Hello American friends (i.e. non Republicans)
I'm from Australia. Us Australians travel a lot, because we are isolated and on an island, this leaves us no choice if we want to see other countries. You my American friends have other landlocked countries you can visit, so can technically travel to other countries without going overseas.
When I do run into Americans overseas and mention I'm from Australia, I virtually always hear "Oh nice, I'd like to go there someday". But you can kinda tell it's lip service and that they probably won't go there. There's no conviction in their voice, it's just polite speak.
Which got me doing a quick Google and I found this article from the Huffington Post.
Although a little old, it makes some interested best estimates of the true percentage of Americans who travel overseas. I also learned there's been a tiny bit of growth in the last 9 years - the BBC reports 40% of Americans now hold passports compared to 35% when the Huff Post article was written. But nothing to significantly alter the fact that out of 4% of Americans who travel o/s, only a paltry 2% of the come to Australia.
So my question are: Why aren't you travelling? Why aren't you travelling here? I'd love to hear reasons. Are they...
2) Time (you only get 2 weeks per year vacation there, don't you?)
3) Prefer to go somewhere else
4) Fear of flying
5) Something else?
I leave the US for the UK or Europe at least twice a year. Its horribly expensive but can pull it of fairly easily by shopping air fare carefully, staying with friends and living with extreme frugality.
I was raised as an expat kid so long travels don't faze me. I can't think of a single person I know that currently has a passport. The cost is prohibitive and ever rising for many Americans.
I live in Kentucky and it shocks me, almost daily, how many people have never left the US and make comments about how wonderful America is.
Hell, a good portion have never left the state and yet always have an opinion on everything.
I just got back from a cross country drive with my son and one of my coworkers made a comment when I got back, "glad you had fun but seems like a waste of money to me". Backward ass people.
Predominantly cost. Here in the San Diego area the cost of living is very high. And traveling with three kids, or paying for care for three kids while I travel, is a large additional cost. However we were able to do 2 weeks in France with them last year, which was very rewarding.
I used to travel quite a bit professionally. Traveling overseas and elsewhere is a drug for me. I miss it a lot and would love to travel to Australia regardless of the flight times/expense/critters. That being said, I know a lot of people who have trouble going five minutes down the road. I attribute that to the above plus fear; there’s a lot of fear in the U.S. exacerbated by polarizing influences, and though my inclination is to travel and experience new things and push my envelope, (therefore negating fears) I realize I’m pretty unique.
I’m someone who adores overseas travel. And I do plan to get to Australia, sincerely, one day. I visited New Zealand last year, so I got close. I’ve been to Europe several times, Asia twice and Africa once. South America is next and then I’ll head back and hit Australia.
But cost and time are the biggest factors keeping people from it these days. Flying overseas is a significant expense and as you pointed out, we don’t value vacation time in the US. Income inequality is also sharply on the rise here. The amount of Americans who are “cost-burdened” by housing (spending more than 30%) has skyrocketed in the last few years and they are struggling just for basic necessities.
At different times of my life, I have lived in Germany, the Middle East, and different parts of Asia. And BTW, while living in Japan, I traveled to Australia and New Zealand. But I know most Americans don't share my Wanderlust, whether it be because of lack of curiosity or the low-wage economy that is the norm here.
I would love to travel overseas. But at thousands of dollars just for the plane tickets it's just not realistic. Plus it's hard to get the time of work. Where will my kids go while I'm gone? That's even more money if I have to pay someone to watch them. I don't mind flying at all but airports are a pain. I'd rather just stay home.
Despite the above (done partially in jest), Aussies are great and friendly people (in my experience) with a less overbearing government.