Let’s face it. People travel mainly to get away from home. Yes, there are the exceptional few who are ‘forced’ to travel for work (lucky cows) but for the rest of us paying folks; we do it simply because we want to experience new things. What baffles me then is when travellers complain when faced with the unfamiliar. Surely I’m not alone in this but isn’t that the point of it all?
When in Rome, do as the Romans do
First of all, you are on their turf. If you cannot understand the customs or if the local cuisine isn’t to your liking then that really is too bad. But don’t expect them to know your language or have the same food you eat back home. It seems like simple logic but it’s amazing how many people I’ve met who are in the middle of paradise but are complaining about how only local food is served or how their usual toiletry brands are unavailable or that the locals can’t speak English. Uhm… Why don’t YOU speak their language?
Ignorance is not bliss
In this digital age, everything can be googled so there is really no excuse to not reading up on where you are travelling to beforehand. You don’t even have to buy guidebooks as most information is available online. At the very least, know what environment to expect, where to go, the exchange rate, the acceptable dress code and if you are an overachiever, the basic conversational phrases. This will not only save you from a lot of confusing moments but it will subconsciously help you appreciate the unfamiliar culture more readily.
You brought this upon yourself
So you’ve read through all the factoids about this new place including but not limited to the obscure local language, remote/ unsecure location and extreme cuisine YET you still booked the vacation. Well then, you brought this all upon yourself. The best you can do now is to actually keep an open mind and enjoy every new experience you encounter– even the misadventures because they’re really nothing more than character building exercises and possibly great stories you can share later on. At the end of it all anyway would you just rather be at home? I didn’t think so.