The world doesn’t owe you a room with a view.

The world doesn't owe you a room with a view

Reading the travel section of the Sunday paper is one of my favourite little pleasures. It’s relaxing and inspiring and the perfect amount of fuel for my wanderlust fire.

Not last week though.

Last Sunday I came across a brief interview with a high-profile Australian fashion designer, where she was asked for her best travel tips, experiences and recommendations. And, frankly, it pissed me off.

Having travelled a bit during my 32 years, I understand we all have different ideas on what makes a good holiday (camping, resort, tropics or adventure?), how best to travel (car, bus, plane or boat?) and what constitutes a necessity (hair straightener, running water, French champagne or a comfortable hammock?)

We’re all different, I get that. But in this interview, the respondent gave an answer that irked me beyond a mere difference of opinions. In fact, it made me despair.

She was asked: “What’s your best tip for getting the most out of a holiday?”

Immediately I could think of a hundred ways to answer:

  • Be open to new experiences
  • Stay in the one place for a while and live like locals
  • Pack your sense of humour, sunglasses and a good book
  • Eat local foods
  • Avoid souvenir shops
  • Wander
  • Get off the tourist trail occasionally
  • Stay in locally owned/operated accommodation
  • Turn off your phone
  • Put the camera down

But her response? (Paraphrased, as the paper got recycled and I can’t find the interview online):

“Act like a first-class person. Walk in to the hotel and make them believe that you are, in fact, worthy of special treatment. Even if the accommodation you are given is perfectly acceptable, act a little disappointed. Suggest that the room you saw online was a little bigger, or had a balcony, or enjoyed a better view. More often than not you will be upgraded or moved to a better room.”

This entitled point of view is one of the things I believe to be wrong with the world.

This person is privileged enough to be travelling to far-off, beautiful places, but that is not enough. She has decided that, as a “first-class person” (what does that even mean?!) she deserves more. The hotel room is not enough. She deserves a bigger one. The plane seat is not enough. She deserves a first-class one. The experience of travel or relaxation or pampering or adventure is not enough. She deserves BETTER. Merely because she is there and she is important, dammit.

I don’t have an issue with asking politely for a change – particularly if it’s warranted.  But pretending that what you’re offered is not good enough (even if it’s perfectly amazing) simply to see if you can get better? Yeah, I have a problem with that.

So let’s say this person is granted their Special Snowflake Status and upgraded to the Presidential Suite (nothing less than the best, naturally)… what then? Suddenly they believe they really are a First Class Person. After that, they want more. They want better. They believe that simply because an upgrade was granted this time, they’re entitled to the same treatment always and forever.

Suddenly, things that used to be perfectly acceptable become less-than. And the merry-go-round of better and more and new and shiny spins ever faster. Perhaps the experiences stop mattering as much as the status. Because really, when you’re looking for more or better or nicer or shinier, how can you really appreciate anything at all? You’re obsessed with bettering your situation. And for what? The status of saying you did?

Gee. Sounds like fun.

Now let’s say this person is not granted their Special Snowflake Status and cannot be accommodated in the Presidential Suite (on account of the President in situ). The mere fact that they believe themselves worthy of special treatment means they will likely be offended at the rejection. So now, not only do they not get the First Class Person treatment, but they are also dissatisfied with the original accommodation. Nothing is good enough now, because they’ve been jilted.

How is this relaxing? How is this getting the most out of your travel experiences?

And what’s more, how is this attitude of entitlement allowing any of us to experience the most of life? The most of what is happening right in front of us?

If we’re constantly comparing lives with others, how can we feel content with our own?

If we’re relentlessly pursuing more, better, shinier, newer, how can we be grateful for what we do have?

If we make the mistake of believing our needs are more important than those of others, how can we live with compassion and generosity and equality?

If we believe we should be treated as First Class People, how can we explain to our children that we are no better than someone else?

We can’t.

The world doesn’t owe you a room with a view.

Be grateful. Enjoy what you have. Soak up the experiences. And if you see someone else swanning about, believing the universe owes them a room with a bigger bathroom and newer sheets? Let them have at it. A worldview of entitlement is its own reward.

