Travelers Give A Shit


I give a shit about the Great (shrinking) Barrier Reef because I’ve chased a turtle around it.

I give a shit about melting glaciers because I’ve climbed on one in New Zealand.

I give a shit about the persisting tension in Kosovo because I’ve played PlayStation and shared countless cups of tea with college students in Pristina.

I give a shit about hurricanes hammering Honduras because I’ve played baseball there.

I give a shit about garment workers in Bangladesh because I’ve taught them how to throw a Frisbee and been to an amusement park with them.

I give a shit about orphans in Guatemala and Nepal because I’ve played Hacky Sack with them.

I give a shit about those displaced by the Three Gorges Dam in China because I’ve eaten in their restaurant.

I give a shit about scavengers at Phnom Penh’s city dump because I’ve smelled what they smell every day.

I give a shit about teens who live in Africa’s slums because I talked about Ruben Studdard with them.

I give a shit about Kenyans having access to clean drinking water because I’ve witnessed kids fetching water in streams next to cow patties.

I give a shit about flooding in Bangladesh because I’ve had dinner in the flooded homes.

I give a shit about Ireland’s economy because I’ve had a pint with graduates who can’t find work.

I give a shit about HIV-treatment in Uganda because I’ve met a fella who dropped out of college to get a job because his dad died and he has to support his brothers and sisters.

I give a shit about the lobster divers of Nicaragua because I spent the better part of an afternoon stranded in the rain with a few of them.

I give a shit about sharks being de-finned because I’ve had my day made by the slightest glimpse of a shark in the open ocean.

I give a shit about all of these things and all of these places because I have traveled there. I give a shit about all of the places I haven’t been and all the people I haven’t met because I know if I went there and met them I would give a shit about them even more.

I give a shit because I’m a traveler.

And I’m not alone.

Every Tuesday I give away $10. This Tuesday I’m giving $20 (I missed last Tuesday) to Passports with Purpose, a group of travelers who give a shit by doing cool things. Last year they built a school in rural Cambodia and this year they are building a village in India. Yes, that’s right, a village! Join me in donating. Every $10 donation enters you to win prizes from an iPad, to plane tickets, to Norwegian cruises.

Marianne says:

I have not done any of those activities in any of those places so I don’t give a shit. Get over it!

Lionel Blair says:

I give a shit so I can write along list of things that I give a shit about so everyone can read it and then they will know I give a shit. Which is actually what I give a shit about.

Gillian says:

There is no doubt that visiting places makes you feel more connected to them, their history, and their future.

Kelsey says:

Marianne & Lionel, I’m not saying that other people don’t give a shit about these things. I’m saying that travel has really increased how much I care about the world at large. I also love puppies because I always had a lab or two licking my face while growing up. I suppose that your logic would interpret this as me saying everybody else hates puppies. Nice. Thanks for stopping by.

Gillian, Love your site. Keep traveling!

James says:

I give a shit about the Serbs whose land your Kosovan friends are stealing with the backing of a terrorist albanian government. I give a shit about monasteries being destroyed by islamic vandals. I don’t give a shit about some vainglorious cock trying to make out he’s a tolerant, liberal individual by saing he’s played Playstation with students in Pristina and accepted their side of the story without having spoken to the other side. Try REALLY giving a shit, instead of just talking it.

Kelsey says:

James, I supposed I should’ve added that I also give a shit about the tension because I’ve been taken in by Serbians in Belgrade when there were no rooms available in the city. That said, I’m not sure why you thought I was taking sides in a conflict with very deep roots. I simply said “I care about the tension.” I try to avoid talking politics, especially others’, so I don’t come off sounding like a windy douche bag.

E-thin says:

I give a shit about people dogging a well spoken, caring individual, because they are in to talking shit on the internet and whining about their myopic, half baked opinions. I give a shit because they do this in a failed attempt to validate their worthless existence. Oh, wait, no I don’t give a shit at all about such people, but I did thoroughly enjoy your presentation at Rockford College, Kelsey. I don’t give a shit about attending the events there, because they are mandated, boring, and quite a chore for the most part. I did give a shit about attending your presentation, though, because you are a hilarious and insightful human being. The earth needs more of those, less internet troll jackasses.

