Don’t Hate: There are Healthy Ways to Deal with Travel Envy

Don’t Hate: There are Healthy Ways to Deal with Travel Envy

Beware of wanderlust that brings out the green-eyed monster.

As I type this, the hashtag #travel boasts of 323,541,672 public posts on Instagram — and that number is just going to keep on rising.

The universal love affair with travel is one that’s long and lasting. People will always want it unless they have a debilitating fear of airplanes, boats, cars, and trains, but that’s another story. No doubt journeying to a new place is a timeless goal (and one that’s on many bucket lists), but these days, as Instagram hashtags easily point out, travelling is also quite on-trend.

From jet-setting to backpacking and even hitchhiking, social media has catapulted travel yet again into the spotlight, bestowing it with the coveted, red-hot status it currently enjoys. And it looks like it’s going to stay that way for as long as netizens hit like and share.

Also read: This is How Millennials Are Travelling

But as we all know, with love comes emotions that aren’t as pretty. In the winding and winsome realm of #travelgoals and #travelspiration, travel shaming exists. There, we find an uncomfortable truth we must face head-on whenever it rears its ugly head: Travel envy. Yes, travel envy is real and unfortunately, it festers. Fortunately, though, we’re here to talk about it.

Also read: Why We Have to Stop Travel Shaming

What’s travel envy?

Have you ever come across a striking travel post on social media that kind of made you feel like you wish you were there, too? Or maybe a fun story posted by a friend who flies frequently?

Something as simple as that starts to sprout other complicated thoughts and feelings.

“How does he travel all the time?”

“Where does she get the funds to stay that long?”

“I bet they don’t have desk jobs that keep them glued to a computer 24/7.”

“How come I haven’t done that? Feels like I’ve been saving up forever.”

“Another travel post?! Come on!”

“I don’t get paid enough to do that.”

“How many vacation leaves does he have in a year?!” And the list goes on. Do these sound familiar?

It could happen to anyone. That is travel envy — when you begin to resent others’ capability to explore the world or head to a dream destination because you cannot. Imagine how sad that situation is, though. With one photo and a caption, you feel downtrodden.

What can cause it?

This is where the irony of it lies. Travel is supposed to connect and inspire. With the nasty, green goggles of travel envy on, it becomes a source of negative vibes.

1. Discontent

These negative vibes usually stem from general discontent. Think about it. It’s easy to say that someone else’s travel story made you feel bad because it paints an unrealistic picture of life, but at the end of the day, it’s their social media account and their life. So here’s something to ponder on instead: Is it their lifestyle you’re bothered by or yours?

2. Feeling left out

A serious case of #FOMO (or fear of missing out) can also trigger travel envy. When we see that other people are able to do what we’ve always wanted to experience, it kind of makes us feel left out. But hey, don’t hate if you can’t relate. It’s not their fault they’re there. And it isn’t necessarily your fault that you’re stuck elsewhere either. Sometimes, life just puts you where you need to be.

3. Frustration

This is the problem with so much coveting what’s not ours. Why can’t we be the ones living the Parisian life or chasing the northern lights? How come I haven’t seen any part of the Alps? When you’re discontent, you start to feel left out and ultimately, this frustrates you. It’s an unhealthy domino effect. It’s a cycle you need to break.

4. Endless comparison

And maybe one way of getting out of this rut is to stop comparing yourself to others — because that’s what fuels discontent. Comparing your lifestyle to others’  is one habit you need to kick. And this could thwart other negative emotions, too, not just travel envy.

5. Social media vs. reality

Ahh, yes, the boon and bane that is social media. Sometimes you can’t get off it and sometimes you just need to get away from it. You must keep in mind, though, that social media may or may not reflect reality. Don’t be so easily swayed by what you see online. Remember, we often present a curated version of ourselves on social media.

But we’re all human. Travel envy happens, just like any other unpleasant feeling like jealousy or anger and spite. If you do catch yourself off-guard and feeling a bit of travel envy after hearing about someone else’s adventures, here are some healthy habits to turn to.

If you’re the one feeling envious

1. Don’t act on it

Travel is all about being open to new experiences, spreading positive vibes, and exploring the world. If you act on such a negative feeling, then you’re defeating its purpose. Don’t comment on that post — don’t even slide in a DM! No left-handed compliments, snide statements, or pity parties.

