Confessions of Entitled Millennial Traveler

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 I am entirely sick of this “entitled Millennial” BS.  Millennials are certainly not the first generation that their predecessors have decided weren’t quite up to snuff and in a few years I’m sure our children won’t understand our struggles or how those struggles have made us somehow superior to them, what with their time traveling hover cars and that garbage they call music.

The fact is, the world changes faster than one human can keep up.  It’s the reason my grandmother can’t “make the VCR do” and I just can’t quite figure out snapchat.  I get it, feeling obsolete can be scary.  After all, the things we grew up with made sense.  Everything was easy for us. We had it all figured out and everything worked just fine, then young people came along and changed everything for no real reason and now it’s all confusing and hard and my children exchange sideways knowing glances while I loudly argue with my GPS.  I can see how this breeds resentment.

I travel, a lot.

I travel, a lot.

Why does this get under my skin?  I turned 30 this year, so while I certainly qualify as a dreaded Millennial, I also remember a time when my dad needing to make a phone call meant I got kicked off of the internet and I may or may not have divulged my age, sex, and location to perfect strangers on the regular.

I also travel, a lot.  In fact, I travel a lot more than I work at traditional “jobs.”  I know, travel is something that is to be earned for exactly one week and only after an entire year of sacrifice and grueling labor at a job you hate, but I am tired of making apologies for choosing not to adhere to that nonsense.  I am an entitled Millennial and though I’m constantly forced to defend that, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.

I went to Denmark and their story checks out. They are happier than us, maybe because of entitlements, maybe because they're surrounded by statuesque blondes.

I went to Denmark and their story checks out. They are happier than us, maybe because of entitlements, maybe because they’re surrounded by statuesque blondes.

Traveling is easier, more affordable, and more accessible than ever and the internet has created a truly global community.  A few clicks on the internet and I can know what’s going on in Denmark at this very second.  I can hop on that same internet and book a flight to Denmark and find out firsthand tomorrow.  And what’s stopping me?  Certainly not my family and steady career.  Most Millennials struggle to afford a family and are therefore having children later than ever, and a steady career is not only hard to come by, but something a lot of Millennial are simply not interested in, because we have the crazy notion that we are “entitled” to spend our lives doing what we find fulfilling.

There’s a difference in doing things you don’t want to do because you have to, and doing things you don’t want to do because you’re supposed to.

This is better than "work" and I'm not sorry.

This is better than “work” and I’m not sorry.

Doing things you don’t want to do because you have to is noble, doing things you don’t want to do because you’re supposed to is stupid.  Millennials have realized this and perhaps that’s what older generations are calling “entitlement”.  When the previous generation entered the job force, they were at a distinct advantage.  They could work their butts off at a job and be promoted based on merit,  the minimum wage was WAY higher in comparison to the standard cost of living, there were retirement benefits that provided a reason to stay at a job.  Those things largely don’t exist anymore.

My mantra: Travel More Work Less

My mantra: Travel More Work Less

Sure, it would be way harder to say “screw it” to real life if there were an easy path to success, but those days are behind us.  Now you have an entire generation who were fed the outright lie that “as long as you’re in school and get a degree in anything, then you’re ahead of the game.”  We are forced to adapt to a different set of rules, and there is a certain freedom in that.  When your options are to work a job you don’t care about for years and make barely enough to stay afloat, or travel around the world working odd jobs here and there and barely stay afloat, the choice is a simple one.

I deserve this.

I deserve this.

We are entitled because we can be.

What we call the “traditional” path to success is no where near a guarantee any more and world travel is no longer reserved for retirement.  More Millennials are traveling now because they can.  The more we travel, the more we see of the world.  The more we see of the world, the more we realize that there are certain areas in which America is noticeably behind her peers.  Now I’ve experienced enough to know that my nose belongs in a glass of champagne, not anywhere near a grindstone.

Champagne Life on a Boone's Farm budget.

Champagne Life on a Boone’s Farm budget.

First, we need to figure out the difference in an “entitlement” and feeling falsely entitled.  There are some things we are right to feel entitled to. We think we are entitled to affordable health care because we are, because every other developed nation is, because there’s no reason not to be.  We will get better when we demand better.  What older generations of Americans call “entitlement” the rest of the world calls “basic human rights.”  We think we are entitled to make a living wage working a full time job, any full time job, because most other developed nations do and there is no reason we can’t or shouldn’t.  We are entitled to an affordable (or dare I say free) education, because most other developed nations offer this, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t too.  We are entitled to a reasonable amount of time off.  Perhaps after spending the last 20-30 years hearing that we live in the freest, richest, strongest, and over all best country in the world, we do feel entitled to some of the benefits of that.

