Friday, December 18, 2015

Would You Enjoy 3rd World Travel?

Up until last Spring my husband and I had always traveled to third world countries. We have been to the Far East a number of times, each trip to a different country. We have stayed in Hong Kong, The Philipines, China, Vietnam and Thailand. Our travels have also taken us to Mexico, Jamaica and The Bahamas. The fact is that each one of these trips was an adventure and a huge learning experience. Those trips are the jewels in our travel crown.
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
But...after taking the trip to Europe last spring, I fell in love with the vacation that lifted me up through art and food and people that could have been my ancestors. The days flew by in a comfortable way I cannot describe. It wasn't about the adventure or bragging rights. It was just about relaxation, beauty, food and laughter. It was an entirely different experience for us.

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:
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  1. European speak English.
  2. I suppose that there are very few cities in Europe that do not have a burger joint somewhere around. 
  3. You don't need to bargain in Europe at all. The price is the price.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
But the honest fact is, if you are a whiner or you hate air travel, long car trips or unusual food, you may be a home body. That is just fine. If we were all the same life would be boring. The trick is that you never need to do what everyone else is doing. Do what makes you happy.

So, which would you prefer; a trip to Mexico or a trip to Sweden? It is your choice. How wonderful is that!



  1. I LOVE to travel! I haven't traveled to third world countries yet. I'm not sure I would enjoy it. My daughter however, prefers only that type of travel!

    1. I know people that share your daughter's preference. Honestly, we have found that the people in those countries are much nicer and more welcoming. We love both.

  2. I love to travel too. I think I would like to travel to a third world country. I do enjoy new foods and spices and like to learn about other cultures.

    1. Make it happen then. Join a tour for the first time out if you are hesitant. Then you will know the drill and you will be able to venture out on your own. We traveled with our son who is an international educator a lot of the time. We felt very secure when we were with he and his wife.

  3. I don't think it's either or....or staying home. All three attract me at different times for different reasons. I lived in Mexico (Oaxaca) and have been back many times--it gave me my home style---color and eccletic---been that way since my first apartment. I never really thought of the Bahamas as exotic though i do venture outside the resorts a lot. Same with Cancun but Isla de Murjes---that is amazing. I lived in Israel---another type of trip altogether. The former Soviet Union (went 3 months before the first McDonalds) was the strangest trip. Aside from Moscow and St Petersburg I went to Sochi and Tibilsi Georgia (only good food)---places I had never even heard of. It was a tour---not something I'm crazy about but unless you were going to see family the only way you were allowed to visit then. Turned out to see the same therapist as a psychiatrist who was closest to me in age--I was young then. Had to keep her from spending the night in ST Petersberg with two men that really wanted to take advantage of us but she didn't see it. I'm adventerous but had long since been over one night stands. And we were leaving in the morning--not easy to change planes. As a single woman I have to be practical and apparently practical for others
    Europe has my heart. I love British and Scandanavian mysteries but it's the walking and the ability to be on my own and meet up for dinner that really gets me going. Not a museum person here but thereI will go for an hour....and churches and history much. My parents had been everywhere Americans were allowed then and instilled in my sister and I a love for travel that knows no limit. My 21 year old niece is going to Paris on Christmas day to see her French boyfriend--met him during her junior semester abroad. I hope she's able to work in Europe and that she will have the opportunities we had plus many more. We all might move there---America's the third world country now.

    1. I would have loved to do all the things you did as a young person. Your upbringing and city life made you a much different person that someone like me.

      My little community had 800 people. The fact that they were all emigrants and from different European countries was lost on me back then. It took we many years as an adult to understand about how we were from different cultures.

      We did not have black people in that little town but the railroad porters would have a layover there. However I never saw them in our restaurants or on the street. I have no idea where they went. Strange that I would notice that after all these years.

      I did not move back to that village when I graduated from college and have spent the rest of my life filling in the blanks. Travel has been a real eye opener for me. I love to go and I love to talk about it. I want everyone to love it as much as I do. Funny!

  4. Arthritis limits my travel, but for several decades I traveled every chance I got, 50 states, 30 countries, usually solo. Love to try different foods, learn some words, read books on the destination. Made me feel more comfortable and made the trip last weeks, not days. Third world countries... Hate that term, but whatever... Showed me you don't need a lot to have a happy life or a generous spirit or good manners.

    1. Your statement about third world countries is so true. I found people that exuded true joy. Personal possessions had nothing to do with it.

  5. Hi My husband and I travel a lot.


Leave your thoughts...I am interested.

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