Why American's Don't Travel Abroad
When explaining why only 30% of Americans hold a passport, the article boiled down the problem down this way:
Tourism experts and avid travelers attribute Americans' lack of interest in international travel to a few key factors, including: the United States' own rich cultural and geographic diversity, an American skepticism and/or ignorance about international destinations, a work culture that prevents Americans from taking long vacations abroad and the prohibitive cost and logistics of going overseas.Yes, it is like someone from the Land of the Out of Touch had a baby with the NPR Junkie. Sort of like a Glenn Beck meets the Academic liberal.
"Why there is no such thing as rampant poverty, unemployment, and jobs that don't permit you to travel at will! Nobody travels because they persist in their backwards, racist, hatred of foreigners!"
Once again, another American commits the crime of believing that foreigners do not engage in racism. Back in the 1960's, about 20 years after the holocaust, some European hotel let Sammy Davis Junior stay in the same room that other people would stay in. Now, they've gone from a land of genocide to being a post-racial utopia whose example we can all learn from.
Anyway, I think it was a bit too depressing for this travel expert to recall the exact number of people who live below the poverty line. In 2009, one in six in the U.S. experienced food scarcity at some point during the year. A large portion of those people depended upon handouts to be able to eat, and many got into that position because they had issues with employment, because they were either unemployed or had to take a lower-paying job. Pray tell, where are those people supposed to find $3,000 to jaunt off to Europe and live off of authentic pizza from Napoli like Julia Roberts?
In spite of the fact that the actual author of Eat, Pray, Love paid with her trip with an advance from her publisher to write about the experience, what that book sells is only slightly different from what is said in the CNN article: You're supposed to "throw caution to the wind" and live abroad for a year to "find yourself" because the money is going to magically appear in your couch cushion. Nevermind that you don't have money to eat and pay your bills.
Also, I wonder how many Americans out there who are gainfully employed, but who have had such a big chunk of their salary wiped out by student loans that they can't even think of going to Europe? Maybe they could have gone on the cheap about 10 years ago with that $30,000 a year salary because they owed much less in student loan debt. Now, if you're sending about $600 a month to Sallie Mae, on top of paying more in health insurance premiums, rent, and gasoline, a $3,000 trip is much more extravagant. In fact, I know lots of people who would love to go to Europe, but the cost is too high in spite of what the jackal in the CNN article says. If people are living at home because they cannot afford to have their own apartment, it would be a tad irresponsible to even go on a "cheap" vacation to Ireland. If you are already barely making it to the end of the month as far as paying the bills, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that you don't have any extra money to pay for a trip to Europe.
And if we're going to acknowledge that the majority of jobs don't pay enough for a luxury trip, then we can also point the finger at the fact that two weeks of vacation is not enough to live out those fantasies. That is, unless you want to work through the holidays without going home for Christmas, forego traveling to see your sister in Wisconsin during the summer, having any three day weekends to relax, or taking days off to run some necessary errands. Unless your family lives in town, you are single, have no children, and have a constitution of iron where you can go for months without taking a day off, and are lucky enough that you will never need to take a day off to meet with a repair person because of plumbing and cable issues, saving up enough vacation time to be able to go somewhere for an extended period of time is difficult.
...That is, if you are lucky enough to work in a place that offers paid vacation, and does not frown upon their employees taking several days off in a row.
Yes, so, in spite of this person's theory that America is so incredibly affluent that everybody should be spending months in Europe, the reality is that, even for the people who aren't too poor to travel, there are many more who can't simply because of logistics.