Floating in a Blue Lagoon

Floating in a Blue Lagoon

It’s much easier to feed people the notion of being born into the best possible circumstances by virtue of location, when they haven’t seen anywhere else.  We visit Canada, or Western Europe, or Australia.  We meet the people, we form friendships, and we see that they have it better than us.  They are freer, they have more rights, their rights are protected, and largely they have a much higher standard of living.  Most importantly, they’re happier.

Isn’t happiness the ultimate goal?  What do you want with all of that financial security if not the promise of freedom and thereby happiness down the road?  When those securities fail and there is no guarantee of freedom or happiness no matter how far down the road you look, then who’s to blame for taking action to secure a bit now?  

I know, the previous generations had their trials and tribulations.  They scraped and saved too.  They had to work 3 jobs to make their way through school so that their families could have a better life, but their hard work paid off in ways ours usually does not.  And why would anyone want their children to face the same hardships and injustices they did?

Not a bad day at the office

Not a bad day at the office

The cost of medical care in America has risen astronomically.  The American minimum wage has remained largely stagnant despite the rapidly rising costs of living.  Americans are expected to work more hours with less time off than ever.  A formal education in America is the most expensive in the world, yet ranks around 36th in quality and is only getting worse.  Yet, saying that anything should be done to remedy these numbers, is a sure sign that you’re an entitled Millennial looking for a handout.  

The fact is, the previous generations had less expensive healthcare, better jobs with higher wages, and a better, more affordable education.  They didn’t have these things because they worked harder and sacrificed more.  They had these things because they were ENTITLED to them. 

It is completely unreasonable for an entire generation to be labeled as “entitled” for not choosing to share in the struggles of a previous generation that refuses to fight for us to share in their advantages too.

This is me literally right now as I write this... There's simply no going back to a 40 hour week at the office now!

This is me literally right now as I write this… Why would I choose an office job?

The cat’s out of the bag now.  We’ve traveled too far and seen too much.  We want what the rest of the world has and I’m confident that eventually we will implement the change necessary to get it.  In the meantime, it would be helpful if our fellow American’s joined the cause instead of calling us entitled brats for attempting to change a broken system for the better.


36 thoughts on “Confessions of Entitled Millennial Traveler

  1. OK. I’ll be honest. At first, I thought oh no, not one of those “I ditched my job to travel” posts. I read on, thinking hmmm, not sure about this. But then you made an excellent point about American society and how insular most of it is and thought, yep, I’m glad I read on.

  2. Preach! I think a lot of the past generation gets upset when Millennials do something beyond working, having a house, and family kids young because that’s what they did, and their parents before them did, etc. That’s all they know. So they see Millennials going against the grain and fighting for higher wages, equality, more time to spend on ourselves, and they think that’s selfish. I know my parents think I’m selfish for waiting to have kids until I’m older because having kids young is just “how people do things.” And I hate to think that I should bust my ass the entire year for 10 paid days off, too. Why am I working that much? Why don’t people in the US get more vacation each year? Is it just because that’s how things have always been?

    Great thoughts. I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’d sure like to be a millenial who travels all year round.. That would be awesome..
    Milton Garcia recently posted…Adios Presion AltaMy Profile

  4. […] up is a post from Mags at Mags on the Move (@Magsonthemove) called Confessions of an Entitled Millennial Traveller. Mags is discussing the way that millennials are being labelled as ‘entitled’ because […]

  5. Often times, perception is reality. I hope that some of the judgmental people will read your article so they can better understand why we travel like we travel, even those of us who are not millennials.

  6. There were so many factors outside of our control — changes in technology, graduating from college during a recession with high unemployment rates across the nation, the promise that Social Security will not even exist when we hit retirement age — that played into why our generation is having children later, traveling more, and working non-traditional jobs. I tried the traditional route in my early to mid-20s, and it just wasn’t working for me. I was underpaid with no benefits or retirement savings and very little vacation time despite working full-time jobs that required my four-year degree. How is that a system I’d want to continue working in when I could switch to freelance and at least enjoy my home and have flexibility to travel? So, I hear you, Mags, and as a fellow 30-year-old, I don’t quite get Snapchat either.

  7. We are lucky that we were born into a situation that allows us the choice to travel, while many others are not fortunate enough to have this option. This was a really interesting read!

  8. I’m with the others, i would love to have that problem. LOL You are a lucky girl and I am so glad to have met you. When you need a fill-in mom on your travels, be sure to call me up! 😉 True, my daughters are facing the same issues you are talking about and there doesn’t really seem to be a win-win for them. It is amazing that nowadays the average millennial will change jobs every 2-3 years. I lasted 20 years at my last gig. 😉

  9. Keep doing you girl! I just left a job and was getting some crap for it, but it just didn’t feel right anymore. I want to travel and see the world too, and my next job will allow me to do that. Older generations will always think newer generations aren’t doing as good of a job as them, so I’m tired of worrying about it. We’ll show them! 😉

  10. Very interesting post! I love the line, “There’s a difference in doing things you don’t want to do because you have to, and doing things you don’t want to do because you’re supposed to.” I’m also on the cusp of being a Millennial and have also danced with the “Entitled” label and what it means in the context of my life. You make excellent points here!

