Is the American Dream Holding You Back?

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“Two weeks a year?! That’s IT?”

Sigh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been drawn into this conversation. I’ve had it with Australians, with Germans, with Brits, all staring at me in wide-eyed amazement. They’ve probably just asked me why American’s don’t travel, a common enough question in Asia where I can go weeks without seeing another of my kind. I have a whole host of theories on that one, but it’s easiest for me to point out that well, most of us don’t really have time.

I get the same disbelieving look sometimes when I share with my friends back home that most first world countries get a minimum of 4 weeks of vacation time a year. It sounds so luxurious to be able to actually take a vacation longer than a week or two, to be able to actually visit another continent instead of squeezing in long weekend trips to see family. To be able to visit somewhere like Asia without having to quit your job or take a sabbatical. What a luxury of time.

Honestly though, it shouldn’t be a luxury. Recently I read an article on CNN entitled “Why Is America the No Vacation Nation?”It basically lamented the same issue I’ve been going on about across the world. Mainly that America is the only advanced nation in the world that doesn’t mandate employers give their workers vacation time.

I was nodding along enthusiastically with the article, then I made the classic mistake: I read the comments.

Poonjob- As it is the world thinks we’re fat, lazy and stupid. Some people work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. Others work like dogs. If you want to be a bum, leave the USA and be fat, lazy and stupid in another country. Our work ethic is what makes us strong.

Ouch. I know Poonjob up there is just one person, but I’ve seen that attitude reflected in so many people. This idea that working like a dog is virtuous and personal enrichment is self-indulgent. As a country we don’t want to change- many people don’t even take advantage of the vacation time we have! Just look at poor Don Brock, profiled in the article. The last time he took even a week long vacation was ten years ago.

Look America- I love you, but your priorities are WAY out of whack.

if this is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

What are we working so hard FOR? It’s true that some people are just trying to make ends meet, to survive, and my quibble isn’t with them. For many Americans though, their needs are well met, and they still can’t wrap their heads around the idea of slowing down. For many Americans though, what we are working for is money. And things. We’ve been taught from a young age that what we really need is STUFF. A nice car, a nice phone, a nice designer handbag.

I’m sorry, but that’s crap. It’s a trick: an endless void of things we can throw money at: there’s always a new phone, a nicer car, a bigger house to be aspiring to. The problem with the American Dream is it’s always slightly out of reach.

Someone has played a cruel joke on us. They’ve taken advantage of our deeply engrained Protestant work ethic, our passion for being the best, and twisted us worker bees who can barely wrap our heads around the concept of time off.

I’m not a minimalist, I like shopping and owning nice clothes and I have an addiction to used book stores that I can not shake. It’s not wrong to want nice things, but maybe it’s time to start examining WHY we think we need them so much. Why has a country we take out massive loans and rack up loads of credit card debt for stuff we do not need. At this point, the stuff you own literally starts owning you.

It’s more insidious than that really. It’s a herd mentality, that I’ve railed against before: this idea that you need to do what everyone else is doing. This extreme pressure to go to school, get a job, work really, really hard for 45 years, and then maybe when you’re retired you can do the stuff you really want to do. It’s a powerful cycle and it’s extremely hard to opt out of it. I think, more so then the lack of vacation time, that is why Americans don’t travel: so few realize that the only American Dream you should be pursuing is your own personal one.

So- don’t think you can afford to travel the world? Maybe it’s time to think about what you’re paying for instead.

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175 Responses to Is the American Dream Holding You Back?

  1. Michael Figueiredo December 23, 2011 at 12:35 AM #

    Unfortunately, I completely agree. I am so envious of Europeans I meet that get a month (or more) of paid vacation every year. Now that I’m working a staff job (no longer freelance) I’m lucky if I get a week off at a time.

  2. Harrison January 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM #

    Just found this post, and love it! So true. It’s very lame that US companies gives only 2 weeks of vacation. That essentially is no time to do anything. After reading this, I can’t wait to do my RTW trip.

