra reading – you reminded me of this great and heart-warming thread on the solo travel subreddit:
      https://www.reddit.com/r/solotravel/comments/5tnf5f/as_an_older_guy_traveling_solo/
      Such an uplifting thread, and it really puts my life and my choices into a new light. Give it a read!

  2. Yes!!!! You couldn’t have said it any better, travel young, travel young!! I personally feel like I started traveling late(2016) at 24 years, but backpacking and staying in unhygenic, sometimes no wi-fi, loud, cheap hostels was partly why I enjoyed it so much. That original article is garbage, and wish anyone who wishes to start traveling doesn’t take it to seriously.

    1. Yea, I’m pretty sure that only non-millennials will be nodding their heads in agreement as they read. It’s just another article from the last generation disparaging the younger generation for same shit, decade after decade. I don’t get why people can’t see it’s always the same slights and insults thrown down at the younger generations.

      I agree, those places that force you to interact certainly have a special spot in my heart – as long as I was in the right place mentally to be there. Sometimes I just wanted to recharge and be alone for a little bit, and a beer and some wifi, or a comfy chair and my kindle would suffice. However, yes, it is in those cheap hostels where you actually travel.

      Thanks for commenting! I appreciate the feedback. Stay around and help me along, teach others about the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone, will ya?

  3. I totally agree with your comment! In a way, I’d say that Cardone and Tarah actually make the same point – they both want to say that you should “suffer” now to be able to enjoy something later. To me it doesn’t make any difference whether the suffering entails not travelling and working a shitty job, or low budget traveling and staying in hostels… If you don’t like sharing a room or flying, no one’s forcing you to do it! For me those experiences are valuable and very enjoyable, and I really doubt that I’l be sleeping in 5-star hotels when I’m 53..

    1. Meehhhh – I wouldn’t go so far as you to say they’re making the same point. I think she sees the travel part now as more necessary than Cardone does. I just think that she forgot to mention that the point of traveling now isn’t just to appreciate it later – and that many people believe that traveling now is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

      I know that she agrees with that point though, she was just making an argument against his point, but she just didn’t clarify, I believe. Good point about no-one forcing you to do it! ha. And about the 5-star hotels…yea, I don’t think I will be either. A hotel at very best, but I don’t even like them! They’re so….sterilized. There’s no feeling of a connection with the local area. Even if I had the money, I’m not sure I’d be a patron of such places! Thanks for the comment! I appreciate it 🙂 Stick around and comment some more!

  4. I understand where the other two posts were coming from, and I appreciate your mom’s words of “I earned it.” BUT I’ve always been of the opinion that if you have the money to do something you want to do, go do it. My grandparents waited until they retired to travel, and by then my grandma’s mobility had diminished greatly. I was to be able to walk around cities and the countryside and not have to worry about if a sightseeing bus can get there. Also, right now, I don’t have kids. It’s so much easier to travel when it’s just me and my husband, then to worry about mini me’s.

    1. Author

      Hey, thanks Cori for the comment!

      I’d like to point out that was Tarah’s mom’s words, not my mother’s! She/we doesn’t/don’t fly business class, in any case haha.

      I think my response actually agrees with your point about limited mobility, though! I didn’t specify limited mobility because Grant’s article focused on traveling before that would likely happen. I guess he was talking about a late 30’s early 40’s kind of range. However, your second point about kids is so, so true. Can you imagine trying to take a couple weeks or a month off to go explore a new city/region/country while little Susy and Mikey have soccer, or softball, or baseball, or whatever in the summer/year round? It’d be impossible, or at least incredibly hard.

      Thanks again for the feedback, just wanted to let you know that I agreed with you already, up above. Maybe my formatting is a bit misleading now. I just did a big reset of the website and haven’t got all the kinks out yet. xD

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