Travel Sacrifices

So you probably know someone who has said “I just want to travel” or “I wish I could live _____”.

However, despite how amazing it is to see the world, if you’re deciding to take that big trip, you need to understand what exactly you will be sacrificing by moving or going miles away.

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China train toilets…. yes they are a hole in the ground!

1. Comfort: For a budget traveller, giving up that warm quilt covered bed might be the best option in order to travel on the cheap. But it can be taxing, especially when you find yourself living in 12 bed dorms with little air conditioning, a hole in the floor as your toilet and signs posted above the sinks telling you to not drink the tap water!

  • Just remember that you travelled to experience new things. Some of these things WILL be uncomfortable-but that’s okay because you get to learn more about yourself and what you value.
  • Take it as an experience, appreciate it, hate it and later I promise you will spend hours laughing about that one time you had to crap into a hole on the floor of a train in India 😛

2. Family/Friends

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. You never notice how your annoying brother kept you so much company, or how you mom cooking you meals with love enriched your heart. When you travel, you are not only going to be away from your friends and family but also away from people who understand you and who you [may] have chosen to be in your life.

  • It can be lonely sometimes, but remembering that they will always be there for you when you return might help keep the family blues at bay.
  • Also, try talking to people at hostels and reach outside your comfort zone if you really feel homesick. You’re more than likely to find someone who lives in a country near yours or at least from the same continent! Don’t be scared to reach out too. Those people are missing their loved ones just as much as you! 
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Trying out spicy food in Beijing

You might think that travelling to another country is going to be great, and those 50 photos of China looked super awesome in that tourist book you picked up from the library….

  • In reality the world is a big big place. The countries you are going to are VERY different, and sometimes that means a traveller can feel unfamiliarity.
  • Tourist books highlight the great things to see, but too often they forget to mention what it’s like going to a country where everyone stares at you because they have never seen a white person and no one understands what you are saying.

When I was in Xi’an China for example, I made the mistake of getting into a taxi cab (that was marked!) that took me to the other side of Xi’an. I was basically in tears because my phone did not work, I had no internet access, had no idea where I was/how to pronounce where I was staying and NO ONE spoke english! Fortunately, a nice “box” car driver asked me what was wrong and managed to help me out in broken english, eventually bringing me to the train station and giving me his number in case I needed help.

  • If you are in the above situation, try to talk to anyone in your language and (english)
  • Have one of those translating apps on your phone/tablet
  • Have your hotel address written down in the language
  • Have the hotel number/friends who speak the language numbers written down

If you feel like you’re in an unfamiliar situation in a new country remember that the feeling is temporary.

You are feeling culture shock. I know the tentacles being slurped up by locals, the no hand washing policy and the “disgusting” food is strange and foreign, but you chose to go to this new country and you get to experience these things TEMPORARILY for the experience.

So make the best of it. Try the “disgusting” food, which will probably turn out to be delicious, and immerse yourself in the culture shock.

4. You will have to go home:

For most of us, this is the case, and it definitely sucks. With elephants in Thailand, white beaches and amazing parties with the people in your hostel, it seems hard to give it up. To the lucky few, the journey of travelling will continue, but it isn’t all that bad.

You get to return home to appreciate those small creature comforts that shaped you into you, and perhaps one day you’ll get to go back to your travel destination, or explore more of this wonderful world.

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5. Money: 

You will have to spend money, and as hard as it is to give up the 5000 dollars you spent the past seven years saving up for, it will be worth it. Don’t fear that small bank account, there are ways to budget and there will always be more money.

  • You are choosing to travel to see new things and meet new people, so don’t worry if your bank is taking a hit
  • Splurge on things if you think they are worth it. That igloo hotel in Norway that lets you see the Northern Lights from your bed? Yeah that 200 Euro price tag is steep-but it is worth it! So weigh up what you want to see and indulge every so often.

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All in all, just have fun. Take risks, acknowledge things that make you uncomfortable and appreciate them for being a temporary and DIFFERENT experience.

After all, that’s why you’re travelling right? 🙂

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