  3. Sarah February 7, 2012 at 8:40 AM #

    Hi Steph, I just stumbled across your blog while doing some research for work and I totally agree with the above! I am British and based in London so I get 25 days holiday a year, and I don’t for one minute take this for granted. The company I work for though, is US-based and our colleagues in the US also get 20 days now, as obviously our company operates in the travel industry so they want employees to have the time to spend on holidays themselves. You may in fact find our site a good resource as it lists vacation rentals worldwide, which is a great way to live like a local and get off the beaten track. I’m off next weekend myself to a place in Paris, thanks, of course, to my generous holiday allowance, this will be the first of (hopefully!) several trips this year.
    Happy Travelling!

  4. Ron | Active Planet Travels February 8, 2012 at 3:04 PM #


  5. Patrick Hearn February 9, 2012 at 4:56 PM #

    YES. A thousand times yes. That last line hits the nail on the head, Stephanie; “The only American Dream you should be following is your own.”

    That’s been my philosophy; I believe in dreams coming true, and I don’t know why others do not. I want to settle down one day, sure, but I want it to be in the land of my choice, after I’ve wandered the world for as long as I please.

    • John May 8, 2012 at 11:58 PM #

      I love your ending sentence Patrick! I actually posted it as my status on facebook haha! :)

  6. Michelle February 10, 2012 at 9:32 AM #

    Just came across this today. Love this post. I consider myself very lucky. I live in Canada and work for a not-for-profit in a position that starts with 20 vacation days, the option to “buy” 5 more, bank time to take alternate Fridays off in the summer, get 10 statutory holidays a year, and we close down the office between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s the thing that’s sometimes kept me here when I might not want to stay. A number of people take off for a month at a time to travel overseas to visit family. Twice since I’ve been here I’ve taken 2.5 week vacations and it’s not a big deal. Having the flexibility and time to travel certainly makes it more appealing and way more accessible. The only problem I’m having this year is not knowing where I want to go next. I feel bad for Americans when I hear how little time they get. My poor cousin from Boston had to work double overnight shifts for over a week last year just to be able to get the time to come and visit for a week.

  7. Rose February 10, 2012 at 1:43 PM #

    Oh, wow. I realize this comment is pretty late, but I had to say thanks for this. This post is exactly what I’ve been thinking for several months now, but I couldn’t have put it so eloquently!

    It’s amazing that so many people are content (or if not content, forced) to live like hamsters in wheels, especially here in America. I’m in college, and everyone else seems to have their future careers all mapped out… I just can’t understand how they can be happy when they look ahead to 40 years of working 9 to 5 jobs. I tried to explain it to my dad and he looked at me like I was utterly insane for expecting anything better. Thank you so much for this post; it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way!

    • Steph February 16, 2012 at 7:19 AM #

      There’s definitely a generational difference involved to. It’s harder for some people (Baby boomers and older) to think outside of the traditional mold.

  8. Alicia March 21, 2012 at 9:34 AM #

    This is so eloquently stated and so very true. It’s been by firm belief that people just absorb the views of society and don’t really give it another thought. Travel is the only way we truly see that there’s a great, big world out there with more options.

    • Jaime Tully March 28, 2012 at 3:49 AM #

      Wow, this post received so many interesting comments. I just wanted to say that this was a well written article and that these types of reminders are important. I whole heartedly agree with this, yet I find myself struggling with my “American mentality” all of the time; especially lately as my big trip (1st ever solo vacation over 2 weeks- well any vacation over two weeks, solo or not) is upon me. Your posts have been informative, inspirational, and very much needed as I am also heading to South America. Keeping track of your adventures has been something that I have enjoyed reading and I thank you for keeping me on track. (would love to hear more posts on solo travel for females in South America….)

  9. Megan April 5, 2012 at 12:51 AM #

    Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling. I had the opportunity to study abroad a few years back. I would love to go abroad more. But is it really so bad that I usually choose to use my time off to visit a lake a few hours away? There is plenty to do nearby that is so much more accessible and affordable. Is sitting on a beach, reading a book with a cocktail for free somehow bad or worse?

    The united States is so huge, and I think that a lot of foreigners don’t understand that. Europeans were surprised that I had never been to California, but living in the eastern US it’s quicker to go to Europe.

