|Sue Mae, Sapa, Vietnam. I could not bathe or wash my hair.|
I had all my clothes on because it was
very cold. But the discomfort was
not even noted at the time. I loved
every minute of that trip.
|Sidewalk Cafe in Florence The food|
was glorious and service outstanding.
The waiters spoke English
So, I wonder, "How do you feel about third world travel." If you are thinking that third world travel is for you, you need to realize that that type of travel is all about survival, adventure and even physical endurance. Here are some questions I think you could ask yourself that might help you make a choice:
- When you stay in a resort do you stay in the resort because you are afraid to venture out the gate of the hotel? If you do, you are wasting a plane ticket I think. You can stay in a resort near your house and probably have the same experience. When you visit a country whose culture is outside your comfort zone, staying put inside the gates is very tempting.
- Do you always pick a restaurant that serves American food? The tastes of a country is part of every trip. Eating needs to always be part of your research before you travel to a country. If you cannot tolerate spicy or won't put something that might taste strange in your mouth, you are not going to enjoy yourself.
- Does it bother you that people don't speak your language? I know people that don't like the sound of a different language or the fact that they cannot understand what is being said. Reading people's expressions and body language does not come easily to them. That can be very upsetting.
- Are you excited about learning a few words of Spanish or Thai or Chinese? If you really don't want to put a little effort into your visit then you will appear rude and the native people do not like that. I have even gotten lectures on speaking the native language when I am in a country. I suppose the ugly American stereotype preceded me. I was trying.
- Are you a whiner when you are tired? The deal is most vacations are not all about you. If you are miserable that is one thing but to make everyone around you miserable is not good. Travel in a third world country can mean skipped meals and discomfort.
- Does air travel and waiting send you into a tail spin? Impatience can be a big problem. I think that if you are going to travel you had better be willing to endure some inconvenience. (I will say it once more: It is not all about you.)
I know we are expected to like travel but many of us don't. Even our snowbird lifestyle requires a lot of flexibility so travel just takes that experience to a whole new level.
It could be that a trip to a European country might be a better choice for you than a developing nation. It is easier in a lot of ways.
- European speak English.
- I suppose that there are very few cities in Europe that do not have a burger joint somewhere around.
- You don't need to bargain in Europe at all. The price is the price.
- You can wander the streets of Florence (Firenze) very easily without a care. All you need is a map. The same holds for Spain and most other cities. Just follow the rules of safety much the same as you would in the city nearest you. Note: Be sure to leave your passport in the hotel and do not carry much cash or all your credit cards. That is the one thing about Europe...the pick pocket business and very good for the gypsies.
- Tour companies are willing to hold your hand and get you all the right food at the right time. They are also very educating and I don't think you can go wrong if you enjoy that sort of thing.
- If you want to drive, you can rent a car and travel down highways very like we have here in the United State. We have been in Germany and Spain so I know that driving is not a problem if you are willing to do it.
- Rail travel is easy and takes a lot of the stress of travel away while you see the countryside. Besides that, rail travel is a great people watching experience.
- The museums are glorious as are the cathedrals. But, if you are not a museum goer, that is ok too. Just people watching can be enough reason to travel. I love that part of every trip.
|Michelangelo's David Accademia Gallery in Florence|
So, which would you prefer; a trip to Mexico or a trip to Sweden? It is your choice. How wonderful is that!