“I’m afraid to…” – ways of ensuring a great travelling experience
Although the world is now much more open and many places are within our reach – either by plane or train, or even by boat, there are so many unknown things that still, even today, scare us. Will my travelling be alright? What is the level of crime in this place? Can I walk to my hotel at night by myself? These and more questions need to be addressed prior to travelling, to ensure that you fully experience the nature and character of the foreign culture, without restricting yourself to spending most of your time within the hotel premises. Here are some tips for making that come true.
First of all, even though you may be in a foreign, new place where you don’t know anyone, don’t be scared of being lost – sometimes this may lead to the most unexpected and fantastic places and discoveries. Travelling off the beaten path has been the obsession of many travellers and finding that unique spot may be a breakthrough in your understanding of that country’s traditions and customs. There is always a solution – take a taxi, go into a restaurant and show them your hotel’s business card and wait for your ride to arrive, but in order to call yourself a world wanderer, it is absolutely essential that you take the less explored route. Being scared that something will happen to you on a dark street is as silly as worrying about what people think of your shoes – it can happen in broad daylight and anywhere in the world. Worrying about the safety of a place will cost you the full broad scope of feeling and exploring that region. Be prudent, don’t show off all your possessions, keep your documents, valuables and most of the cash in the safety deposit box in your hotel room, and go out there and live your travels to the fullest!
Another great fear that many people have is whether they will be understood. Going to a different country does not mean that you will be able to speak English or your native language with everyone, sometimes this is far from reality. There are instances where you might have to improvise, use body language, as if playing charades, or to use online translation services on your phone. But the greatest part of this is learning a foreign language, even if it is only a couple of simple phrases – being able to say and communicate something in the local dialect will not only make you stand out among others, but it can help you make friends and meet people. If you really miss speaking English, you can always go to a coffee shop, like Starbucks, or an equivalent, or to a bar, or even to an English class, and you can certainly meet people that way.
When going abroad one of the few major concerns is the food – will there be food that is edible enough? Is the local food good? Is it cooked in hygienic conditions? Many of these questions cross our minds, but at the end of the day, you might end up at a night market somewhere in Chiang Mai and you will try fried crickets and realize that it’s the best meal you have had in months! Or not! Who knows? While eating at fine dining restaurants may be a very elegant affair, sometimes street food may prove to be as flavorful and delicious, but for a mere fraction of the price. Don’t be afraid to experiment and cross the boundaries of what is acceptable and right.
Some things may be absolutely magical, while others may prove to be a total disappointment, but that is what life is made of – moments that can take our breath away and others that we wish not to remember. After all is said and done, we usually remember just the nice things from our travels and that is something that drives us again to take that plane and go out into the world, looking for our next culture shock, or a thrilling adventure to shake our existence and make us question our real purpose in life. Our impressions from a trip largely depend on our state of mind, so be open to new possibilities, experiences and opportunities.