What Matters Most

Sometimes when I’m scanning a travel board, I’ll come across a comment that really burns my butt. (Isn’t that a funny expression? Where in the heck did it come from?) Usually the comment is in response to someone seeking information on an agency, tour group, etc, and it goes something like this:

“The porters didn’t have sleeping bags and had to sleep outside without a tent, but I saved $100 by booking with them, so I just tried not to think about.”

Now Jeff and I aren’t rich. We do have a budget for this trip. We like to find good deals. But, I absolutely, totally, completely draw the line at saving money at the expense of another human being. Nothing, nothing, nothing is more important than human life. Every human being deserves dignity and deserves to receive a fair wage for a day’s work. We are all human beings and our lives are all of equal worth. Having more money or more opportunity doesn’t make you more valuable than someone born to a life of less privilege.

Another comment that really gets me fired up goes something like this:

“Well their environmental practices are terrible, but they’re cheap, so I went with them.”

Again, the idea of saving money at the expense of something that you cannot put a price on is a practice I find deplorable. If you think a place is so beautiful/interesting/amazing/unusual that you make it a point to go there, shouldn’t you be doing whatever you can to protect this place? The maxim “”We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” comes to mind.

In my opinion, what inspires people to act in this way is a sense of entitlement. For some reason, some people get it in their head that they deserve to visit a certain place, regardless of the consequences. They believe that the fulfillment of their dream, the achievement of their goal, the status of their happiness trumps everything else. I, on the other hand, believe that if you can’t do it right, then you shouldn’t do it all. Let me be clear, I’m not advocating the luxury trip or stating that only by paying a lot of money can you do something right. I am, however, saying that you need to keep things in perspective. If paying $25 more for a trip means that your porters are well clothed and fed, can you really justify not paying it? If an extra $10 translates to your garbage being carried out rather than left on the side of the trail, can you, in good conscience, refuse to pay that $10?

I, personally, don’t think so.

Buy a few less beers, stay in a dorm room rather than a private room, take a bus rather than a plane. If you care, you’ll find the money. If you don’t care, then maybe you ought not to leave your home.

2 Replies to “What Matters Most”

  1. I agree 100%. Unfortunately, thats not how the world works for many people out there. Especially in the usually expensive hobby of travel, so you better get used to them Theresa. But I know how you love to dislike whole groups of people, so just make sure you keep doing what you think is right. I know you will, though, cause you don’t want to be part of their group. I know that for sure. Haha.

  2. It is a sense of entitlement, I completely agree. It’s something that has often bothered me… this imperlistic attitude that people take with them with traveling… as if the local people are there to fulfil their needs. They go to these countries for cheap food, drink, fun and leave nothing behind… add no value. It’s a sad state of affairs actually.

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