  11. Wow. As – I guess – an ‘older’ generation person, I had no idea I was supposed to think Millennials were entitled. Shows what I know. I wanted to travel as soon as I finished school, so I did and I still haven’t stopped. Maybe I’m a closet Millennial!

  12. Loved the piece! Found myself laughing out loud a couple of times. Well done!

  13. I love that you touch on not only how society has gotten easier for us (in terms of technology) but also how it has gotten harder in some ways (eg in terms of finding a job). So much of what was relevant to the older generation really isn’t relevant to us anymore.

    We are living in a time of increased retirement age, possible cuts to social security, high medical costs and the disappearance of pensions. But somehow, when we demand that our tax dollars actually benefit us or we demand the same basic rights as other developed countries, we all of a sudden become “etitled.”

  14. I’m with Wandering Carol on this one, I’ve never heard of ‘entitled millennials’ and wasn’t aware I was supposed to think that or not travel when I wanted to any more because I’m an ‘older generation’. We’re individuals, we have opinions and we make our choices what ever age we are, I don’t see it as a generational thing. I saw a significantly ‘older’ couple the other day having a fab time, clearly travelling and sporting t-shirts that read ‘spending the kids inheritance’ good on them, no need for any of us to do what we are supposed to. #sorrynotsorry

  15. I think you’re making a point that most people who use that “entitled Milennials” phrase are missing, which is that you are choosing to travel and not make a lot of money, rather than follow a prescribed lifestyle. Most people think that the only way you could be traveling that much is because someone else is footing the bill. But despite that, you are entitled to have whatever life you want. Period.

  16. It seems like a case of “those who can, do… while those who can’t, well, complain and whine about those who can”
    I would love to have had the options available to me when I was younger that are available today, but even as a borderline baby boomer I don’t begrudge this generation, I put the effort in to make up for lost time.
    My daughter, the Wandering Donut. has just completed high school and I know that you and other young travellers have inspired her greatly. She is currently in Costa Rica and heading to the USA tomorrow for another 2 months. Good on her and good on you for ignoring those who can’t do.

  17. I’m from the UK, not the US, and the generation that complains about Millenials attitude over entitlement. For me, it’s not about those who get off their backsides and go do whatever it is they want to make their life happy…more about (at least in the UK) those who leave school, never work and either live off mummy and daddy or set up their own family and expect public housing and handouts. I guess it is different in the US where healthcare and housing are not free or subsidised. As an example, my GodDaughter’s parents PAID for her to go to Spain and work as a waitress when she was 17 (airfares, housing when she was there and a fee to the restaurant). I don’t see you having that attitude…

  18. Oh my god, I couldn’t agree more! I’m so sure every generation had some sort of attitude towards how lives were back then but this generation are literally brats! You live the life you want to live and lucky for us, these days such thing is possible achieved by dedication and hard work.

  19. Great article–I feel the same way! “Doing things you don’t want to do because you’re supposed to is stupid”–perfect way to put it. I don’t understand why people get so crazy when others take a different, less traditional path, especially when it has nothing to do when them in the first place! Traveling definitely helps put priorities and life into perspective!

  20. Hmmm, interesting read, especially since I have children who are millennials. You’re a great writer. Thanks for sharing!

  21. I agree with a lot of this. It depends greatly on the millennial. I went to college with a few who got out of college and unrealistic expectations to make 6 figures right out of school and live the lifestyle their parents do without working up to. I have met plenty of other (myself included) who worked our buts off and are working hard and living the lifestyle they want. I wanted to travel and still use the engineering degree I worked hard for. It is finding the balance between work as life outside of work. It’s the first group that gives the millennials a bad name (and millennials that got the 150k degree from a private school and then whine about their debt when they have a degree that doesn’t make with a salary to pay that debt off). On the surface it seems like a lot of millennials are unwilling to make the sacrifices our parents and grandparents made to get to where they are (like the Yelp girl in San Fran who took a minimum wage job in one of the most expensive city in the USA, choose to live alone, and then wondered why she couldn’t afford to eat). Not all millennials are that way but the ones that make the news are the ones that give us a bad rep.

  22. Great read! I’m now in my 30’s but instead of looking at a work as a hindrance to traveling the world, I look at it as privilege. Instant gratification is alluring, but with maturity comes foresight and patience that we don’t need to get everything right now. Because believe it or not, we all will get old and in life in America is not promising without a substantial retirement to cover healthcare, much less travel! I certainly admire your clarity for defending millenials who travel! Traveling is an absolutely worthwhile affair not comparable to anything. Happy travels!

