Recently I overheard a girl claim that I’m pretentious because all I ever talk about it travel. Considering I didn’t know the girl, her judgement meant nothing to me. That being said, it definitely got me thinking.
After four years at St. Maur and then four more at Rollins College, I definitely know a thing or two about pretentious behavior. We study for December finals by the pool/on a boat in 25 degree weather, complain about crab cakes/filet mignon in the campus center, and literally make it rain 20s at the club. I’ve almost been run over by a Lamborghini on campus, and have been asked if I wanted to fly down to Costa Rica on Daddy’s private jet. Needless to say, I go to school with some of the most pretentious kids in America.
And there’s usually one common factor among the elite: travel. If you can afford to travel, it’s a great luxury to be able to stay in five-star resorts and sip dirty martinis overlooking the infinity pool in Santorini. They share stories of family vacations at the Four Seasons in Bora Bora, Burj Al Arab in Dubai, or Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
But traveling and backpacking are two completely different things. As are vacations and locations of residence. Yes, I have backpacked a lot and am fortunate enough to call various places my home. But my experience abroad is completely different to most peoples. I share my experiences with Third Culture Kids. We don’t necessarily fit in anywhere, nor do we know where “home” is. We wander and have an innate desire to constantly be on the move: to be nomads.
To me, traveling is backpacking. It’s sleeping on the floor of a local’s home, trying street food that may or may not leave you on the toilet for the next 12 hours, and attempting to assimilate into the culture. It’s the 3 hour scooter rides to a town you can’t pronounce, it’s sleeping on the train hugging your backpack, and more than anything else it’s the ability to learn different ideas.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, as cliched as it is, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. If my desire to learn and discover makes me pretentious, then so be it. I’m Erika and I’m pretentious.