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Impostor Travelers

I used to read Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and other travel magazines. This was old-school reading: heavy magazines filled with hundreds of pages of editorial and advertising arrived in the mail at my house each month. It was fun to look at pictures and dream of exotic locales.

I gave that up when I actually started traveling, though. I didn’t need to dream anymore. Instead of dreaming, I packed my suitcase and hit the road.

I recently talked with an editor for one of these magazines. He told me that his publisher had began to insist on less photos of actual travel and more photos of luxury items associated with travel: watches, scarves, and expensive luggage that looked impractical.

“That’s weird,” I said. “Why would they do that?”

“Well, here’s the thing,” he told me. “Many of our readers don’t actually want to travel. They just want to think of themselves as travelers.”

Wow. They don’t want to travel… they just want to pretend.

I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. Many people say they want to write a book, but most of them don’t follow through. Maybe some of them don’t want to write—they just want to call themselves a writer. They want to have written a book.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Might as well dream a little!

But if you really want to do something—not just dream about it—then you have to go beyond reading travel magazines or thinking about the book you’re not writing. You can’t be an impostor traveler. You can’t live your life through the lens of aspiration.

The problem with being an impostor is that even if other people are impressed, you’ll always know the truth yourself.

If it’s your dream to travel, let those magazines go. Start planning a real adventure. Start living a full life.

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Image: Bionic Teaching

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