What I Saw: Our Lack of Travelers

Our Lack of travelers

By Traveller


In the mid-1980s I had a job that few people in America would want to do… telemarketing. It by no means ranks in my proudest column of titles as a teenager, but at the time it came with a flexible schedule and paid more than working at a fast food dive. This is where I learned I had something in common (at the time) with many Americans, a simple fact that not many of them claimed to do much of any traveling. In the 14 months I worked at this place, a program called Travelers Advantage was what we were pitching to credit card holders. Most of those who didn’t hang up on me told me they never traveled and didn’t need such a service. 


From the ages of 7-13 I can remember all of three (two out of state) family trips that were officially called a vacation. Would you be surprised if one of these three trips was a drive to Georgia for my Dad to have a job interview? He didn’t get the job, but I got to ride the center hump in the back seat of a Chevy Chevette for roughly 3,000 miles.


As I sat at my telemarketing station, seat #7 of 22 in the room, I was taught how not to take rejection personally and learn to speak slowly when I’m trying to sell a stranger something. Within a few shifts most of us had the script memorized and it took an effort not to sound like a recording if you actually made it through to the end without being hung up on.


Almost 30 years later I find it sad that not much has changed when it comes to how many people don’t travel and in some cases turn the age of 30 and still haven’t been out of their home state. I can understand if a person turns 30 and has only been on a few flights, but to never have taken a road trip over a long weekend to a neighboring state seems crazy to me. 


From 1985 to today, society has advanced in so many ways in medicine and communication and we’ve now seen companies who will take you to the edge of space or depths of the ocean if you can afford it. What are people waiting for that they can’t take a few days off and go see something new? 


Could it be how they spend their money, or they don’t have any vacation days to take off from work? What does it say about a person who has no desire to go experience new things? Is it fear of the unknown?  Are they afraid they might like it better somewhere else and when they have to come home to their boring life they feel depressed? 


Would our forefathers be ashamed of us by not wanting to see more of the country they fought so hard to create? Many who signed the Declaration of Independence lost their property and even their lives. Would we be better Americans if we saw more of our own country and met more of our fellow neighbors who live hundreds of miles away? 


I can say this; I’ve been on over 225 flights, ridden an ATV on more than 45 various off-road trails or properties. By the time I turned 40 I had plenty of stories to share with friends about the different people I met along the way and all the places I’ve seen. Treat yourself to a new scene if you’ve never seen the view 300 miles away. (Make that 800 miles away if you live in Texas).


Traveller is a Vet who’s wife has retired and taken him along for the drive. At age 21 he jumped from a plane at 11,500 feet and missed a perfect landing by less than 7 yards. He and his wife are proud parents of two Greyhounds. He once sat next to a Playboy Playmate on a flight to Dallas and has seen a night time landing from the cockpit of a C141 cargo plane.

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