Part of the beauty of travelling is the myriad of ways in which one can do it. It’s true! There’s no right or wrong way to travel, it depends on what you want to get out of it and what works for you. For us, we place a lot of value on immersing ourselves in the places we visit and learning as much about ourselves as we do about others. In this post about travel myths debunked, we discuss the three biggest travel myths that we, as expats, hear all the time. We also wanted to speak a little bit about one often-overlooked truth. We hope that by starting this conversation, more of you will be inspired to overcome any limiting beliefs and take the leap to get out there and have an adventure! These are our views, take what you find helpful and leave the rest. As mentioned above, there are plenty of ways to travel!
Myth #1: Traveling is Expensive
This might be one of the greatest travel myths of all time. Yes, you have to have some money, and we definitely don’t encourage anyone to spend money irresponsibly or go into debt for travel. But, do you need thousands of dollars to get started? Absolutely not. There are so many ways to travel for little to no money. We could write a whole post on cheap travel (and rest assured we will!). Flight-finding websites such as Skyscanner and Google flights can save you a ton. This is especially true when you can be flexible about your destination. You would be surprised that a few simple changes can significantly reduce your travel costs.
Staying with local people can be a life-changing adventure. You can get some inspiration from websites like workaway.info, helpx.net, and wwoof.net. We have used these sites to travel for months in countries like Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Jordan, and Scotland. There are many wonderful things about work exchange programs. You live with a local family and experience a different culture up close. You can also learn new skills like permaculture, beekeeping and even winemaking! Even better, you get a free place to stay and most hosts will also provide at least two meals per day. It’s an incredible and life-changing way to travel on a budget and make new friends.
Photo: Lake Titicaca, Bolivia
Myth #2: Traveling is Hard
Travel is all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Even though we have been living and traveling abroad for 10+ years, there are still times when we feel like we don’t know what to do or are afraid of getting caught in a situation we can’t handle. No one likes feeling like a fish out of water, and traveling can make you very self-conscious. We sometimes find ourselves worrying about whether we are doing something that others find offensive, or that make us seem out of place. However, we believe that these challenging moments are the ones that makes us grow and can create long-lasting memories.
Adventuring can seem harder in our minds than it actually is, and kindness is key. Most people you encounter are overwhelmingly kind, and happy to lend a hand to a confused foreigner. You also don’t have to be fluent in 7 languages to open those travel doors. Effort is what is most appreciated, so even just ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in another language can go a long way. Often times, our mental barriers are the only thing prevent us from adventuring the world!
Myth #3: Traveling is Stressful
The last of our travel myths we wanted to debunk is the travel is stressful. Planning a trip doesn’t have to be a difficult undertaking (see point 5 in our previous article). It can be very overwhelming if you try to plan in detail, and most likely your plans will change anyway! Take some of the pressure off yourself by simply going with the flow. There are also so many things that can happen to you when you travel – a bus is late, a landmark closed for maintenance, that restaurant that you really wanted to try is fully booked – that we almost don’t see the point in trying to plan it out. Embracing spontaneity can also present the opportunity to try things that you would never have otherwise planned to!
Photo: Galicia, Spain
One Truth: Passport Privilege is Real, and it Makes this Website Possible
Of all of the travel myths out there, we find it strange that this one hard truth isn’t discussed more. We don’t deny that both of us are privileged to hold the passports we do. Every year, the Henley Passport Index is published. This list of passports ranked by the number of countries where citizens have visa-free access can also help you find out if you need a visa for your trip. If you hold a passport that is towards the top of this list, you are very lucky! Most people in the world cannot pass through borders fluidly and stress-free. It is important to remember that travel is a privilege, not a right, and it should never be taken for granted.
That being said, you don’t have to fly to the other side of the globe to have amazing experiences that expands your horizons! With all of the Instagram pages dedicated to far-flung, exotic locations, it’s easy to forget that there’s also something new to discover in your home country, and even your same city! Sometimes, we can overlook the wonders that surround us until we see them from a different angle. There you have it, some of the biggest travel myths, debunked!