Let’s be honest – traveling is not for everyone
- November 25, 2016
- Milica Radović
People envy me for traveling so much, they write to me asking for advice on how to travel the cheapest, safest and fastest. In order not to respond to the same question asked in each e-mail and message, I decided to write a post explaining how I travel, what tools I use and so on. But before I publish it, I realized I needed to open people’s eyes and say it out loud – traveling is not for everyone!
It is one thing when you look at photos I post on social media, everything is nice, interesting and different. From your comfort zone everything looks nice, even photos of destitution seem interesting because they are different and they spark your curiosity. But only a few people know what I am going through that has to do with my mental, emotional and physical struggles.
If you are not ready to accept any challenges that a new environment might imply, do not even set off on this journey because you will be in a big trouble. In Thailand, people do not shake hands, they greet each other by clasping hands as if praying. Imagine going around wanting to shake hands with everyone… You must constantly watch what others are doing and be in their shadow repeating the same thing because these differences may sometimes vary even in the same country. In Japan no one will say “NO” explicitly but they will only keep repeating “SORRY, SORRY”. In Sri Lanka no one will point out that you are doing something wrong but will remain silent, trying not to criticize. In Kenya everyone will want to shake hands. All these things might be annoying, but you simply have to accept them because you are a guest in their country.
Discomfort of everyday life
During my travels I have slept in many different places – mud houses, houses without electricity and water, on the floor of various rooms, airports, parks and so on. You simply have to give up comfort and embrace any place safe enough for you to stay. The food you are used to will not be accessible. You eat what you have and keep quiet or you will remain hungry and possibly sick. In the picture above you can see the kitchen where I prepared food in Kenya. In fact it was rice cooked in rainwater.
Political situation and war
The situation in the world is far from stable, political situation is complicated everywhere in the world in its own way. Where there are people there will always be conflicts, from the smallest arguments on the street to much larger, such as wars. Towards the end of my Kenyan adventure, I received a warning from the Serbian embassy in Nairobi that it would be a good idea for me to leave the country because the situation there had been considered dangerous. Terrorist attacks were carried out by the Somalis. With the terrorist attacks becoming more and more frequent every day, you are not safe anywhere, even in Europe, not to mention some countries where war is in progress.
Poverty is everywhere. There is no part of the world that it is not poverty-stricken. The only question is how local people perceive it and how you choose to accept it. Overtime you become emotionally drained by seeing all these hungry people, how sad they are and how helpless you feel regarding that problem. The best thing you can do is help someone along the way but you know that it is not the solution to the problem. You learn to deal with this bitterness overtime but that does not mean that you do not feel like that every time you encounter something of this kind.
Poverty has in some countries led to the atrocious situation that forces women to sell their bodies to feed their families. You feel embarrassed every time you see something like this – you feel sad for these girls and ashamed of these men who go abroad to pay to have sex with local women. I had a chance to witness this in Thailand in some tourist areas. Pataya has the highest level of sex tourism rate in Thailand and do not ever go there if you do not want to see this. Sex tourism is everywhere, in some countries it is very public, while in others it is well-concealed, but it still exists no matter what.
When traveling you will be seeing various animals. Of course it is interesting to see them and to play with the animals that you have never been seen before. The locals found a way to monetize this and exploit animals to such an extent that they make them perform in front of the tourists and take them from their natural habitats in order to force them to entertain people. TripAdvisor has recently banned scheduling tours abroad that involve animal exploitation. This is a big step towards raising the awareness of such a huge problem, but it is far from enough.
Yes, I like to travel alone because that makes me more flexible and more focused on people around me – locals and tourists. In most cases this is very nice, I have time for introspection, talking to myself and getting to know myself better. But when the moments of loneliness strike they do not go away so easily. And the feeling takes over you more and more because, for God’s sake – we are only human. You learn to deal with loneliness, but that does not mean it will not affect you each time it happens. And do not let me start on how became a professional selfie-taker because if I want to have some photos from the trip I must do it by myself because there is no one else who can do it for me. 🙂
The fact is that this solo journey makes us get out of our comfort zone by setting off into the unknown. Natural human reaction is to fear the unknown and I see this kind of fear as something good because it keeps you alert, especially if you are traveling alone. And so with each successive moment you get more and more out of your comfort zone, and therefore your trip trasnsforms you drastically. You will only be able to see the change once you return home and realize that nothing has changed there but in fact you are no longer the same.
It was up to me to say all of these things out loud so that you become aware of all problems concerning safety and traveling comfort. Things are not always going to be amazing and you should be aware of what awaits you. Of course you will not experience all of the above everywhere you go, but it is very probable that you will experience some of it. In spite of all these aggravating circumstances, I think it is good to travel and you should not back out because of the things I said because it is definitely worth it. It is uncomfortable, but if you ask me, it is the way it should be.