“Traveling” with roller suitcases isn’t what traveling used to be

February 5, 2024 by Joshua
in Nature

When I was in college and traveled abroad, I packed my stuff in an internal frame backpack. No big deal. It didn’t make me special. I remember most people my age traveling with them.

It just held my stuff and by putting most of the weight on my hips, allowed me to carry it far over most terrain.

I don’t remember the last time I saw someone with an internal frame backpack. I see nearly everyone pulling suitcases with little wheels.

On the Beaten Path

Why shouldn’t they? Everywhere they want to go is paved and flat. NYU students hail from all over the world, though mainly China and the U.S. As a result, I see them constantly coming and going from flights. They get in rideshares from outside their doors, which take them to airports with smooth, flat floors, which deliver them to airports and rideshares at the other end.

Living in New York City, of course, I see dozens to hundreds of tourists daily. Nearly all use wheeled suitcases. Online, I see travelers and they overwhelmingly use wheeled suitcases.

Even if they go to see nature, they stay on the beaten path, experiencing catered experiences. They don’t seem to me to be seeing other cultures so much as seeing one global homogenized culture. Think of how different remote places used to be. Now think of how different, say, Bangkok is from where you live. You can probably get Thai food easily where you are, the point being not that it’s as good, but you’re as likely to get French, Mexican, or whatever in each place. In most places most tourists visit.

We’re homogenizing everywhere to the point where going 10,000 miles only takes you to something like where you are. By contrast, if you choose to look for it, you can find novelty, nature, and as much adventure with a bike camping trip. It’s one of countless other ways you can travel without polluting and depleting so much. When you are the impetus for traveling, miles aren’t the measure of travel value so much as how much effort you put in and your attitude.

You can travel without homogenizing and being homogenized, and you’ll save money

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