A Breakup Letter to Meaningless Travel

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Hey, Meaningless Travel. We need to talk.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and I feel like I owe it to you to come clean. After all we’ve been through, you deserve the truth, so here it is: Lately I’ve been feeling like we’re going in different directions and growing apart, you know? Maybe this comes as a complete surprise to you, but I’m pretty sure you feel the same, so I think it would be in our best interest to end this. Honestly, it’s nothing personal. It’s not easy for me to say any of this, trust me. I think we should take some time apart and maybe try to revisit this again in a few years when we’ve had time to mature. Seriously, it’s not you, it’s me.

Meaningful traveler standing in crystal water

I’m off in search of bigger and better things—and adventures.

… Actually, I’m sorry. I’m not being completely transparent. For the sake of honesty, and for your own good, I should be blunt—it’s definitely you.

Listen, you just don’t have anything to offer me anymore. For as long as we’ve been together, all you’ve done is take from me. You’ve stolen my time, my energy, my savings account on more than one occasion. Days and days of PTO down the toilet. Week-long recoveries from jet lag. Laugh-crying over the state of my finances at 11pm on a weeknight. You’ve even taken from the places we’ve gone together! I missed out on meeting new people and having so many cool experiences because you swept me up in trivial, meaningless tourism. And now I have nothing to show for it but a few stamps in my passport and grisly TSA horror stories. To be frank, I’ll never have a special place in my heart for you, and I can’t stay in a relationship where there is no love, no substance.

You haven’t been hitting it right for a long time. 

I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve wasted enough time on you as it is. I know that this is probably difficult to hear coming from me, but it’s for the best. I want to be upfront and make you aware of your toxic habits.

Sure, we have some great memories together! Remember drinking out of coconuts on the beach in Punta Cana? My tan turned out flawless. There was the time I got mistaken for Lady Gaga at the Eiffel Tower—it’s still my favorite story to tell. And how could I forget how beautiful the weather turned out on the day I went to Stonehenge? Yeah, I had some good times with you, but in the end those experiences didn’t mean anything. You left me feeling unfulfilled, empty, and a little bit ashamed. I deserve better than that. 

Tourists on an elephant

You made me act like a tourist & I can’t forgive you. I now know that riding elephants is awful and unethical. 

Look at yourself. You’re selfish and so, so boring. Everything is so generic with you. Where is the depth? Where is the challenge? Did you expect me to be satisfied with group tours and all-inclusive resorts forever? I can’t just observe on the sidelines anymore, playing it safe and never stepping out of my comfortable bubble. Do you remember the time I got mad at the locals in Barcelona for not being able to understand English? When I was annoyed that I couldn’t find a hamburger in India or a Starbucks in Italy? Or when I ranted about the lack of WiFi in Fiji?

Those experiences were all your fault. You’re a terrible influence, and an enabler of bad behavior. 

Because of you, I lacked a sense of adventure and an open mind, and resisted different perspectives on the world. You turned me into the worst possible person….a tourist. Ugh. 

I think you even made me wear a fanny pack one time. I was blinded by our relationship, but now I’m finally starting to see clearly—I need something completely different. It’s time to move on.

I can’t believe that there was a time that I bragged about you to my friends. Now, I see right through you and the throne of lies you sit on. You treat the world all wrong, as though it’s your own personal playground. You don’t care about culture or local customs or any of the things that make trave so special; all you care about is snapping a few pretty pictures. You made me think that the world owed me the perfect vacation no matter where I went or what I did or how I acted. But there are real experiences to be had out there, and opportunities to grow and return home with more than just a commemorative shot glass. Maybe it sounds harsh, but I finally recognize how useless you are to me now, and how useless you always have been.

People sitting on phones instead of talking to each other

Did I even look up from my smartphone and engage in the world and culture around me even once?

I need something more, something meaningful. I need to learn something, to grow, to find adventure, find a purpose, make new friends, try to leave the world at least a little bit better than the way I found it. I want to study Spanish in Buenos Aires, teach English in Seoul, work in conservation in New Zealand, and the list doesn’t end there. People have been saying that there’s a lot more to travel than just five-star hotels and cool Snapchat geofilters—and if I stay with you, I’ll never have the chance to find out for myself.

Actually, after all that, I guess what I’m trying to say is…

There’s someone else. I recently began spending time with someone new, and we have a connection that I can no longer deny exists. I’m in love. It’s called Meaningful Travel, and it’s dope. 

Everything feels so right, so fresh and exciting! With Meaningful Travel, I’m taking trips that matter, and forgetting about Facebook posts and souvenirs. I realized that I’m sick of just going on vacations, and traveling just for fun—and that’s the thing, you made me think that I couldn’t have the best of both worlds! Meaningful Travel is about finding a purpose, traveling with intention, and having the time of your life. If I can have it all, why would I keep wasting my time on something so pointless?

pensive man who just broke up with travel

I’ve done some reflection and know we’re through. You’re just not good for me...or for anyone. 😳

Meaningful Travel and me, we get each other. There’s laughter; there’s shared values; there’s mutual respect and understanding. Our compatibility is undeniable. My friends tell me I’m glowing now! Do you know how cool it is to be glowing? I’ve found someone who will push me to do better, encourage me to prioritize my goals, help me realize my potential, and shut down my bad habits. With Meaningful Travel, I no longer feel like a prisoner of closed-mindedness. I’ve found someone to both grow with, and grow old with. What can I say? Meaningful Travel is The One.

So I’m breaking up with you, Meaningless Travel. We had a good run, but my next flight is going to be somewhere far outside my comfort zone. I’d wish you all the best, but I truly don’t (sorry not sorry). From one ex to another, get your 💩 together.


A traveler who’s just not that into you

How to heal post-break up

So, you’re breaking up with Meaningless Travel (that loser), too? Good for you! It hurts at first, but the great news is that Meaningful Travel has a lot of love to give, and a lot of ways to give it. Peruse the options below, and remember: Always resist the 2am “I want you back” texts.

  • Study Abroad – Explore hundreds of options across almost every major and country for a little bit (or a lot) of adventure before launching into the “real world.”
  • Volunteer Abroad – Choose from dozens of projects and causes around the world, then get out there and get your hands dirty.
  • Intern Abroad – Expand your resume or CV with international work experience, and blow that next interview out of the water.
  • Teach Abroad – Take your teaching talents on the road, and spread your knowledge of your field across the globe!
  • Degree Abroad – When a summer abroad just isn’t enough, consider earning your degree at one of many international universities—masters, bachelors, PHds, and more.
  • Language Schools Abroad – Passionate for languages? Intensive language immersion is calling your name.
  • High School Abroad – Check out options ranging from short-term to full-year exchange programs—some students love a challenge!
  • TEFL Abroad – If you’ve been mulling over teaching English abroad, it’s high time to consider getting certified so you can find that perfect English teaching job overseas.
  • Jobs Abroad – Sick of the job market at home but still need a paycheck? Explore opportunities to work and travel.
  • Adventure Travel Abroad – Responsible and fun excursions with an emphasis on cultural immersion for all the adrenaline junkies out there!

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