I enjoy reading Matador Network blogs, especially at lunch break of my 7:30-4 factory job. It makes my mind wander and I think of how sick it would be if red macaw crapped on a tourist’s ice cream cone in midair…but then the end-of-break alarm goes off, I blink myself awake and curse as I forgot to eat my unheated lunch. Also the burgers leaked into my bag.
I’m in shape. Round is a shape. Don’t judge me.
Most of the blogs on Matador are personal travel stories, photography tips and budgeting tricks and variety of semi-useful material, but today I came across something different:
Fascinated by unusual title, I read what turned out to be quite a cringeworthy piece that serves as an explanation of why millennial travelers get such a bad rep and are often ridiculed for being intolerable.
For my ultra-relaxed internet lurkers who are too lazy to click the link-here is TL;DR summary*:
“I travel the world mostly to fill my Instagram but after getting the taste of freedom I became unemployable according to society’s norms. Here are 5 ways my ego manifests itself:
- I am a free bird and not a team player, I dance in the nude and march to the beat of my own drum.
- I don’t have great communications skills, and reply to emails whenever I damn feel like. You can complain but I will not read it probably. Also I will be long gone from here.
- My time management skills are lacking as I do only what I want and everything else can go fly a kite.
- I don’t take directions from anyone but me (cue Rage Against The Machine: “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!!!!!”)
- I can’t work out of the office as my ideas are too grand for restraints of a cubicle”
While reading the original post a reasonable question springs to mind: if the author does not stay in one country for more than two weeks, where is the funding coming from? I’d like to think that she runs a profitable blog, or freelances as a photographer/videographer, works with NGO’s or Doctors Without Borders or does remote work, alas nothing about that is mentioned so I’m guessing that the parents pick up the tab. This would also explain the general entitlement, scoffing at money-earning and the “I’m better than you, corporate drones” attitude.
Aside from being poorly written, this compilation of egoism makes the author sound like an airhead who is irresponsible and can’t be trusted with anything that an adult should be able to do. The complete lack of responsibility for her own actions and no hint of maturity or foresight is best summed up in the excerpt of Rule #3: “there is no way I’d be able to manage time to travel and time to have a 9-5, which would likely result in me taking off without telling anyone and being fired via an awkward email that I probably wouldn’t even read”.
It’s tricky to type with one hand. I facepalmed so hard my skull caved in and my other hand is broken.
My dad told me a story once about an employee his company hired for an IT position. On his first day the dude went out for lunch and apparently sometime during lunch hour he met Don Henley and a little voice inside his head told him: “don’t look back, you can never look back”. He never returned. After couple of days of futile phone calls and emails my dad gave up on trying to reach him. Two weeks later the guy called back, said that he is resigning as the job was not really for him and even asked for a reference. He was clearly way ahead of his time, as these types of attitude were still in their infancy stages 10 years ago.
I am not an experienced world traveler; alas this is neither a possibility nor a priority at the moment. I lived in Russia for a good chunk of my life, and had occasional excursions to Belarus’ and Ukraine, but as a Russian I will tell you that going to either of these places is considered as much of a novelty as going from Toronto to Montreal for weekend (very awesome but it’s still basically the same culture, despite the political break). Aside of eastern Europe I was lucky to go on two vacations to Cuba, Mexico City, and few places in the US of A.
It’s a huge list of countries visited compared to most people, but a laughable one if compared to the exploits of seasoned nomads. Someday I will travel more, and will make sure to savor the experience and take in as much from it as possible instead of simply ticking off items on my travel list and throwing a neutral density filter on a selfie depicting my ass cheeks on a beach with a strategic wedgie.
I find the idea of travelling making you unemployable ridiculous. If anything it’s an opportunity to grow as a person, develop character as well as to learn more and to see beyond your usual surroundings. If you become unemployable in the process, then it’s not the travelling to blame but the attitude. To counteract the list of unemployable traits, here is my list of why travelling is a worthwhile experience which will arguably make you a better employee and a person in general.
Must be a team player. Adventuring with a group of people will be exponentially better experience if you can get along with people without being a selfish prick. Considering everyone’s plans and interests, compromising on arrangements and resolving shouting matches that will definitely arise will make you the MVP of the team. If you are travelling alone then you develop your “independent work” skills as you are the only one in charge and there is no safety net guarding you against stupid decisions. You will also develop analytical and critical thinking which will save your ass in many situations, I promise.
- Must have communication skills. As you travel alone, communication is an essential skill that you will have to cultivate. You have friends and family at home worrying about you, and you must frequently update them on your whereabouts. If you fall of the grid then don’t be surprised when your grandma will show up with search party to have some ponds dragged for your potentially bloated corpse. As a traveler you will be forced to get out of your comfort zone and ask for directions, information, advice, and very likely not in your native language. You will learn to communicate with people, be less shy, and be more humble. You will also learn patience of dealing with different types of people, conflict resolution and compassion. I bet you same skills come handy at work too.
- Must have time management skills. Isn’t it a beyyotchh to miss the only train of the day because you were too busy dancing with a tambourine in moonlight and picking your nose? Planning, researching, and scheduling never harmed anyone. Some travelers brag about taking off without a plan or a place to stay, but chance favours the prepared.
Just as planned!
- Must be able to take directions. As a solo traveler you are largely in charge of planning your own adventure. You figure out what works for you and what does not and it’s part of critical thinking process. However don’t scoff at people giving you suggestions or telling you how to do something. Analyze instead: is their way better? Is there logic in it? Chances are that they are using a certain procedure because it’s efficient. You are welcome to give improvement suggestions, but don’t assume that you are always right and everyone around is an imbecile.
- Must be available in-house. This one is trickier to get around as there are more location-based jobs than work-from-home types. However many workplaces offer flex options; you have to ask about it rather than assume the worse. If the office environment is not cutting it for you, explore other career options, there are plenty of amazing opportunities that don’t fit into traditional 9-5 schedule. The obvious benefit of flexible work is that you can use your lunch hour productively.
Summary of everything above: don’t be a dick about travelling and earning money for your adventures.
Also here is a song for those who asked themselves: “Who the hell is Don Henley?”
*the following summary might be slightly exaggerated