Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
*For Part 1 of this list, please see:
We all know there are a good list of reasons why you should travel the world and check off all those things on your bucket list. Of course, if your list requires some epic adventures, this may require some good chunks of time out seeking them. If you do care to invest a year of your life out traveling the globe, I've made a list of some things you may not have considered.
20. People Will Disappoint You
Sure, this happens at home, but at least there, people know they may have to deal with you for a lengthy period of time. Abroad, the downside of disappointing a foreigner is not so terrible, especially when you are operating on a tight budget. As opposed to short-term travel, it's hard to be disappointed in someone you don't know or just met. Be prepared to have people flake on you, not be the person you thought you knew, or just disappear from your life completely without warning or reason.
19. You Will Wear the Same Clothes
George Clooney's character in "Up in the Air" tells people to imagine putting everything they own into a backpack and feeling the weight of the straps on their shoulders. Of course, that's ridiculous, but the point is clear - you can't be mobile with too much stuff. Traveling for a long period of time in several places paints a stark reality of just how much you can take with you. Depending on what else you have to carry, I'd say you will have about a week's worth of clothing. And you get to wear these same clothes... again, and again, and again.
18. It Becomes Too Comfortable Putting Your Life in Danger
Have you ever crossed a busy street in Southeast Asia? How about that street food from a vendor with questionable sanitation practices? Fond of riding on the backs of motorcycles with strangers and no helmets? Long-term travel - often in undeveloped countries - brings new normals to your brain about what dangers you are willing to accept and how often. Some of these things can certainly expand your view of the world. Some learned behaviors can take you backward on the evolutionary ladder of survival.
17. People Will Never Understand
Maybe you are a really good storyteller. Maybe you have photos and videos and souvenirs to explain your journey of a lifetime. Look in the eyes of your friends who feel compelled to ask you about the trip they will never attempt. At best, they are probably struggling to understand. Your story is your story, and most people either will not care or will not understand what this adventure truly meant.
16. People Become Temporary
My first trip abroad to Europe, I met a few people I thought could be good friends going forward. That didn't happen. Spent some time volunteering, and saw people come and go daily. You begin to learn that most of the people you meet out in the world - no matter how great a time you had together - will probably just be a memory in a few weeks. Even with social media now, you learn that humans are only built to accommodate a finite number of friends, and out-of-sight often leads to out-of-mind. Furthermore, even if you start to feel "at home" in an extended stay during your travels and start to make friends, there's a good chance they think of you as temporary also.
15. So Much More of Your World Becomes Trivial
Look at all the things people get worked up about in your home country. Surely some things are legitimate concerns, but it's hard to care so much about gender-sensitive restrooms when you see children sifting through garbage for food.
14. The Reality of Why Problems Exist and Why They Will Never Get Solved
One of the things we do as world travelers is compare ways of life. I remember thinking China could just benefit from tissue paper, so people wouldn't blow their noses directly onto the street. Certainly, Kathmandu could clean up with some street sweepers. Why isn't Indonesia more welcoming to foreign volunteers? Sure, there are solutions out there to a lot of the world's problems, including in your home country. That doesn't mean governments and people have the resources, the will, or the genuine desire to solve these problems. Even nuns litter in the Philippines.
13. It's Difficult to Stay Healthy
I didn't say it was impossible. Great if you travel to surf, or perfect your yoga, or hike. These are great to keep your body in optimum condition. Unfortunately, air quality can be a problem. So can stress. So can a number of influences (or lack thereof) that can be more easily structured into or eliminated from our home lives. Unfortunately, long-term world travel can be hazardous to your nutritional, mental, and physical health if you don't have a steady dedication for indulging in the world with limits and precautions.
12. Water Becomes a Rationed Commodity
If you don't ever worry about getting enough drinkable water, you might not have thought of this. Sure, all over the world, if you have money and barring catastrophe, you can probably get water to drink. However, especially in hotter climates, water is something you have to think more about and grow to appreciate how important it really is for survival.
11. You Get Too Used to Being a Target for Bad People
Imagine a world, if you will, where your transportation charges you double what they charge a local, the money changer rips you off, your personal belongings are targets for thieves, and women are nice to you only to hit you up for money. It's bad enough that these things happen. Unfortunately, in your consequential quest to be a hard target, everybody is suspect, and that can be a very jaded way to live.
Now, as I said before, given all these warnings, if you still want to go out and see the world - actually live out in the world - I've done my part to admonish you. I can't be held responsible. And good for you.