    There a quite a few Americans who never leave the US but do more traveling that anyone I’ve ever met.

    Now I agree It would be better if we could have a little more time, slow down and smell the roses. The majority of the people I know don’t have the luxury of taking time off, and it’s not usless crap they spend their money on, but important things like food, and keeping the leaking roof over their heads.
    Some people choose to spend their downtime with people they love, and if that’s what they want, they shouldn’t be looked down on for it.

    It’s not only more time we need.

    • Steph April 6, 2012 at 2:46 PM #

      I definitely agree with you that the economic situation in the states is pretty messed up where people don’t even have time for real leisure time.

      I also totally agree that people should spend their vacation time however they want. I just think it sucks that there is a prevalent attitude in the United States that leisure time is not necessary or that wanting a vacation is some sort of weakness.

  10. Lysiane May 5, 2012 at 11:36 PM #

    Wow, I really liked this post ! Thank you for sharing :)

  11. memographer May 9, 2012 at 1:31 PM #

    Great post! I would say “great sparkle” :)
    It is a very complicated subject. So much involved in this- Culture, Work, Money, Intelligence, Mentality… In my opinion, the most important answer would be- the Desire to Travel. Many Americans have money and vacation, but prefer to use them for something else.

  12. Yg May 25, 2012 at 10:12 AM #

    I legit just fell in love with you

  13. Jessica July 6, 2012 at 2:10 AM #

    I love loved your post! I had almost this exact conversation with my mom like two day before I read this post. I am completely fed up with the “American Dream”. My husband and I are planning very long term travel starting in Jan 2013, we will be doing work exchange programs like Staydu as well as some online business. And while we have only told a few people so far most either think we are going to be racking up debt the whole time, or they say they wish they could drop everything and travel the world too, but they can’t afford it. I really just want to say of course you can, if you didn’t have a ginormous house, four new cars with high payments, and all of the latest toys and gadgets. When you want something bad enough you will make it happen, so my husband and I are selling all of our possessions to live out of a backpack and travel the world indefinitely. Reading your blog articles just reaffirms that we need to chase our own dreams…whether other people understand it or not.

  14. Kathy August 13, 2012 at 7:17 PM #

    I love the idea of travel and have always wanted to do it. I just turned 21 last month and hope to travel soon. However, it kind of hurts when I see comments about how everyone’s European friends have all visited NYC and how Americans haven’t. I have $40 dollars on me, live 2,500 miles away, have no job (I send out tons of applications but no call-back) because they all want experience but I can’t get any without a job.

    I am a currently a student and hope to study abroad in an exchange. This is one of the best options for me because the government pays all of my school (Pell Grant) since my EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is 0. All of my tuition is covered and with study abroad you only pay local tuition.

    Hopefully I get a job this fall and I want to save up about $3,000 to do some short-term traveling in Europe or South America since I plan to study abroad in South Korea. My family has never been crazy about saving money and we always take random trips back to California.

    My dad’s brother always tells him to work more, to save money for when he gets sick, etc but thankfully we don’t need it and live quite well. My dad got sick and had his appendix removed but thankfully he qualified for ACESS which is AZ health insurance for those who can’t afford insurance and that paid most of it off. He always tells us to not get caught up in work life because we’re all going to die anyway and someone else is going to enjoy the money we leave behind. I actually think we have too many luxuries like laptops, smartphones and such. And no, we don’t live off welfare- at all.

    I hope i get the opportunity to travel when I have the means to do so. My sister always says how it’s impossible on her salary, yet she has a new car, and when she looks into travel she’s always looking at cruises, fancy hotels, and guided tours. Looking at that way, she’s right, she’ll never get to travel.

    /end random rant.

  15. Abigail Rogers September 3, 2012 at 11:45 AM #

    This is so true! We are willing to sacrifice our lives in search of an idealized “retirement,” when if we were living the life we loved we would never want to retire from it!

