It’s by far one of the worst questions to ask a female travel blogger. Actually to ask any gender blogger whether your niche is travel, lifestyle, pets or whatever. I’m going to go as far as it’s the worst, most irritating question to ask any person who has ever breathed oxygen. Second only to how do you make money, this is the one question irks me so much.
So, how many countries have you been to?
How many countries have you been too?
For starters I don’t count countries. It’s a stupid vanity metric and seemingly a way to measure our imaginary penises against one another. Does it really matter how many countries I’ve been to? No it doesn’t. Do anyone outside of this conversation care? Not at all. No one gives two hoots have many countries you’ve been to. I don’t.
My passport carries an entire backpack of white privilege.
Now without sounding like a woke wanker I want to talk about how marvelous my passport is. I travel with an Australian passport. It’s brilliant. I’m also a 5’6, size 8, blonde white woman. Who smiles a lot. A glorious combination of white privilege packaged up right there for you. It’s easy for me to travel to just about anywhere that my budget allows me to. I rarely have to apply for visas prior to travel. Even then it’s kinda easy and I just pay the processing fee.
It’s not really a challenge for me to get into countries. According to the Passport Index my Australian passport gives me visa free entry into 110 countries, I can get visa on arrival in 50 countries and only need a visa for 38 countries. Not too bad really.
If I wanted to I could hop on a plane, fly to Malaysia and hang out in some cool hotels. Ok so the budget doesn’t currently allow for that level of freedom but my passport does.
Being white helps me get through the airport.
Yup, white privilege does exist in the travel world. A combination of years of travel experience and being a white blonde woman makes getting through the airport that little bit easier. I rarely get questioned. Though the worst grilling I’ve ever received from a border security guard was on arrival in the UK at Edinburgh airport.
And when I do get bomb checked it seemingly is having me as the token white person for the hour.
Now I do know that some of this is my clean appearance, freshly brushed teeth and friendly demeanour. This is helps get the staff on side, as I’m convinced that 75% of incoming passengers are absolute jerks to the airport staff.
What’s a better question to ask?
Rather than try to measure me against how many countries a person has been to, try to ask questions that create an engaging conversation;
- What is currently your favourite country that you’ve visited?
- Have you got a country that is on the top of your must visit list?
- Where was your favorite breakfast?
To answer these questions – Japan, Korea and breakfast in the Andean mountains in Peru was pretty magnificent. Not tasty at all but well worth it for the views.
Also this delicious cronut was amazing. Would I travel back to Launceston to eat one again. Yes I would.
Right now you’re probably think what a twat I am. Which is 100% fair enough. The point of this post isn’t to brag about how cool my passport is. More so we need to be aware that travelling is a privilege. And not one that everyone can partake in. Asking a simple question like – how many countries have you been to – is a rather insensitive question. It fails to delve into the deeper discussion points around access to travel, international political situations and generally ignores the fact that we have no control over what we can or can not do with our passport.
So next time you are about to have a meaningful conversation with a traveller think before you stumble down the rabbit hole.
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.