This is a topic that annoys me to no end…
I love to travel and have no qualms about spending the money I make in my full-time job on it, whether for hotel stays, airplane tickets or eating out. However, as an adult, I would never expect nor ask people to donate to what is essentially a passion of mine. So when I see travel blogs with a Paypal donate button, I am majorly turned off. Now, these travel bloggers are usually not like my traveler demographic (i.e. works full-time, travels when she can) and are undoubtedly in the smaller percentile. These with the ultra tacky donate button are those that “gave up everything to travel full time” as in yes, maybe at one time they had a life of responsibility, but now they don’t, and bum around the world, looking for money from Internet strangers to keep their “habit” going.
Now I’m not saying this to malign every permanent traveling nomad since I have come across many who do it right. They write and sell their work when they can, house sit (free accommodations), and obviously have some form of savings to their name. But I often wonder about those travelers with the donate button on their blog’s page; how much money do they actually get? And then I further wonder-who are the people actually donating? Is it people who for whatever reason would never travel so they live vicariously through those that do? Or is it people who just have that much to spare? As someone who loves to travel, I would never give money I’ve earned to someone who doesn’t work at all so they can flit about the world. (I would certainly donate money to someone who maybe just lost everything or someone who is in a bad state and has always dreamt about visiting a particular destination.) I work hard, I save as much as I can, but the money I make goes towards my travels.
Maybe it sounds selfish but certainly nowhere as selfish as people who don’t work (yes, per their choosing) but then are soliciting funds so that they don’t have to return to that “crappy real world.” If I sound jealous or bitter that’s not my intention. I love to travel but I am not about to scrimp when I travel (i.e. stay in gross lodgings, eat at disgusting places, or skip an attraction I wanted to see but didn’t because it ended up costing more than I thought it would), just so I can travel as a full-time life path. I like being budget conscious when I travel but I also like to splurge when I see fit, and splurging isn’t necessarily an action that seems to go with these travelers. I have donated money before to causes that actually need my money-the 2004 Asia tsunami victims, the Haiti earthquake victims, the Joplin tornado survivors. Those are people and communities that need my money. Travelers who are permanently living out of a backpack do not.