  16. Coolmon September 18, 2012 at 11:49 PM #

    This post and the comments really got you to thinking about what is important in life. I see people killing them selves where I live to only end up broke at retirement. Nice article

  17. Lauren@millermemoires September 30, 2012 at 11:00 AM #

    I couldn’t agree more. This article says so much about where our priorities lie. What’s the point of earning all this money if we never have any time to spend it or any time to spend with the people we earn it for? I have been working in Taiwan for a year and a half now and I think they are worse workaholics than even Americans in a lot of ways. They work sometimes 12 hour days and usually 7 days a week. I had a conversation with a colleague and she said that one day she and her husband got a day of vacation and they were so used to working and never seeing each other that they couldn’t even think of something that they both enjoyed to do together. It’s pretty sad that people can let work take over their lives to the extent that they don’t even know their own families anymore. I’ve done the workaholic thing and to be honest I’m way happier having less money and less “stuff” and having more nights to just read a book on the couch with my husband or go for a walk. It’s amazing how trained we’ve become to believe that more things equals more success…

  18. Kristine October 8, 2012 at 1:10 AM #

    I actually started reading your blog a year ago because someone I met traveling re-posted this on facebook, and this is still my favorite post. I’ve done two backpacking trips–one for 3 months, one for 2 months–and people always say, “Do it now,” “Do it while you’re young,” “You’ll only be able to do that once.” Even IF someone gets to do long-term travel, why does it have to be for the young?

  19. Hannah Margaret October 30, 2012 at 7:17 PM #

    yes yes yes! I read this and audibly agreed with you! preach on sister!

  20. Alex November 19, 2012 at 12:48 AM #

    We get 4 weeks in australia so i guess i should consider myself lucky!

  21. sarah December 6, 2012 at 12:20 AM #

    I can’t believe I’m just discovering this blog. Truly fantastic. You and I are a lot alike. Sixteen months ago I got fed up and abandoned ship….left a secure job, apartment by the beach and everything that came with it. Traveled all over Asia and Australia solo and my life has changed for the better because of it. Visiting family in the states now, but leaving for NZ in a few days… the travel bug is real! I’d given myself a year to roam, but now I can’t see myself ever going back to the corporate world. I’m working on a book right now and this blog has given me newfound inspiration to keep writing. Keep up the good work, Steph!

  22. Nicole @ Suitcase Stories March 25, 2013 at 11:53 AM #

    Hi Steph,

    Great post and something I fully agree on! Sometimes we all get caught up in chasing “the dream” we don’t even realize its not OUR dream were chasing

    For years I worked 70 hour weeks to get ahead in the business world and what did it get me? Nothing more than high blood pressure!

    I thought being able to afford the nice car, the designer bags and all the other trinkets meant I had made it in this world! I couldnt have been more wrong.

    It wasnt until I started living my REAL dream of full time travel, and got rid of all those trinkets, that I truly found success and happiness.

    I wish more people would let go of the corporate dream thats been instilled in them and start living their own dream.

  23. Jessica of HolaYessica March 29, 2013 at 7:44 AM #

    I just found this post (not sure how I didn’t come across it earlier) and all I have to say is AGREE!

    I live in Spain and choose to work part-time, and a lot of Americans I meet here are stunned that I don’t work more. They think I should want more money, and I’ve had people tell me I’m “wasting my potential”.

    But I do get paid lots – I get paid in free time to do whatever I want, to not have to think about my job when I’m on holiday, and to enjoy my life abroad. That’s something worth so much more than money.

    • Lauren September 5, 2013 at 11:26 AM #

      Hi Jessica, I am curious, what kind of work do you do in Spain? I lived abroad in Barcelona for about 8 months studying and working at a bar and absolutely LOVED the city, people, and my quality of life. If only I could leave corporate America and go against normality… scary huh?

  24. Eytan Levy March 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM #

    This is just perfect. Not only is the US the most overworked modern nation, but people will demand it stay that way. They seem to have no understanding that time off makes people more productive when they come back. Plus, what’s the point of working hard? Just to say you did? Sigh. A work ethic is great, but a work ethic without any purpose is like a hamster on a wheel.

  25. soklin March 31, 2013 at 10:00 AM #

    Cambodia is good!

