Travel is one of the few things in life I don’t hate. In fact, I’m downright Pollyanna about it. For example, I’m currently in Detroit having a grand old time even though the vast majority of people I know offered me a taser and a dumb joke about poverty porn when I told them my plan. (Whatever. You’re all missing out.)
For the most part, though, I’m a hater. There is very little in this great wide world that I don’t find fault with or encounter with at least some disdain. This includes travel-related things, though not travel itself. I hate most blog posts about travel. Especially the ones that scream “Top Ten Things To NOT Do In Paris”, which is actually a tongue-in-cheek way of saying what you should do in Paris, as if that little twist had us all fooled. My, how clever! I hate pictures of anyone looking at the horizon, because we all know it took at least 525 shots, four different apps and countless filters to make it look “candid”. As for travel quotes, most of them make me want to hurl. They can easily be divided into three equally atrociously sucky categories:
- The “Ha, I’m drinking cocktails and you’re living a Feminine Mystique nightmare!” quotes: No better way of validating your own life choices by belittling that of other women. Sisterhood!
- The “Experiences Make Me Rich, No Need to Worry About Money” quotes: Clearly shared only by people who have never, ever been concerned about vulgar matters like bills or affording toilet paper.
- The “I LITERALLY STOPPED BREATHING BECAUSE I SAW A SUNSET” quote: Every time I read one of those, my eyes roll so far back into my head I start identifying myself as The Girl Has No Name.
There is, however, one exceptional quote about travel that encapsulates everything I truly love about it. It comes courtesy of war journalist, novelist and travel writer Martha Gellhorn. You can find it in her beautiful memoir Travels with Myself and Another, which you should immediately pick up right now. To be fair, it doesn’t even mention the word travel, but it can be found at the end of a paragraph that centers the whole theme of her travel book. This is it:
Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival.
Boom! That is all. At the end of the day, every journey is about getting through this thing called life (RIP Prince). When people tell me they’re afraid of eating dinner alone, sharing a hostel room with strangers, walking the streets of a foreign country, trying to communicate in a different language, we are all deep down fearing that we somehow won’t get out of it unharmed. But good travel, real travel, teaches you that you are stronger than your static self leads you to believe. The best part about this quote is that it’s also applicable to all the daily journeys that weighs you down on your soul. Like your commute to work or the indignities of walking into court or going back to Walgreens for some god-damn tampons in the middle of the night. You survive it. You feel like a badass.
Feel free to copy paste on a stock photograph of a beach using comic sans.