Wednesday, 9 December 2015

My (personal) 9 politically “incorrect” Do’s for the solo traveller

Never be afraid to try something new, because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know”
 Many years ago I had a complete lack of knowledge about travelling. Truthfully, I didn’t even know I wanted to travel at all! It never crossed my mind that solo travelling could generate addiction as strong as the most powerful drug, one that would fill me up with knowledge and experiences to fill a lifetime, which would not destroy me but build me and ultimately, make me.
  Back to those years, I would have never imagined that my longest relationship would be with my faithful backpack. I look back now on those days and I realised that I have learned or self-learned an awful lot of stuff and I feel I own to other fellow travellers the right to throw some light into the insights of the solo traveller in Asia, maybe with the hope to make someone’s journey a bit more joyful. 

 By all means, the below tips must be read very objectively and with a hint of sense of humour as they are based on my own personal experiences and indeed, there aren’t two experiences that are the same or lived on the same way, therefore my points are mostly valid for myself, first of all, and hopefully, good for you, too.
 If anything, I hope you find these lines entertaining, I will definitely try to provide you with some valid points and hopefully, get you to smile, too!
  1. You will cross land borders and believe me, 70% of your adventures, frustrations or desire to kill someone will be during those borders crossings! Many and I mean, MANY times they will try to scam you. If you have a feeling that they are doing it, chances are that you are right! Do speak loud and clear to the person in front of you and tell them how it is, chances are that you will still be scammed but at least, they know that you know and believe, it feels good to say it J

2. Before you leave for you trip, research like crazy and not the night before your flight!! You will be glad to feel some sense of familiarity on situations that will occur to you on the other side of the world, like land borders scams! You will be shocked to find out that in some places they have never seen a PC let alone Google and no, your Lonely Planet will not talk to you when you are in need of some urgent answers.  Be adventurous, no stupid.
3. In several Asian countries their habitants don’t get the concept of queues, they just DON’T. You will find that your occidental education totally goes to waste on those circumstances and they will push you as there is no tomorrow, no mercy! Believe, forget to be a lady or a gentleman, you are a gorilla and out there is the law of the jungle, therefore make yourself a favour and imitate the locals. If they push you (and they will) push harder!! Don’t be afraid, Cambodians found me most entertaining when I started pushing them with my backpack like a crazy woman but eventually I reached to the counter, ha!

  4. You may wish to remain alone during your travels (I have done it and that is all right, too) but do not let your fears get on the way of the pleasures of sex with a stranger. You should be able to let yourself go taking always the right precautions and not putting yourself at risk, EVER. Said that, sleeping with a fellow backpacker or a charming local will provide you with beautiful passionate memories that will last you a lifetime and if you are going to do it, then have sex as if there isn't a tomorrow! Nothing matters but the moment, you will find that letting yourself go is very refreshing and chances are that the charming local or attractive backpacker will never become too familiar as neither you nor the other person will remain too long on the same place.

 5. Never ignore the power of a smile witch it can improve your travelling enormously. Smiling is contagious, makes you more approachable, trustworthy and attractive to the world. Discover the world with your best face and many times people will act towards you in the same way; there is no price for the smile of a person. Light up your own days and the days of others and be grateful for the sights you see, you are incredibly blessed to be on that side of the world, what else can you do if not smile for those precious moments?
  6. Don’t let your shyness spoilt a moment of truth. Approach people, say hello, smile, ask questions, do not remain hidden in a corner, go out there with a good attitude, gratitude and sympathy and talk to the world, the world will talk back to you. There are good people out there, sometimes you will find them easily, other times you will feel that there aren’t there but remember that your own attitude makes the journey and a simple hello goes a long way, so don’t let your shyness to stop you making friends, discovering amazing people and giving you intense moments of discoveries.
 7. Eat like a local, travel like a local. Leave the luxury at home and go out there to experience reality. If you are carrying a backpack with you, chances are that you have daily budget limitations. It is a perfect combination; not only you will save money but you will also live and experience the struggles of travelling like a local and get your senses tested with the delicious and genuine food from the streets. Yes, from time to time, you will prefer a bus with AC and you should not stopped  yourself of giving you that pleasure occasionally but do not make an habit of being comfortable, experiencing their realities is what will make you a humbler person.
 8. Trust people, there’s no other way.  Where there is adventure, there is fear and to a certain extent, is normal to travel without rusting people, at the end of the day, you are alone on an unknown country and no one will take any responsibilities for you. That feeling is overwhelming at times and understandably you will feel that the only way to protect yourself is by not trusting others but if you do that, you will lose the sense of the journey. Of course always remain vigilant of what surrounds you but, believe me, there is always good people out there, doesn’t matter where you go. Of course, not everyone can be trusted and myself, I experienced that with a fellow traveller but hey, from all experiences you learn and if you fall for a lie, that is also all right and not the end of the world, just another lesson you learnt!

    9. Do what you are scare of doing. Believe me, those will be the things that you will talk about it for years to come. I took a helicopter ride, walked on pending bridges in Nepal, flew in a tiny plane so close to the Himalayan mountains that to this day, I still don’t understand how we didn’t crashed, landed on  what is known as the most dangerous airport in the world, slept with beautiful men,  swam with bio luminesces at night with a stranger in the Sri Lankan sea, climbed mountains, taught English to local people in the middle of the street sin Laos, joined a family in Sri Lanka that took me to a secret temple for a beautiful intimate religious celebration, saw savage elephants at night in the middle of the road, spoke with monks, joined the street children in Cambodia, made lifetime friends, had a water fight with local children from a village in the Laos mountains and many other wonderful experiences that I would have never had if I let my fear stopping me to go out and discover the world alone.

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