  26. Belinda Nicoll April 5, 2013 at 8:54 AM #

    I came to this country in 2001 and I’m a citizen now. We’re a one-salary family, have traveled the world and have seen more of the U.S. than most locals. We thought it was our bad luck to have missed out on the American Dream, until we realized it only put a lot of junk in people’s attics.

  27. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living April 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM #

    Having spent 1/2 my life in Europe and then marrying an American and raising kids here, I can so relate to your post. I workout at a local 24-Hour Fitness and I am so sick and tired of hearing people sounding the same. The “herd mentality” you mention, the fact that no one really speaks about anything than work, their kids,scholarships,sports, school and their kids games, 3-day weekend holidays, and remodeling their house, or buying a new car.

    People I know all seem to go to Hawaii, as a “special” vacation, as though that’s outside the U.S.

    Television repeats the same over and over, and we get stupid pharmaceutical ads all the time in the middle of the news, focusing on the “fear factor” again.

    My English friend pointed out the media tries to make Americans scared to do anything. Scared to travel, scared to try new food, scared to let their kids play outside, scared they will get cancer if they drink too much coffee. I thought the U.S. was full of innovators, explorers, etc. What happened?

    We moved our family to Belize, to get our kids away from the entitlement attitudes, peer pressures, and to have some adventure in our life. This was the best decision we ever made, as we no longer care what others have accumulated or purchased.

  28. Emily of Roads Less Traveled April 22, 2013 at 7:19 PM #

    Well, after 25-30 years of working 60 hour weeks we ran off in an RV in2007 and started traveling full-time.

    What we discovered is that less is more.

    We got rid of everything we owned except irreplaceable memorabilia like photos, and simplified. We stopped going to Starbucks. We stopped eating out.

    Suddenly we could live on a fraction of what we had been earning before we left home.

    In the end most Americans make astonishing amounts of money. But we spend astonishing amounts of money too.

    Before we left home, we read a newspaper story about two Mexican twenty-somethings that came to the US illegally and returned home two years later with $70,000 in their pockets – enough to start a tomato farm in Mexico…

    To save that much money as illegals they probably lived with 10 other people in a one bedroom apartment on the bad side of town without a car or cell phone for 2 years, eating Ramen noodles and working at McDonalds… but they amassed a small fortune…

    How many twenty-something Americans would do that?

    It’s all about the choices we make, and many of us refuse to make the obvious choices when it comes to saving money.

    Here’s why we left home to travel full-time six years ago:

  29. Kevinator kevin June 5, 2013 at 9:34 PM #

    I travel every summer to Greece for 2 weeks and have awesome time ……but after that I fly back home to Texas and work 87hr weeks and don’t have a min for anything :( !!

  30. Kelly Hogan June 15, 2013 at 5:47 PM #

    I too am a twenty-something traveler. We leave for Iceland Wednesday. However, the last place I traveled to really startled me with an awakening –

    I went on a yoga retreat in Hawaii, and I asked a biologist who lives there where he possibly can go on vacation to resemble the paradise he lives in. Having traveled quite a bit, our very own Hawaii is more exotic than I even realized. So I wanted to know if you live in paradise, where do you vacation? He replied that he only travels when absolutely necessary – major life events – because of the damaging effects fuel consumption has on the environment. He said all of the soda can recycling over your lifetime can’t hold a candle to the fuel burned through the air across the oceans.

    It really startled me. I felt selfish. I still feel selfish. Are we selfish and not thinking of Mother Earth?

  31. SB July 3, 2013 at 10:43 AM #

    Not having money to travel is an excuse. If you have a regular salary, you can afford to travel, you just choose to spend money on other things. Make travel a priority and you’ll find that you have more than enough.

  32. Ken August 16, 2013 at 11:14 AM #

    “really hard for 45 years, and then maybe when you’re retired you can do the stuff you really want to do.”

    I think, one won’t have as much possible adventures at a travel at the age of 65-70 than at young age.

