Why do I travel? Because I hate Global American Culture

There was a big hoodoo back in 2010 at Huffpo and Gadling about an article written by Nomadic Matt called “Why we travel“.

I can summarize the whole discussion for you:

Nomadic Matt: We (those who travel long term) travel because the 9-5 lifestyle doesn’t suit us. We find it boring and unfulfilled. We travel because we want something more out of life than a job, a mortgage, or the sedentary American/European lifestyle.

Gadling: Nomadic Matt has said our lifestyle isn’t any good. We like to work and travel and be sedentary.

9-5er Commentors: Long term travelers are snobs and they look down at us so we hate them.

LTT Commentors: We don’t hate you, we pity you and think we are better than you.

Hippie Commentors: Can’t we all just agree to disagree?

My reply at Huffpo:

It’s a no win situation. Ants and grasshoppers. Shepherds and ranchers. Gentry and peasants. I travel because I hate bosses and being exploited by them and the corporations they work for. I take jobs, but I also leave them at will and my life is organized in a way that I don’t need to have the security of a big nest egg, a pension, or any of that stuff that a 9-5 lifestyle brings with it. Matt’s taking heat for being condescending to the wage slaves, oh well, that’s what they are. They’re also the reason why the world sucks the way it does because of their fear of losing their security that they’ve traded the hours of their lives for and can’t imagine losing now. Let’s face it, the wage slaves hate us for our freedom and we hate the wage slaves for making everything so damn expensive and complicated! The only solution is to have two separate planets.

And here is my comment at Gadling:

I really think it’s a matter of two different mentalities. Introduce me to a long term traveler and you are introducing me to an anarchist. I know, I’m both.

The problem this article has whipped up is that shepherds don’t like fences and ranchers and farmers do. Long term travelers are shepherds. They move from place to place and they don’t want to have the restrictions in place that come with having a 9-5 job, a mortgage payment, taxes, immigrations, border control, police checks, big government, or all of the other things that the 9-5ers call ‘security’.

How do you fund long term travel? It made me laugh to read the muggle reactions.

It’s easy. You work. You just don’t sell your soul to the corporation or the bank. Also, it is amazing how expensive it is to maintain a house, a car, and a job. You have to have the clothes to work in, you have to pay to get to work (somehow) and home, you have obligations, taxes, you have to pay to have a place to sleep, eat, and shower that is relatively near your work.

I keep seeing people who say “You don’t have to quit your job to travel.” and “How do you fund long term travel?” the two are connected. Your job is expensive. That’s why people like me say to quit it and experience the freedom. There’s a reason we call you wage slaves. Your job is the chain that binds you to your labor and until you quit, you just won’t believe it.

If all of you quit your jobs, then we could really get to work on making things better, but since you won’t, I’ll have to keep hoping for a civilization ending event.

Here’s hoping for the end of your civilization,


But there really is more to it than that. I want to give you the definitive answer to why I travel. Me, Vago the Vagobond. Here it is.

I travel because I hate paperwork. I travel because I hate taxes. I travel because I hate Walmart. I travel because I hate seeing 1000 cars all with one person in them. I travel because I hate bigots. I travel because I hate ignorance. I travel because I hate governments because they are all corrupt and give unfair advantages to those who already have all the advantages. All of them do. I travel because I hate bosses who use my labor to make more money than I make from it. I travel because I hate getting drunk to let off the steam that builds from dealing with traffic, appointments, bills, work. I travel because I hate Democrats and Republicans. I travel because I hate Bill O’Reily and Keith Olberman. I travel because I hate the TV. I travel because I hate consumer therapy to fill the emptiness of ‘normal’ life. I travel short..I hate what human society has become in the age of American Global Culture.
I travel for contentment
But don’t think that hate is the only reason. I travel because I hope to find something better. I travel because I hope that the world isn’t as insane as it seems. I travel because I hope I can find a place where the TV and American Global Culture aren’t dominant. It’s not an easy thing to find, but I hope to – someday. As I look out the window of my Fes, Morocco apartment and see thousands of satellite dishes pointed West, I know it’s time to travel again. I travel because I hope that there is something more fulfilling than New Improved Shampoo or a Vente Iced Mochiato Starbucks Triple Shot.