John says:

Kelsey. You sadly comes off as a total douchebag in this article. I don’t give a shit about you or anything you stand for. If you really cared, maybe you would stop traveling and donate that traveling money to the cause you cared about. You care about the experience, not the people. You are simply a self-justified, hypocritical, liberal tourist who brags about his broad and insightful world view. You take pictures, have lunch with the locals, and tell yourself that you are doing something good in this world. That’s why set up this website right? To tell people what a great of a person you are. But do not deceive yourself, you are nothing but a phony. I really think you should ask yourself, do I really care?

Jackie says:

I totally agree with John. “I give a shit about orphans in Guatemala and Nepal because I’ve played Hacky Sack with them.” What exactly does this supposed to mean? I bet all the orphans would love for you to come down and play hacky sack with them again, huh? This is beyond pathethic, and if you really cared you wouldn’t post such a self-glorifying, asinine article in the first place.

Kelley says:

You don’t know their lives, you don’t know their suffering, and you don’t know their culture. Don’t try to pretend like you understand it because you had a brief encounter with one or two locals. I usually don’t like to put people down on internet, but this is quite infuriating coming from someone who is personally affected by hurricane Mitch. You may have played baseball there, but I lost my uncle and aunt there. So please go back to your nice suburban home in Indiana and keep this garbage off the internet.

Kelsey says:

John, “douche bag” is the best you’ve got huh? Did you see that James called me a vainglorious cock? That’s a tough one to beat.

Kelley, sorry to hear about your family. You have my deepest sympathies. I can’t imagine what that’s like.

John, Jackie, and Kelley (I’ll address you all together since you are commenting from the same IP), would you prefer that I sit in my home in Indiana and not care about a world beyond how well my grass grows? I won’t apologize for giving a shit.

Vera says:

Great article, Kelsey. Totally get your message about travelling opening your eyes to what goes on in the world and making you feel more connected to these issues. Only those who haven’t travelled fail to understand how those experiences affect people. And, really, your reasons for caring are your reasons for caring and no one else’s. The important thing is that you give a shit. A lot of people don’t.

AutieZombieGirl says:

Kelsey, it strikes me as ironic that a bunch of indignant self-righteous idiots accuse you of the exact same crime. Keep doing what you do, Kelsey. It’s important!

Ryan says:

I will be using “vainglorious cock” in my next “Yo mama” battle. Thanks John.

Kelsey, I haven’t been out of the country yet (at age 24), but this post makes me really want travel and experience what’s out there. Giving a shit relies on experiences. It doesn’t matter if the experiences were in the ‘burbs, at the Great Barrier reef or under a bridge in Dallas, but rather the point is the shit that’s given.

Emily says:

I have not yet had the chance to go out and explore like you have Kelsey. I would agree with these people if you were not going out and doing something about it, but you have both reached out to those willing and excited to listen to what you have to say, and written a book in order to get the message of people out there to those willing to read a few hundred pages rather than bash others on the internet. Before I saw you at Ball State, I did not give a shit. After listening to the way you spoke about these people like friends instead of a group of unnamed people that you visited and studied, I started to give a shit. Playing hacky sack with orphans is surely preferable to talking shit about those who do. Some people just cannot open their minds enough to understand the point you mean to get across, and clearly no one gives a shit about them. Keep doing what you’re doing.

a says:

In all fairness does it matter what the reasons for the article or Kelsey… people in need are getting things they never thought possible…

Justine says:

I give a shit about these people because they are human beings, not because I’ve visited and played games with them. However, I do appreciate you writing this and think it’s a good and respectable contribution to an otherwise pretty frivolous internet experience. Also, keep sticking to your guns and entertaining us all with your responses to rude and annoying internet trolls. You’re good at it, and someone needs to shut them up 😉

Kelsey says:

Justine, you rock! I agree we should care because we are all human, but it’s easy to forget that.

Let your voice be heard!