Instead, allow your world to become an altogether more beautiful, generous, rewarding place by simply being grateful, present and conscious. I believe that to be its own reward too.


45 Responses to The world doesn’t owe you a room with a view.

  1. Well said! And would these people take the time to enjoy the fact that they’ve received an upgrade or would they miss the moment because they were too busy looking to see if anyone else had noticed that they’d been moved to a better table at the restaurant, or that they were taking the elevator all the up to the penthouse suite. Enjoyment of things like that is always accompanied by a little steak of superiority and relies on the envy of others to bring a sense of fulfilment.

  2. Absolutely spot on! I work in a large international law firm in London and this is the kind of attitude I come up against every day. This constant sense of entitlement is so irksome and ridiculous. I found myself saying “yes!” at the end of every paragraph you’ve written Brooke.

  3. I have worked as a housekeeper for a major hotel chain for a number of years now and I’m sorry to say this happens every day. The people with this sense of entitlement are not the nicest guests to have at the hotel and never seem to be having the best time.I wish they would please stop telling the front desk untrue things about the room and blaming it on housekeeping just to get an upgrade.(don’t they realize I probably clean their upgraded room too?)Relax, enjoy your time away…you are lucky…I’m working every weekend and can’t afford to go away.

    • Cathy, all the many years I served in restaurants and tended bar to make ends meet, I remember this same sentiment. I’d be serving a family on Mother’s Day or a couple out for drinks on Valentine’s Day and their experience seemed so enviable to me–my job was to make it so–but then once in a while in would come the entitled fashion designer Brooke speaks of here and I’d think, hey you want more? This isn’t enough? If only I could be with my kids at a table on Mother’s Day right now or out with my husband for cocktails this evening… then I’d simmer down, lol. Brooke reminds us we’re not entitled to a room with a view, but we all have the ability to view our moments through blessed eyes any time we choose.

  4. I have worked as a housekeeper for a major hotel chain for a number of years now and I’m sorry to say this happens every day. The people with this sense of entitlement are not the nicest guests to have at the hotel and never seem to be having the best time.I wish they would please stop telling the front desk untrue things about the room and blaming it on housekeeping just to get an upgrade.(don’t they realize I probably clean their upgraded room too?)Relax, enjoy your time away…you are lucky…I’m working every weekend and can’t afford to go away.

  5. If people focused more on what they can give to others instead of what they can take the world would be a better place. Thank you for the reminder.

  6. This is great. Well said. I recently read a book (a much more academic and dense version of what you eloquently said here) called The Fear of Insignificance: Searching for Meaning in the 21st Century. Talks about how with the advent of the internet, we all now compare ourselves to “Globo Humanis” or those poster children for the global infotainment system – like your Austrailian celebrity. The sense of entitlement and lack of meaning in our lives is growing because of this. My thought is we need some people who actually live meaningful lives as poster children to counter this entitlement.

  7. Thank you for a well written article that I think shows a problem that a lot of our world has now days! So many people would be so much happier in life if they knew how to be grateful.

  8. What a self entitled snot! Really I would be thrilled to be back on vacation (preferably with no rain anywhere kinda sick of it and no child) anywhere for the most part and really could care less if I have a room with a view, the best sheets, etc. I would just be happy to have a room.

  9. I have a 4 star cabin she can vacation in, complete with mouse poop and a rickety outhouse. Thank you. You are one of my favorites!!

  10. Thoroughly enjoyed the rant and the passion from your writing was truly felt. I love a good rant!

  11. Love it! We recently travelled with our 7 year old and he just loved eating where the locals eat (and having a chat), using public transport and just poking about the streets. He just soaked it all up and whilst he’s super keen to do more travelling we’re trying to model gratitude and not entitlement. Love your blog :-)

  12. Absolutely agree with you Brooke, the very idea that you should fake dissatisfaction in anything to get more is just awful. Shame the article was printed, the editor must agree with these sentiments. I would never complain unless it was absolutely necessary and even then there is no excuse for rudeness. I recently watched an interview with Adrianne Huffington and she said that wherever she stays and who ever she meets she always acknowledges and greets everyone from cleaning lady to the paper boy. No one is more important than anyone else. Thank you for your article I will be sure to pass it on to my readers. You are a breath of fresh air in a society that is becoming more selfish and materialistic.

