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What are some ways to convince Americans to embrace long term travel?

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Most I know are the prepachage types and don't really learn about new cultures.
13 years ago, April 15th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #69543  
Having traveled in Europe for two months and South America for 7, I can honestly say that I think most Americans would enjoy the benefits of long term travel. But travel past two weeks, especially backpacking are mostly done by Europeans or Australians. What are some ways to convince Americans to embrace this lifestyle and stop being overworked and underjoyed?

Prepackage, sorry
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13 years ago, April 15th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #69550  
Let me give you my one cent reply to this.

Australians and British are used to Gap year before reaching university or just after university.

Europeans have a huge social system...the french can stop to work for 6 months to a year when they have worked for few years, and still get there job back..garantee!

The Americans on the other side...if you want a good university, mst of you guys jump in high debts by the time they are 22. Not ideal to do a gap year, around the world when you are sitting on 100,000usd debts! So instead of travelling, they join to rat race to pay off the debta...and you turn 30 before you see it...and than it's the mortgage rate race...

There may be a reason why the GDP in the States is higher than in more places...it's simply because people work more. Now I'm not saying it's a good thinkg. But this may explain why you dont bump in so many americans long term travellers.

Would I jeopardise a all long term career for a 6 months round-the-world...may be not...

Would it be fun for american to have all this different...oh yes. I'm belgian, most of my friends don't run in any debts while studying....credit card debts is simply unknown...not the same in Uncle Sam country... Reply to this

13 years ago, April 15th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #69554  
Two words, financial crisis!

We've had couch surfers come stay with us praising the financial crises for giving them the motivation and the means to travel. Between a payout (some better than others), and the knowledge that you're probably not going to get a job straight away has given the few Americans I know an excuse to nick off for a couple of months. Reply to this

13 years ago, April 15th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #69557  
I think travelblogs such as yours and others here on the site that promote the idea are a great start. That's not to say that Americans don't travel, or want to travel, but the cultural values that most of us are brought up with place more emphasis on career and monetary success than 'personal enrichment' success - the type of "success" in life that a year on the road would bring, for example.

Gap years and years off in-between high-school and college or college and the "real world" aren't promoted, or even encouraged. I was raised thinking that if I took ANY time off I would fall behind, never to rise ahead, never to succeed. I have this battle constantly with my parents (even as an adult) trying to explain to them my rationale for wanting to put my career, family plans and mortgage on hold to travel the world. To them, that type of thinking is irresponsible.

I believe this trend is slowly starting to change. Younger generations (the under 30 crowd) are much more interested in foreign affairs, cultural nuances, and the world at large. Our parents generation was brought up during the Cold War and were essentially taught the rest of the world was this scary place to be feared indefinitely. That belief is changing. There's actually a bill going through the legislation right now considering lifting the travel ban to Cuba - I never in a million years thought I'd legally be able to step foot there.

Some universities are trying to encourage more foreign travel for college students as well. As a grad student I was a finalist to receive a $20k grant to travel solo for 8 months to at least 8 countries. Those were the only stipulations - you HAVE to travel for eight months, gee, twist my arm a little harder. Obviously I didn't get the award, but 5 other grad students did and they'll share their experiences with others, who will then want to embark on similar journeys.

That's the long answer. The short answer is something like coming up with a sure-fire way to put "traveled around the world" on a resume and make it sound marketable to human resources. That essentially by-passes the cultural barriers preventing long term travel in the first place. Reply to this

13 years ago, April 15th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #69575  
Hello Kevin and Amarryn 😊

What I noticed about Americans that is different from Europeans and Australians is they tend to focus a lot more on being responsible where their financial lives are concerned. Even the ones that travel long term seem embarassed about it and and describe it in a negative way, as if they are doing something that will be critisised.

I met a guy from New York when I was in Kyrgyzstan. He had been in C. Asia for 2 years. He started off telling me about it when I asked as if he was talking about doing something wrong and worryng about what will happen when he gets back to the US and what will people think. I told him that I think being able to manage travel for 2 years in this wild part if the world is quite an achievement, especially since he didnt have a lot of money and had to make it stretch by staying in peoples houses and helping them with things etc. He seemed suprised that I thought what he is doing is something to be admired.

I suppose when Americans start to see the benefits of travel and not just the benefits of working hard then they will also embrace it.

Mel
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