Besides a lot of fun you will also have some rather unpleasant experiences during your travels. Persistent “hard sellers” for example. If you face them with the right attitude though, they might become something ordinary you don’t have to worry about anymore.
It is pretty much impossible to not have a preconceived opinion about the world nowadays. Usually people we do sincerly trust help us develop it at a quite young age already. It’s never too late or early to change though. Im not specifically talking about the way natives from different countries act, but about our conception of how the world has to work.
The moment I realized how important it is to rethink our preconceived opinions was during a bus ride in Thailand. Two girls were sitting in front of me, constantly nagging about everything. The hotel room was not clean enough, the bus is driving too fast, the air conditioning is too cool, the sun is too hot but not shining again… I wondered why they came to travel Thailand, when all they were going to do is complain about how bad and different everything is. That busride was very tiring, but showed me that I was the same, to some extent. For me, getting to know foreign cultures was one of the reasons why I decided to travel the world. Now that I was actually travelling the world, I was complaining about certain aspects of different cultures, instead of trying to understand and adapt to them.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to like every single country and culture you get to know. Just try to understand it, before you judge it. It can teach you a lot and will also safe you a lot of frustration. Another example for Thailand is the persistent hard sale, esepecially in the bigger cities like Bangkok. Either you will be on a run all day and exhausted at night, or you accept it as their way of doing their job and say “No, thanks” with a calm smile.
Basically, just try to be as open-minded as possible. Try to back out of your usual mode and try to see the world through the eyes of the locals.
Unless you are not among the blessed ones, saving money for a long time might make spending all of it a little challenge. Not as in “I don’t buy what I actually need” but as in “Can’t I get that cheaper?”. Especially low-budget-travellers tend to be affected by this. I do support the idea of a minimalistic lifestyle, but not at the expenses of those who have no other choice but to live like that. I have seen too many travellers trying to spend as little money as possible. It was like an obsessive competition for them. The idea is understandable, but not the way that idea was put into pratice.
The “cheap-cheap mentality” and mass tourism left its traces over time. Thailand is a good example again. Locals in Thailands’s capital Bangkok tried to rip me off in an unbelievable cold-hearted manner. When I realized and complained about it, they got rather angry than intimidated. After witnessing the behaviour of some backpackers I can’t really blame them though. I have just seen what’s going on for a few days, they are stuck here for their whole life. Once you get off the beaten path you might feel like entering a new country though. Suddenly it’s really the country of smiles and locals seem to just be naturally friendly.
Basically, you should be gratefull for what you are able to experience. Don’t be stingy. Those five dollars you save yourself probably have the same value to a local as fifty dollars have to you. Still, the locals in poor countries are usually the ones that smile when they give them while we rather smile when we receive.
As always you are very welcome to leave additions/suggestions/opinions in the comments!
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