Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Do you have a traveller's superiority complex?

I will admit that I feel proud of myself to have travelled a lot. It's an important part of who I am and how I think. But I had a bit of a shock when I read Kelly Exeter's book Your Best Year Yet* and the opening chapter described how her brother had called her out on having a superiority complex.

My traveller's superiority complex

Ouch. With that paragraph, Kelly called me out on having a superiority complex too! I realised that I quite often felt superior to others because of the travel experience I've had (although there are plenty of travellers I feel totally inferior to, as well ... and Kelly goes on to say how both ways of thinking are rubbish!).

I read her book while on holidays in Penang, in a quiet and pretty dark hotel room while my son was sleeping, and I had plenty of time to think. I realised that my superiority complex was, at times, quite far-reaching:

  • I felt more worldly than people who had travelled less than me
  • I felt better and braver than those who had never lived abroad
  • And then (shoot me now!) I felt even better than people who had lived abroad but only in an English-speaking country (because apparently I was so superior for battling through the language barrier)
  • Next step: I felt superior to those who couldn't speak another language
And the list in my head went on. It's pretty embarrassing to see it all on the screen in front of me but the fact is that I have often felt that way over the past decade or so. It's clearly wrong! But perhaps it's somewhat natural (or at least, common).

Getting past a traveller's superiority complex

So, since that moment I have been hyper-aware of any kind of feeling of superiority but especially those about travelling. I don't actually feel like I'm too arrogant about other areas of my life - travel is the big danger zone for me! 

For a start, I try to remember that there are a billion reasons why other people may have travelled less than me. Lack of opportunity is a big one, or a fear of taking the first step (I still get scared before I travel!). Figuring out how to prioritise travel amongst all of life's other demands like work and kids and other interests is tricky, too. 

And then, as difficult as it is for me to understand, there are also people who are simply not that interested in travel. The superiority complex version of me wants to argue that it's just a lack of experience and if these people had the chance to travel more they would change their mind, but the normal real person of me can reason that there are things I'm simply not interested in as well - I think you would find it a real uphill battle to persuade me to develop a love of motorsports, for example. Some people just don't get that much of a buzz out of travelling.

Everyone is different, everyone is unique, and everyone has their own special interests and loves. And thank goodness, because it would be awful if everyone wanted to travel as much as I do, because the planes and hotels would be even fuller!!

*Totally not a sponsored link. It is just an excellent read and was the inspiration for this post ;-) 

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  1. Travelling the best experience you can have in your life. Its makes me so relax and stress free.

    1. Glad to hear it Ansgana - it's the same for me!

  2. Great post Amanda, very brave and it will do wonders for your soul!


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