Whatever Their Motive, Never Let Anyone Steal Your Joy Of Traveling

Whatever Their Motive, Never Let Anyone Steal Your Joy Of Traveling

Something interesting happened within the confines of a majority black travel forum that I’m a member of.  One of the members shared how her boss’ countenance changed when he overheard where she would be going on vacation.   She regretted that he had heard the exchange almost immediately.   As a result, she posed this question to the group: “Do you tell your employer  or coworkers where you are going or just that you are talking said day(s) off?”

I was a little surprised by the avalanche of responses that not only said “No” but were adamant about it. The commentary ranged from:

“It’s none of their business”

“My boss is jealous that I can do what he can’t do at his salary to “I don’t hide my travels but I don’t go out of my way to share”

“My boss knows how much I make so he’s going to try to figure out how I can afford a vacation outside the country”

“I rarely tell them”

“When I was in corporate America, I wouldn’t tell anyone”

“Not anymore, people think I’m made of money when they hear about it and like to make snide remarks”

Naturally, one would wonder why there is such a strong stance against discussing something that people do every day.   Then I began to remember some of the ‘sage’ advice of my elders back in the day.   I was admonished “Don’t put your business on the street” or Keep your business to yourself”.   It was never explained why you had to do it, you just had to.   This conventional wisdom countered my own personal philosophy on relationships – with co-workers or friendships.   Not that I believed in going around sharing my tax returns or the most intimate details of my life….. I didn’t but I thought withholding the fact that I was going on vacation (and where) was strange.

As I began to work in various office environments, it was clear that a lot of my co-workers got that same memo.   Folks were very tight lipped and thin-skinned about every aspect of their lives, words not related to the job were rarely spoken.   It usually led to very staid and boring work situations too.   My overall philosophy after experiencing that barrel of laughs was to be friendly and not make assumptions or blanket statements about people until they have given me a concrete reason to.   In other words, I would give the people that I spent the most time with—even more than my family—the benefit of the doubt.

I don’t know what inspired what could only be termed as fear into their hearts.   But some of the explanations from the group members revealed what I think is a deeper psychology.  I think some felt: “If they know how much I am enjoying my life, they will somehow find a way to take it from me.”   Of course, that’s just my opinion, but one commenter did state:

“I care because my bosses are haters. The kind that would find more work for me to do as a kind of punishment. And I wouldn’t even put it past them to decide that since I have all this money laying around to travel, that I don’t need x amount as a bonus at the end of the year.”

Far be it for me to dispute or deny that her boss would do just that.   I just think it’s sad that she works in that kind of environment.   Personally, I have had some crappy jobs in the past, but I believe at a certain point you have to realize your worth.   I have died a thousand deaths working in that type of company…well…several companies and it was only after I had the good sense to leave that I felt life was good again.  But what if there is some truth in what they are expressing?

I decided to write this column in an effort to bring to light what is rarely discussed but happens nonetheless.   While it is true that whites may travel more than blacks, it mostly has to do with the fact that on average, their earning potential exceeds blacks.  As a person of color who travels frequently, I have found myself to be one of the handful of blacks in a given city.  When I visited Easter Island, people wanted to take pictures of me to send back home as proof that they had seen and spoken to a black person.  In some areas, we are an anomaly which is why I encourage blacks, in particular,  to get out there and see the world.  We will become less of a novelty if we were seen around the globe in the flesh, not just on a tv screen.

However, when a black person does travel extensively, there is a suspicion that something is not right.  Some people wonder: “How can she afford to go to all of these exotic places when I am living paycheck to paycheck?”  What’s not being verbalized is that deep down they think it’s unfair for a person of color, long known to be the underdog, to be doing better than they are.  I doubt if that person would ever admit to it….or even if they are consciously aware that this is how they truly feel.  So, yes, I would say that they are not necessarily paranoid when it comes to their not wanting to share their ‘business’ because what they fear is grounded in truth.

However, I still disagreed with their position.  My response was:

“I see traveling as a blessing so I am never afraid to tell anyone about my adventures. I am quite aware that people are going to hate or talk about you whether you are good, bad or indifferent. That’s fine….while they are wasting their breath talking, I’m thousands of miles away….not caring.”

I refuse to let anyone or anything steal my joy.  I will not live down to anyone’s expectations so that they can feel comfortable in their preconceived notions of what I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to have and what I am supposed to do.  I am my own person and if my jet setting offends you….stay mad.  I feel free enough to shout it from the rooftops that I have been blessed to do the thing that I have desired to do for decades.  It would be such a dishonor to the realization of that dream to actively hide it from people who didn’t like or couldn’t accept it.  That person’s problem is his or hers to deal with….I will never make it mine.  Therefore, I think when you do everything in your power to obfuscate your blessings….to hide or conceal it….you are giving those people control over your life.  This is something that I will never do.