  33. Claire August 18, 2013 at 7:31 PM #

    I feel like I’ve been reading (and re-reading) this post ever since you wrote it, and it never fails to inspire me :)

  34. Shella Hudaya August 27, 2013 at 10:04 AM #

    Love this post!!!! ^^ I am Indonesian, but that “American Dreams” is already poison us here :D LOL. I always think about this materialistic thing to chase after, and finally stumbled by the result that it was nothing. I prefer travel and get new experiences, but still working through it tough. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  35. dhar September 5, 2013 at 2:09 PM #

    One major problem I have with a lot of these comments is that they assume people want to travel, and there is the implication that people SHOULD travel or they are somehow lesser people. I get it: you’re well-traveled, you’re enlightened, you had a great f’ing time. Every situation is different. I’m sure it’s not that easy for a student coming out of college with loans out the wazoo to just pick up and leave to go to Paris. Or a disadvantaged inner-city youth. And you say “oh just get a job teaching English it’s so easy”. Then what? What about your crippling debt? Basically what I’m saying is this holier-than-thou attitude about traveling is not conducive to an environment that encourages travel and vacation time. The blog doesn’t address the broad spectrum of WHY people can’t travel, and in turn it just kind of assumes that anyone can as long as they take the right measures. Well, the reality is that these measures are damn near, if not completely impossible for a lot of people to take and traveling isn’t as easy as it could be. Sure, as Americans our work week and vacation time are completely out of whack as they relate to other countries. But it’s like that for a reason. It’s not that someone played a “cruel trick” on us. Rather, that’s just how America has developed over the past century especially, and the issue is far more complex than the assessment that “we need more time off”.

    • Steph September 5, 2013 at 2:17 PM #

      Well sure, if people don’t WANT to travel they don’t have to, that’s a personal choice. I kind of figured that goes without saying. This is a travel blog, so I assume most people reading it are interested incorporating more travel into their life, or else they would go read something else.

      I’ve written plenty of other articles on how to save money for travel, why to travel, how to travel for less and all that jazz. My point is that the way the system has evolved is messed up on many levels, starting with that crippling student loan debt and reaching to the incredibly lack of vacation time employees receive. Whether you want to travel abroad or not these are real problems facing the American workforce. They system is messed up and it will never change if people don’t start separating the realities from the fallacies that the “American Dream” myth offers.

  36. Andy October 16, 2013 at 6:21 PM #

    I think that part of the focus of work is wrong in the US. Instead of so much structure, I think that companies would benefit more from allowing their employees to work more independently. Not all employees work at the same speed. Some people want to do things slowly and spread them out, and others want to get them done quickly. The ones that get them done quickly could potentially have more free time. I think that there are a few trends moving toward this and location independent workers that give employees more options though. People are starting to realize that the stress level without breaks is unbearable for most normal humans.

  37. Morgan October 29, 2013 at 6:34 PM #

    Could not agree more! Americans priorities are completely out of whack. Kuddos to those such as yourself that act on the urge for something greater, something more than the materialistic.

  38. Jessica - MJ Sailing November 17, 2013 at 11:53 PM #

    As an American, I know that I was raised to go for ‘the American Dream’. “Don’t even think about taking a break to experience life, work harder! Then, once you’ve put in your time, then you can enjoy it. That’s what retirement is for”. I don’t think so. So when my husband and I were in our late 20′s, we did something crazy to all the people around us. We left it behind. Sold the house, quit our jobs, got rid of all our belongings, and moved our lives onto a 34 ft sailboat. So far we’ve been traveling for a year and have been to 8 countries, and we hope to hit many more in our next 3-4 years of traveling. Forget the American Dream, I’ll take my own.

  39. Aseema Sana November 19, 2013 at 1:51 AM #

    Lovely post, I guess the best way to travel is to just follow your heart. Really I enjoyed to read this.

  40. Anja December 21, 2013 at 9:52 PM #

    This is very good post. American Dream is really becoming a dream. I live in touristic place and I see from year to year, from season to season, constant drop of money spent on vacations. Ok, room is payed, all inclusive resorts are full in season, but thats it. Earlier you had people going out, having a fun, renting a car and traveling around with friends, or on a day tours and buying presents for a whole family… Now, they are spending just a minimum needed to “survive” those two weeks and go back to their ideal life. It is not just for Americans, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have nothing against them, it is the same situation for Canadians, Europeans, etc. Paying power is not like earlier, economy is going down globally.