  23. Oh man, I can totally relate to this! I was just nodding my head throughout reading haha. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!

  24. Great post. I’m kinda gen x on the edge, whatever that means anyway, but as an Aussie living in the US and living the dream of working 60-70 hours a week with a hard time taking a few days off I’m extremely frustrated. The US has great things about it, but the idea that health care is some sort of privilege and not a basic human right makes me sick to my stomach. Also that here in Boston a run down one bedroom apartment will set you back about $1800 a month and the minimum wage is $10… that is more than 100% of a salary and that is freakin insane! Of course you can share and really lower your standards, but why should people have to when they live in one of the wealthiest countries.
    I’ll stop rambling now and say that I think what you are doing is awesome, and I know it isn’t possible for everyone, but something has to give!

  25. […] The Millennial crowd eager to change the world is the first place I went, but I think Fathom has priced themselves out of that.  Right now Fathom is running a lot of promotions to get people on board, so that works out well, but their “rack rate” starts at $999 + port fees for a shared inside room.  They are currently running a $499 special for the inaugural season, but that ends in November and then the price for a shared inside room with port fees and taxes will run you about $1500 per person, a price that will get you just about anywhere in the world.  Not to mention, the volunteer crowd is probably just going to travel to a place to volunteer for a few days at least, not 4 hours at a time in the middle of a cruise. […]

  26. What they forgot is Millenials are actually the ones in BIG trouble… 35% more Millenials than baby boomers have student loans:( enjoy life while you can… Check this video out.

  27. I love this! I also remember the days of being kicked off the internet so that someone could use the landline and had drilled into me the importance of privacy settings! I also refuse to accept that a good degree means a good career – that in itself is BS. I constantly declare that I didn’t sign up to a society that emphasizes work over travel, and that’s not my being entitled – its making a choice about what works best for me! Those of the older generations who harp on about entitled millennials are just jealous they never rallied against the system in their time. And that’s my story and i’m sticking to it!

  28. I think the more you travel and really enjoy the experience, you will do anything to keep up this passion and make sacrifices to make it work. Most Millennials know it takes effort to save enough to do this and there is some sacrifice involved to do more travel, unless you have a nice wealthy background.

  29. The world around us is changing in such a fast pace, it is sometimes hard to catch up for us, let alone the older generation. I There are so many new jobs on the market and more and more are comming that I am sure even our parents wouldn’t understand.I don’t even want to start explaining to my dad how there are so many bloggers around the world who travel and get paid for that and that is a job. Travelling is just one of the industries that is very heavily influenced.

  30. Great post, Mags. I love how you tell it like it is! I’m Gen X/Millenial cusp and I think you’ve hit on 2 very important nerves. From my experience, people don’t like thinking the “normal” path isn’t for everyone. So many people do what they’re supposed to even though it’s not being true to who they are. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working a 9-5, getting married, and raising 2 kids with a long as that’s what you want. It’s about personal reflection. The 2nd point is about the work the U.S. needs to do in order to continue being considered the greatest nation in the world. Generations older than us recoil at this kind of talk. It’s a personal offense on their Patriotism. You need to admit there’s a better way before you’re actually able to make the change for the better. You’re right on healthcare, college, minimum wage, vacation time, etc!

  31. Very interesting read Mags!
    I’m from Brazil, and I’m a millennial too… Although the reality in our countries is different, we have the same struggles. The expectation of what you have to you of our lives, our future, and following the same old style of living drives me crazy. For Brazilian society is so hard to understand, and accept, that a nomad life like mine is fine, and means success in life. Majority of them still believe that I’m a brainless woman who thinks life is a non-stoping holiday… In certain ways it is, I choose this, and I can pull it off like a truly millennial can do!


  32. Many of us are privileged not to have to deal with war or poverty in our homes, with the opportunity to travel and seek fulfilment instead of worrying about feeding our families. As long as we work hard enough to sustain ourselves and our travels, its all good!

  33. Thanks for this interesting piece! I especially like what you said “Isn’t happiness the ultimate goal? What do you want with all of that financial security if not the promise of freedom and thereby happiness down the road? “. I totally agree that happiness is the ultimate goal! And if traveling is what makes you happy then by all means. No one has the right to say what you should and should not do.

  34. Love this post! Had a few chuckles reading it for sure. 🙂
    Anita Hendrieka recently posted…5 Perfect Places To Have A Picnic In The Wairarapa, NZMy Profile

  35. Great writing! Yes, happiness is the ultimate goal…so why not be happy NOW instead of slaving away and waiting until the end. 🙂

  36. I nodded my head the whole time while reading! Great post, thanks for sharing. I appreciate your honesty.

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