Should Educators Stay Home This Year?

by irishfireside /
irishfireside's picture
Mar 04, 2009 / 9 comments

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir by posting this for the travel-lovers on Wandering Educators, but recent conversations with friends in education have left me a bit surprised at how they are reacting to the economic downturn. Across the board, my teacher friends have canceled travel plans for 2009. These are folks in elementary, secondary, college, continuing ed, online education, etc and they are aged 24 to 64. “The economy is just too bad,” they say.

Very interesting. This is a group of people who have not seen a change in income (some even got their scheduled raises), their positions are as secure as jobs come these days, and they haven’t had to tack on extra hours or part time jobs to make ends meet. Yet, they insist that in these “hard times” they can’t even consider a trip.

I respect their decision to play it safe, but I thought I’d challenge some of their reasons for staying home.

My investments have gone down the toilet.
I know how that feels, but, come on, were you relying on those investments to finance your travel this year? I’m sure there are some of you who travel on funds from your dividend checks, but most of my friends don’t operate that way. Unless you’re putting the money you would have spent on travel into a smart investment, I’m finding this excuse more about your state of mind than your capacity to travel.

It’s way too expensive.
Too expensive... compared to what? Most travel opportunities are discounted compared last year, and businesses have come to expect customers to ask about better rates and incentives. After spending last summer in Europe when the value of the euro to the dollar was at an all-time high, it’s hard for me not to see all the euro countries as a bargain right now. Plus, I just finished a 40-day roadtrip and found all kinds of recession-minded bargains in hotels, restaurants and attractions across the US.

It’s not a good time to be away from home.
When I pressed this excuse, I wasn’t able to find out exactly what they thought might happen while they were gone. I threw out some possibilities...Our government will collapse? Your home will be foreclosed on? Credit card companies will close your accounts? A family member might end up on the streets and need your help? Oddly, they did not seem to find these possibilities all that outrageous. They admitted the ideas were unlikely, but plausible! I’m sure they would have laughed at me if I suggested such notions in 2007. Now, they just kind of shrug, “Well, you never know.”

There are a lot of people suffering right now.
So then, how do you intend to spend your time at home helping those people? Oh, I see, what you meant was “What would people think?” If you’re really that caught up in people’s opinion or if you genuinely want to help people, add some volunteering to your trip. You’ll probably do more good for individuals, the economy and yourself...and your neighbors will only have positive things to say about your trip.

Living among a host of situational concerns.
Now, some of my friends did have serious concerns. One friend was planning to retire this year, but the hit on his investments has shaken up his plans. Another friend’s son lost his job, and she has offered to care for the grandchildren three times a week and help them financially until they get back on their feet. Another friend has gotten word that her department might be cut, and she’s making sure she’s prepared.

This economy is affecting many people in many different ways.
I’m not going to argue that staying home isn’t right for some people, but I don’t see a majority of my friends in education falling into this category. So, I guess I’m just asking for everyone to take a good look at the reasons they might be staying home and be honest with themselves.

I’m curious what others think on the matter.

Corey Taratuta is the Ireland Editor at Wandering Educators and is hosts the Irish Fireside Podcast at www.IrishFireside.com

Comments (9)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    14 years 12 months ago

    hi corey - we're seeing this, too, in that many people are not traveling, doing the 'staycations' - or not even trying THAT! it makes me sad, bc travel doesn't have to be about expensive choices. 

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • irishfireside

    14 years 12 months ago

    Jessie - you're right. I hope everyone who is contemplating to stay home, also thinks about how they intend to use that time to enrich their lives as well.There are more benefits to travel than just getting out of the house and it would be a shame to miss out on that.

    Looking at both sides of the coin...Travel doesn't have to be a burden and staying home doesn't have to be a sacrifice. It's just important to make the decision that is right for you.

    Corey Taratuta, Ireland Editor

    http://www.IrishFireside.com

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    14 years 12 months ago

    corey - you're right - it is up to each person, and their own situation. when times get so bad, sometimes what you need is a change of pace - or place. stay free with servas international, or host visitors yourself to get a taste of international traveling.  figure out ways to trade, get discounts, and even if it is at home, expand your world.

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • Liam

    14 years 12 months ago

    I just had this conversation today with a co-worker.  I had to stress to him that by talking about trips I was not making light of the fact we are in a recession and that if we continued to listen to all of the media doom and gloom we were might as well shut the doors and windows and prepare for Armegedon.  

    The conversation turned to how the government put us here and how hopeless things were. I really couldn't understand how someone with a good, secure job like he has, was talking as if he didn't have a job at all.

    My feeling was stop panicking and spreading your panic filled conversations to all of the other job secure co-workers........and for those who are taking a financial hit don't stop dreaming just because you investments have tanked.

  • Ed Forteau

    14 years 12 months ago

    Corey you make some excellent points.  I hear many of my friends saying how bad things are...which is true - they are bad.  But I also have friends who have not changed any of their travel plans.  If fact, they are travelling more this year than they did last year.  And all of them have seen their income decrease because of the economy.

    Jessie and I have several trips planned for this year.  Life is short.  The recession could last a year, or 10 years, no one knows.  You can't put your life on hold because you are suddenly unsure about the future.  The future is always going to be unsure.  It always has been, and it always will be.  Live your life today.  Nothing is guaranteed in the future.

    Ed Forteau
    Publisher, WanderingEducators.com

  • irishfireside

    14 years 12 months ago

    Ed, 

    So glad to hear there are people amping up their travel plans (or at their not barring the idea). After getting back from our roadtrip, several people felt inclined to only talk to us about not traveling that it made me very concerned. They seemed to be regurgitating buzz phrases from the news rather than talking about their own situation...

    Jess also brought up a very good point...travel does not have to be expensive.

    Thanks for to positive attitudes!

    Cheers

    Corey Taratuta, Ireland Editor

    http://www.IrishFireside.com

  • Ed Forteau

    14 years 11 months ago

    It's interesting that you they that.  I am seeing the same thing.  People in very secure positions becoming irrational about the economy...cancelling travel plans.  And then there are those of us who see great travel bargins.  There really has not been a more affordable time to travel.      

    Ed Forteau

    Publisher, WanderingEducators.com

  • Glinda

    14 years 10 months ago

    This was a very interesting article...and I agree with Ed- Life is short, experience all you can, as long as you can! Not that some people don't have very legimate concerns right now, but too often it becomes rationale for the status quo and staying within a comfort zone. You are right on, Corey!

  • Jonathan Grant

    14 years 10 months ago

    I know the economy is tight, and the future is not certain.  Go one a
    day trip.  A weekend vacation.  Camping is inexpensive.  Find other
    ways to explore our world.

Leave a comment