  41. April January 8, 2014 at 7:43 AM #

    Spot-on! “Travel is the only thing you that you buy that will make you richer!”

  42. Emma February 22, 2014 at 5:01 AM #

    Ahhh Steph, it is so sadly true. It’s an exponential situation: work your ass off to afford the life you lead, the life you lead becomes more expensive as more money comes in, and such you must make more money to lead the life you are now somehow leading.

    Or you can keep the same iPhone for longer than 10 months.
    Drive a used car far past its due date.
    And save like a mo-fucka and go travel.

    It makes me sad to meet so few Americans on the road, not because I want to meet MORE Americans than I know, but because it means that nobody is getting out there!

    I know you by way of TBS, but have only recently perused your site, and I love love love it.


  43. Brian March 10, 2014 at 6:48 PM #

    Good read! Listen up twenty somethings it took till I was 45 to figure this out…..

  44. KAI March 27, 2014 at 1:30 PM #

    Hi Steph,

    Thank you so much for this insightful and, dare I say, brave article. I found MYSELF nodding my head enthusiastically. I often say I work to live and not the other way around. Kudos for having the courage to “come-out-of-the-closet”. I still have a hard time admitting to friends and family that my idea of a quality life does NOT include working 50+ hour work weeks.

    I came upon your blog while I was researching Sayulita where I will be spending the next couple of months. I have read two of your other articles already! I’m enjoying your wit and keen observations. Keep up the good work!


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    [...] full-time traveler said recently, “The only American Dream you should be pursuing is your own.” Your dream [...]

  5. “Two weeks?!” « Uitwaaien - September 9, 2011

    [...] Is the American Dream Holding You Back? Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Posted in What the Twilight Says | Tagged Fuck Everybody, Loving Life, My Life IS Awesome, My Way | Leave a Comment » [...]

  6. If you want to know who you really are, get naked. | Travelated - November 8, 2011

    [...] feeling goes along with a fantastic blog post I read on Tuesday over at Twenty Something Travel. The gist of that post is that the American Dream at times works against us–we don’t [...]

  7. 50 Digital Nomads - May 15, 2012

    [...] Favorite Post: Is the American Dream Holding You Back? [...]

  8. Random Mental Ramblings of a Travel Lunatic « Shadow Traveler - July 23, 2012

    [...] Point is, Ivo likes to be a traveler. Stay in nice, expensive apartments or hotels (he loathes hostels and I really have no idea why because he is such a heavy sleeper), eat at nice, expensive touristy restaurants, visit all the tourist sites (nothing wrong with that, I enjoy it as well). Basically, he likes nice things. I can understand this as I have a shoe addiction. I own 12 pairs of sneakers. I don’t reamember the last time I spent less than $120 on a pair of shoes. Nothing wrong with liking nice things. But in the end, Ivo is a tourist and not a traveler. This is why we don’t travel together long term. We just don’t travel the same. If I travelled Ivo style I wouldn’t make it 3 months. As I said, there is nothing wrong with traveling this way, but it’s just not for me. Incidentally, this conversation got me to thinking about the American Dream and living to work rather than working to live. One of my favourite posts on this topic is by Steph at Twenty-Something Travel. [...]

  9. Fears of a Twenty-Something in the Twenty-First Century | Curiosity Travels - November 1, 2012

    [...] while back I read an article by Stephanie at  Twenty-Something Travel, and one sentence stuck with [...]

  10. Adventure Travel - Frugal Frolicker | 4 Big Things Preventing You From Travelling Alone - January 29, 2013

    [...] But if one or more of these things are out of whack… you might consider hitting the reset button and pursuing your own dreams. [...]

  11. Why Do Americans Work so Hard? | Sonia Marsh - Gutsy Living - May 6, 2013

    [...] to Stephanie Yoder’s post, “Is the American Dream Holding You Back?” I discovered an article which explains everything I’ve been meaning to put into words, but [...]

  12. On Being a Better Blogger | You're Only a Writer When... - December 9, 2013

    […] manage by myself, but hey, isn’t that what role models are for? I aspire to write stuff like this post about the travel and the American […]

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