  13. I like nice things. I also do these weird things though called, paying for it and planning. I am by no means wealthy, but I invest in myself by investing in things that are made well and done right. I give my business to people who have a good work ethic, and take pride in their work. I like giving my money to those people. I would never expect, or try to, swindle more out of them, because I know that I am already receiving my money’s worth, if not more. People who take advantage of businesses that value their customers irritate me. I wish more people would start placing value in people instead of status.

    PS – I like your rant :) Good post.

  14. Brooke, I love all your tips on travel, thanks for a great post!

    When I read this, I couldn’t help but think about my feelings, in much of the the same way, about eating/food. It’s difficult to be around people who always eat the best, freshest, most unique food, and when they speak about food in front of them it’s out of that same disappointment i.e. “this wine wasn’t half as good as what I had last weekend” or “if you’ve never had it prepared this way then you haven’t lived”. Instead of just enjoying what we do have, even if its simple or not “the best”.

    Don’t get me wrong, I loooove food and trying new things, and but I don’t want to make idol in my life. But similar your thoughts on travel, I also like to just enjoy the moment and be content even in the small simple pleasures, rather then just focusing on the grand and extravagant. Thanks for putting this to words.

  15. I’d much rather be respectful, kind, and considerate when traveling. I try to remember that the people I’m interacting with are doing their jobs, and I’d rather make their job a little easier and a little more pleasant whenever I have the chance.

  16. I love this!!! I don’t believe that I have ever commented before on this blog, but I believe your commentary crystallizes a large part of why our society is becoming so divided.

  17. Love this post! I too get very frustrated when I see people with the whole ‘entitlement’ view. I suppose it is another natural human emotion, but seems like one that we would be better off overcoming by showing gratitude on a regular basis.

  18. Of all the attitudes in the Western World, this is the one that gets me the most. The idea that any of us are ‘owed’ anything from anyone, are entitled to anything. I drives me nuts … maybe because it’s a mirror into a way I used to think (back in my younger days!)

    I look back to those days and really cringe!

  19. I totally agree! Am sooo embarrassed as I’m Australian :( This is the hot topic right now down here, Since our prime minister and his party called an ‘End to Entitlement’. While I can’t stand the moronic man that currently runs our country, I do agree that there is way too much of a sense of entitlement here (and I suspect in other developed nations). My generation and younger hasn’t experienced any real hardship in their life, so think everything should be easy all the time, and served up on a silver platter. here is a good show exploring this issue: it is focused on benefits her in Aus though.

  20. First off, wow. :-(

    I wonder what possesses people to act that way. It certainly can’t be true self-love, the kind that allows us to see our connection to all of humanity. I wonder if they are seeking validation from the outside. That they have to be treated like “first class people,” because on their own, they are anything but.

    Who knows?

  21. This post is great. I travel a lot for work and I decided some time ago when I am somewhere I will not create unnecessary work for someone so I leave my hotel room tidy and I leave a tip and I don’t let the bathroom floor get flooded from my shower and I don’t use every towel in the rack. On aircraft I thank the flight crew for LOOKING AFTER ME because their main role is my safety not being waitresses. A little gratitude goes a long way. Greeting people and smiling wins you new friends everywhere. Hope this doesn’t sound conceited as it is only meant to endorse being grateful not grasping.

  22. Hear hear.

    You are so right, our world is very troubled by this attitude of entitlement.

    It’s reassuring to see so many negative reactions to that here, and yet – it’s become so prevalent, it’s discouraging :(.

    What happened to gratitude?! We are so incredibly lucky.

    • I’m with you! I’ve been so heartened at the reactions to this post. It seems the entitlement is not all around, which makes me feel good about the future. Maybe this trend of feeling we deserve everything will reverse.