We are so connected with all over the world now – not just digitally but through transport systems. I’m one of those who love to travel. It’s terrifying to be in a foreign land, I’ll admit, but exhilarating. It’s so amazing to see how we all live in the same planet but have such varying cultures and lifestyles. It’s nice to temporarily be in another world. That brings us to the travel myths that we’ve heard and read about. I’ve not travelled as much as many, nevertheless I’m grateful for the trip I have taken.
- Making New Global Friends: I’m naturally quite an introvert but I become sociable once I get to know you. I am also very cautious in general. I read that if you were to stay in hostels, you are bound to meet people with similar interests to you – budget, students. I stayed in hostels throughout my Euro trip in 2015. I did not make a single friend. Hah! Maybe I didn’t look welcoming enough? Because I didn’t take the initiative? I smiled a lot though. But since I love people-watching, I observed. I knew we wouldn’t click because they were into the partying scene. I’m not. They just went with the flow in exploring the city. I couldn’t.
- Locals don’t like You: I was a bit worried about this one. I’m not the best with directions, ask any of my friends. I didn’t have internet connection on my phone and I relied mainly on screenshots, maps, and my Girl Guides’ skills. If anything I was so pleasantly surprised when locals came forward to help when I looked lost – more than twice/thrice. One sweet lady even googled and showed me the directions. In some cities, locals weren’t as forthcoming but they weren’t hating my existence. They just went on with their lives. When I plucked up my courage to ask locals for help, they were more than happy to assist. All you have to do is be polite and respectful.
- If not Now, then Never: This is so wrong. There is no golden age or time for someone to travel. It’s only whether you want to or not. For someone travelling is a lifetime opportunity due to financial burdens, for some it is exploring new places and some it is just the experience of it all. At different stages of life, our priorities shift and our perspectives and outlooks change. We see the world differently each time. I believe that I will have different focuses when I travel later on.
- Backpackers are so Cool: This was the thought I had whenever I saw men and women with their huge backpacks in Singapore. They looked like the weight on their shoulders was nothing. I’ve seen them sleeping at airports peacefully. Wrong. I’ve not travelled with those intense backpacks but I have with my school one. It’s so heavy and I wanted to just remove my shoulders if I could. I’ve slept in airports. That was not comfortable at all! You have to sleep with one eye open in fear of getting your luggage stolen. Have to find a nice place to sleep but those chairs with the hand-rests is just evil. You also have to look not suspicious when the police patrol. It’s just the thought of not looking suspicious, makes you look suspicious. Backpackers are cool but not in the ways I thought.
- Finding Yourself: Okay, let me be honest, I didn’t find myself. Maybe that wasn’t my goal? Maybe I’m not at that stage yet? I definitely learned things about myself and the people I travelled with. I notice things. But I didn’t get enlightened. I really thought I would because that’s what people got. Maybe I tried too hard or not enough? But the main thing is not to get disheartened or feel like the whole trip was a waste. It’s always the experience that matters to me.
What do you think about these myths? Got any of your own?