And, along the way, I find so many things to love. I traveled and found the love of my life and married her. I traveled and found some of the best friends I’ve ever had. I traveled and found the love of strangers becoming friends. I traveled and found new foods I love, new places I love, new experiences I love. I travel because it gives me the chance to love in a world that is so filled with things I hate. I travel because it is the only way to retain my soul and keep it from forgetting that I hate all those things I wrote about above. I do hate them. I do wish that the society and culture that created them would disappear forever.

Finally, I travel because it allows me to remember that there is something greater than me, greater than my problems, greater than my hopes, greater than my fears. In travel and in life, I submit myself to the will of God. I trust my fate. Indeed, even though I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul (Invictus) I know that the soul must weather the storms of chance and that fate can never be foretold. It is the uncertainty of travel that reminds me of all of this.

And, just one last thing. I travel because I come from a long line of genius fire making monkeys who like to fling dung at anyone who tries to put a fence up. And because I ‘m looking for the perfect mango. And…and…and…

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Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

5 thoughts on “Why do I travel? Because I hate Global American Culture

  1. It sounds to me like you’ve just described why you travel outside of the US.

    I love to travel. Love. I’m planning my first long term travel with my family this summer.

    But I’m not doing it because I hate what America has become. In fact, I’m doing all of my traveling in the United States this time so that I can better understand – and teach my children – WHO America has become.

    I don’t travel because of what I hate.

    I travel because of what I love – learning about new places and people.

    But that’s me. :-)

  2. Honestly, I travel because of what I love too. The U.S. Global culture is a little bit like a person that killed my beloved. I travel to find what I love and usually when I find it dead and battered, I find the culprit on the television people are gathered around or in the music blaring from hummers, or in the fashions that are being chosen over traditional garb. Don’t get me wrong…I love the lands of the United States, I love many of the people of the United States, I love traveling in the United States. I’m just slightly bitter about how the USA traded the dreams and hopes of the world for something altogether more cheap, selfish, and less altruistic. I grew up reading about the history, ideals, and great personages of the USA. I was an enamored patriot. It was one day when I was a sergeant in the Marine Corps and my superiors reprimanded me for not spending my entire budget allowance because I was managing a barracks efficiently that I woke up. They had me pile up perfectly good furniture and make my guys destroy it so we could exceed the budget. I saw the same sort of idiocy in the corporate world as I worked for dot coms in the 90s and in the 00’s as a stock broker. My breaking point as a patriot came when I saw how excited about the Iraq war those with money were. Plenty of people were jumping for joy at the millions they were going to make on it, I wasn’t one of them. I quit and embarked upon my life of travel and seeking joys that weren’t soaked in the blood of innocents.

  3. I travel because I want to see the world. Sample their culture. Enjoy their food. Makes new friends. It does not have to be deep. I work on contract basis and travel when I can. I travelled a fair bit with work as well. So it does not has to be a definitive choice. I have lived aboard most of my life because I love Europe and was educated there. But I also have family obligations …my elderly mother! So I move back to Hong Kong. I see myself as an eternal traveller. I can settle anywhere but not for long.

  4. Ah Doris,
    Your a nomadic shepherd too! One of the reason’s I took my degree in Anthropology was because I love the nomadic peoples of the world. Most of them just bring their mother’s along with them when they go. Our modern old people though…

    I’m with you. You said it perfectly. I can settle anywhere but not for long.


  5. Vago –

    Totally get that. And, yes, I HATE that part of US culture, too.

    I think our reasons, deep down, our similar. Because I also travel to seek out the bits of humanity that remain underneath all that crap – because my hopelessly optimistic and ideal self needs to know it still exists somewhere. :-)

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