2. Ask yourself why you’re feeling this way

This is a basic method of managing one’s emotions and practising self-care, especially when it comes to mental and emotional health. When you start to feel travel envy kicking in, it’s time for some introspection. What’s making you feel so resentful about another person’s happiness?

3. Turn envy into inspiration — plan your next adventure

Instead of feeling envious, be inspired! Take it as a sign to decide on your next destination. Start planning and saving up for your next trip.

4. Practise gratefulness; reminisce about past trips

Think of the last time you travelled when you feel like you’re zeroing in too much on someone else’s holiday. Look back on your previous trips with a grateful heart and be thankful that you still have more to look forward to in the near future. Browse through photos of your last vacation. Read an entry from your travel journal. Doing this helps puts things into perspective — you, at one point, also posted about your travels, wrote about them, told travel stories to friends, etc.

Also read: Why it’s Important to Write About Your Travels

5. Remind yourself why you’re not travelling at the moment

When it comes to dealing with travel envy, being realistic could also help. Surely there’s a sensible reason why you’re not out and about right now. Grow up and accept that. If that makes you unhappy, then do something about it instead of just feeling sorry for yourself. After all, the beauty of travel is that anyone can do it.

6. Explore your own community

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to get the good juju flowing. If you can’t travel far, explore your own community. Even a place that you know like the back of your hand can surprise you at times. Look for hole-in-the-wall joints and walk the streets. You’ll be delighted to know that you don’t have to go that far.

7. Look for opportunities that can lead you to travel

If you think that travel envy hits you more than your peers, then maybe travelling is something you want to do regularly. In that case, find opportunities that will allow you to travel and work at the same time. Sure, you love to travel and you seem to crave it, but you also need to earn and pay the bills.

8. Take a break from social media

If none of this works, perhaps it’s time for a social media detox. A lot of people recount feeling better about life in general after breaking away from online life for a day or two. We know that being online is fast becoming a part of our daily lives, but you can still do this by only logging in when necessary.

If you see other people expressing travel envy

There are times, though, that we ourselves don’t feel travel envy, but we see other people give into it. This is trickier, but here are tips just in case.

1. Let it go

They say that misery loves company, but that’s just an excuse for dragging other people down. If someone is hating on you for travelling, that means they’re miserable about their life — not yours. So just ignore them. Most pronouncements of travel envy don’t even merit a response.

2. Call them out…privately

If you see someone you know with a bad case of travel envy, maybe you can talk to them in private and call them out. That kind of resentment does no one good, so be a dear and help out.

3. It’s another reason to reflect

If you’re the subject of another person’s travel envy and he or she acts on it, you must also ask yourself if you’ve been borderline bragging. We all know that braggarts can be very annoying, but if you’re fun-loving, friendly, and considerate, chances are you’re not the one with the problem. Plus, it’s your social media account and your story to share. It just doesn’t hurt to think about what you’ve been posting online, too.

4. Filter your audience

No one likes trolls. And haters. And bashers. If you find yourself being harassed by these kinds of people when you or your friends post about your adventures, block that negative vibe. Block that person, literally.

We’re but human beings prone to fault and folly. But that doesn’t give us a free pass to ruin someone’s holiday high. Have you been shamed for travelling? Do you think it was a bad case of travel envy? Have you ever felt pangs of travel envy at one point? Talk to us! It’s a difficult thing to admit, but we all just want every travel experience to be one for the books. Let’s help each other by keeping the travel community open and positive.

About Author

Alyosha Robillos
Alyosha Robillos

In Russia, Alyosha is a boy's name popularized by literary greats Dostoevsky and Tolstoy—but this particular Alyosha is neither Russian nor a boy. She is a writer from the Philippines who loves exploring the world as much as she likes staying at home. Her life's mission is to pet every friendly critter there is. When she isn't busy doing that, she sniffs out stories and scribbles away on the backs of old receipts. She is an advocate of many things: culture and heritage, the environment, skincare and snacking, to name a few. She will work for lifetime supplies of french fries and coffee. Or yogurt. Or cheese, preferably Brie.

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