Before I catch up with my write-up for my previous trips, let me share my own insight regarding this ‘beg-packers’ culture happening now. No offense meant but, I find this topic a little disturbing as a Southeast Asian, and as a traveller too.
I stumbled on an article regarding backpackers begging/selling postcards/performing on the streets for money in SEAsia (Singapore to be exact) in order for them to ‘travel the world’. I don’t know what their stories are but, I don’t think it’s appropriate esp here in Singapore where we, foreigners (I am a Filipino), who are working here need to have intensive screening to get our working permits. And also, it is really illegal here to sell/perform on streets if you don’t have any working permit (that’s why they are not on the busy streets).
It intrigues me that travelers who, shall I say, quit their jobs and started travelling are now asking from locals to support their ‘travel around the world’ or for them to buy return tickets to their home country while neglecting the fact that most of the people from SEAsia, who ask or beg for help/money, are really those in dire need and just wanted to have food on their table for the day.
Hmm. For me, to travel is a privelege that comes from being hardworking. I can’t just quit my day job just to travel the world cos not all people have that luxury, money and bravery to quit and consequently, ‘might’ end up being broke (esp if you’re not resourceful, hmm, in legal way). I read stories about backpackers who quit their jobs and end up doing blogs, vlogs, learning yoga, massage and working as english tutors and all. Those type of travellers really inspired me cos they are so brave to quit and ended up being resourceful and successful. Now, they reap what they sow and their travels are being sponsored and in return they will give reviews on their blogs etc. They don’t just ‘beg’ from locals in order for them to travel or if they work, they actually work while abiding laws. I am not against on whatever people are doing in their lives but, let us be more sensitive on this matter (which also means respecting the laws of the country you’re in).
When people ask me who pays for my travel, or am I rich? Or How can I afford travelling everytime, this is my answer: I work, I save, I plan and I look for cheaper options without sacrificing the ‘experience’ that I will have in a place I’ve never been before.
I don’t think I am rich in terms of money, I just set aside for my travelling expenses. I am also grateful that I had the chance to work here in SG. In my case, I have a family to sustain and help with so I can’t just quit and travel. I am also not that courageous to work outside my field and I actually love what I am doing too so.. To have the means of setting aside a budget for my travel means prioritising my needs and wants at the same time. I don’t want to spoil my holiday just because I’m broke and I don’t want to burden other people just because I want to go elsewhere. If you want to travel, work for it, right? I respect all those backpackers who quit but, did everything they could, work their asses off doing edits, doing jobs they never thought of doing in their entire lives while following the laws of the countries they are in for them to travel the world and reach for their dreams.
Anyway, just my two cents.