These are the common myths and misconceptions that were faced by my girlfriend and I before and during out travels, an epic eight month round the world adventure that we loved. There were boats, epic train journeys and flights. Before we left we planned, researched and talked to our friends. Through these interactions we present our travelling myths.
Credit: Tjeerd Wiersma
8 myths about travelling
1. "You will fade away!" a.k.a. lose weight
Blame this on the overactive imagination of respective mothers before we left. You will not lose weight. Every country we went to, the food was unbelievably good and all we did was eat and pack on the pounds as opposed to losing anything! There is always a regional speciality, a new and novel taste or an amazing new desert. How can you say no?
2. "Ooh, pack this, just in case!"
Don´t. Inevitably you will pass that very same item or a replacement in your travels! We travelled with just a 35 liter rucksack each (just like this one: The North Face Terra 35 - Thorn Green
) which just about meets the hand luggage requirements and it was the best decision ever! How we laughed when we saw travellers trudging through the rain with a pack almost as high as they were. Sure there might come a time when you just can't find something in a country, even with help from locals. Get a friend or parent to buy it at home and post it to you 'poste restante'. If that doesn't work, order from amazon.com
!. You won´t be stuck. Pack light!
If you are one of those people who cannot resist a souvenir, keep it until you have enough for a parcel home and then post it. This provides the bonus of a mini Christmas or Birthday scene when you eventually return home to open these presents to yourself.
3. "Eight months travelling? You'll get bored of it quickly"
This myth must have been made up by someone who doesn't like travelling! Anytime we felt we were travelling too much or suffering from road fatigue, we would check into a nice place and just chill for a few days. Going somewhere new all the time, there's always something new to see and get excited about.
4. (Couples & friends) "Make sure you spend lots of time apart as you'll kill each other"
Another classic! The prospects of X months, day in, day out with your other half, partner or friend can sound worrying. We were afraid we might kill each other. We decided before we left we would make a deliberate effort to spend time apart, but our cumulative time apart turned out to be about two days in eight months; we just enjoy each others company. We've fought occasionally but who doesn't, just be realistic about each others personalities. If you are worried about the effects on a relationship don't worry, you do see how travel can make or break a relationship and it's been a great experience for us.
5. "Eight months travelling? No thanks, couldn't handle the hostels"
You can travel the world and you never have to see the inside of a hostel, if you want to. We spent two nights in a horrible hostel in St. Petersburg and another in a place in Lima and the rest were hotels! Our experience in the first hostel was forty people to two toilets. No thanks! The hostel crowd, in our experience, seem to be around the 18-23 age and seem more interested in getting together, getting off on something and hanging out with each other than experiencing any local culture! We stuck to guesthouses and small hotels which were pretty much the same price as hostels but a LOT more comfortable and we still met the coolest people!
6. "You'll be abducted/robbed/beaten up in La Paz/Moscow/Vietnam"
You won´t if you have your wits about you. Stumbling around drunk in the dark on your own with a wad of cash or phone hanging or out of your pocket and I'd be tempted to rob you. We were super paranoid in the above named cities from all the horror stories we heard but if you are careful with your possessions, confident and look like you know where you are going, you should be fine. Here's a pinch of reality though, both of us are over six foot one and might be a challenge to take on, but also stick out like sore thumbs in many parts of the world. Your experience may vary. We are also very aware of how lucky we were as sometimes, no matter how careful you are, you can be robbed.
7. "People in strange cities who approach you and begin conversations at random are simply interested in learning about you"
This is something I found unbelievable. Call me suspicious but I'd rather err on the side of caution. This has happened to us in so many countries "What's your name?". "Where you from?", we never stuck around long enough but engaging in this conversation will inevitably lead to you being robbed or lured somewhere! This is particularly true of Beijing so watch yourselves! People are people, let's not kid ourselves that we're that interesting to others. Think about it for a second, why would you start a conversation with a perfectly random stranger on the street if you were in your home town. Better safe than sorry!
8. "It'll be impossible to settle when you come home!"
This one has some elements of truth to it. Once you get home there is the excitement of seeing family & friends, getting into a routine, the necessity of getting back to work and having a washing machine(!) takes over. Travel really does make you appreciate home all the more.
If you still have the travel bug after a period at home, scratch that itch! Plot your next adventure and make it happen. Travel is a bug and if you are reading this page there is a good chance you might have it!