Are travellers just bums?

It is a common belief that people who prioritise travel in their lives and turn their backs on career-building, buying houses and all the other readily accepted norms in society are bums, but is that true?

Who are travellers?

It is easy to use the term ‘travellers’ and group people together, but in fact everyone travels differently and for a variety of reasons. Some people become travellers temporarily each year when they go on an annual holiday. Others travel for extended periods, such as those on round-the-world trips and expats who live and work overseas to further their careers, or simply for the experience. There is a growing group of people who choose a non-location-dependent existence and effectively live on the road. These long-term travellers are the ones who tend to be labelled ‘bums’.

Travel is an education

There is no debating it; travel is an education. Visiting foreign countries and experiencing life other than how you know it to be can be life changing. A few experiences abroad can forever alter your perspective. Seeing how much or how little others have and need enables you to see your own country with new eyes.

Travel also teaches you a lot about yourself. You will quickly learn your limits when trying to get un-lost in a new city, attempting to communicate in a foreign language or even just learning the different systems in a new place. Being outside your comfort zone forces you to adapt to new situations. Travelling, especially alone, can sometimes leave you feeling vulnerable which furthers your patience and sympathies with others.


There will always be people who are less focused on the things society attributes value to, such as careers and property-ownership, and they are frequently judged to be bums. There are also times in everybody’s lives when you just need a break. I think referring to travellers as ‘bums’ is really a reflection of the people using the term. Choosing to label people in this way is often for reasons of jealousy or disapproval.

What do you think? Are travellers just bums?

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