This week, I accidentally stumbled across articles from The Guardian and The Daily Mail stating that the majority of Brits will only travel to 5% of the world in their lifetime. 5%! That equates to approximately 10 countries. Once I’d picked myself up off the floor and got my breath back, I stared at the figures for a good five minutes. 5%! It doesn’t sound much does it? I decided it couldn’t possibly be true. Nope, the statistics are clearly wrong . . . *Quickly counts up my holidays* . . . 4.63% . . . 4.63% of the world! That’s less than 5%! I’ve travelled less than the average! Well . . . damn. I was well and truly speechless for a long time as I let the figures sink in. I had always considered myself as quite worldly. Don’t laugh. I’ve never been a JacK Kerouac kind of worldly but I thought I was doing ok for 25. Who knew the world was so big? Who knew I was so naive? Clearly not me.
However, even though I found the statistics shocking, I immediately understood why the figures were so low. Travelling is expensive and complicated and tiring and god bless you if you even think about attempting a trip with a large family. It’s certainly not an easy task and if you add rising living expenses and demanding careers then it can be near impossible to take a weekend break, let alone a summer holiday. In a time where holidays have never been more accessible, 21st century travel is simultaneously inclusive and exclusive and that’s a sad fact we have to face. However, travelling has been scientifically proven to enhance confidence and cultural sensitivity amongst many other benefits. As Danny Kaye said, ‘To travel is to take a journey into yourself’ and yet we still only travel to 5% of the world. Somehow life gets in the way and travel ends up slipping further down the list of priorities so how do we work travel back into our busy lives again?
We’ve all heard that a failure to plan is planning to fail so maybe we’d be more likely to travel the world if we make specific goals. For example, I had always wanted to visit Iceland but it was only when I told my friends that we made a plan to go before the end of year. I had no idea if I could afford it but it was in the diary so I had to make it happen and it ended up being the best trip of my life.
As someone with no children and a freelance job, my lifestyle has a certain degree of flexibility so I definitely feel like my travels would benefit if I set more goals for myself. With this in mind, I’ve decided to make a pledge to visit a new country every year! God help my bank balance! Life’s a bit weird and likes to throw a curveball every now and again (the cheeky thing) so I may not be able to always stick to my promise. However, I love a challenge and by creating a specific goal I have something to work towards every year. Who knows this could be the start of something great . . . or mediocre. Either way it’ll be fun!