Of course, this covers a multitude of situations where someone wants you to make yourself small so that they can overshadow you.  I will spend my last breath staying true to myself because if anyone has my best interests at heart, they would expect nothing less.  It should make you all the more determined to go after whatever dream in life that sits undisturbed on a shelf dying of loneliness.  Never let anyone make you think that you have to hide in the shadows or make excuses for living a life fulfilled.  You owe it to yourself to live a life unfettered of someone else’s issues.  That is why I disagree with my compatriots.  I would not let fear of reprisals, jealousies (real or imagined) extinguish my absolute joy about anything that I was doing.  To do so gives them too much power; their opinions shouldn’t matter that much and if it does perhaps it is time for you to question your life and your choices.

What say you?  Do you think that they are justified in keeping it private?  Are they overreacting; am I?  Have you gone through something similar that you’d like to share?



Renee King
  • Gray
    Posted at 12:48h, 07 August Reply

    Great article, Renee! I guess I’ve been lucky to work in an environment where people aren’t so crushingly dream-killing. Everyone here knows I love to travel, they always ask where I’m going next, and they understand that the reason I can afford to travel so much isn’t because I’m making a ton of money, but because a) I don’t have children and b) I’m very frugal in my everyday life. But I do understand that I’m lucky, and that some people DO work in environments such as you describe. I think that’s the saddest thing in the world. It really isn’t any of anyone else’s business what we choose to do with our money and time off.

  • Cheri
    Posted at 23:52h, 07 August Reply

    That’s interesting. I have certainly known people who are pretty guarded about their personal lives. The one who springs most readily to mind very definitely operated from the same sort of fear that it seems your forum spoke of–fear of being judged or even denied future opportunities. My friend was white, so it’s clearly not just an issue for people of color. It’s sad to me to think that so many people live in such a fashion, with so little faith in their fellow man. I’m with you: if I’m happy about something, why wouldn’t I want to share that with the people who share my life daily?
    Cheri recently posted…A Soulmate for LifeMy Profile

  • Alouise
    Posted at 18:35h, 08 August Reply

    Great post Renee. My only travel regrets have involved listening to people saying I can’t or shouldn’t do something/go somewhere and believing them. I have never understood any petty jealous attitudes when it comes to traveling. A friend of mine has been talking about a trip to Europe she’s taking, and she said she feels bad I’m not going anywhere (not for a while at least). I told her don’t ever apologize to me for talking about travel. You’re so right about travel being a blessing, and if I can’t go somewhere then I’m happy to hear or read about someone who can.
    Alouise recently posted…Opening Thoughts on New OrleansMy Profile

  • Shane Curtis
    Posted at 18:56h, 08 August Reply

    Oh jealousy is something that I really can’t stand!
    I like your post here Renee, and I am lovin’ this quoted words: “My boss is jealous that I can do what he can’t do at his salary to “I don’t hide my travels but I don’t go out of my way to share”
    haha, that’s quite a funny! Well, bosses are most of the time busy!
    Shane Curtis recently posted…Timber Sliding DoorsMy Profile

  • Peter
    Posted at 07:42h, 09 August Reply

    Great post! I exactly like the title! Jelaoucy is one of the most common things I see nowadays. I don’t know why. They would had the chance to learn or work and have a job like me. I’m lucky, because my boss and I on very good terms, but some of my collagues are jelaous, because I have a higher salary. (They forget I work 8 hours a day, meanwhile they just working 6 hours a day.)

  • Michaela
    Posted at 21:48h, 10 August Reply

    Wow. I guess I’m lucky to have avoided blatant animosity in the workplace due to my travels. I take several trips each year and share info about my travel plans. Maybe it depends on where you work or the relationships you have with coworkers. Or it might just be the fact that I always return with goodies to share. They have also never asked how I can afford to travel. I’ll count my blessings and hope things don’t change.
    Michaela recently posted…Essence Music Festival in New OrleansMy Profile

  • Michael Figueiredo
    Posted at 22:32h, 12 August Reply

    This is a terrific post, Renee! I couldn’t agree more than your words about traveling being a blessing. 🙂
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted…Side Trip: California Wine CountryMy Profile

  • BJ
    Posted at 22:40h, 05 October Reply

    I love this! And I relate to it. I also have the travel bug but as a missionary and on a very tight budget, many people judge me when I spend money on travel. They have no idea the other areas that I make sacrifices because I prefer to invest in seeing and enjoying the world more than accumulating piles of stuff, etc. And there is always a way to do so even on a shoestring, if you want to.

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