Traveling is a pretty hot topic these days, and everyone seems to have a relatively strong opinion on if you should travel, where you should travel, when you should travel, and so on and so forth. And it’s funny, because the strongest opinionated people I’ve encountered are generally the ones who’ve never traveled anywhere. So let’s explore the 5 Myths about travel that we so often hear, and 5 Truths to debunk them!
Myth #1 – It’s too scary! It’s too risky! It’s too dangerous!
The truth is that our main source of information is from the media. And I don’t think you need me to tell you that trauma&drama sell stories, gets the higher rankings, and catches peoples attention. It’s like the saying by Doug Larson goes, “Bad news travels fast, good news takes the scenic route.”
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that all travel is 100% risk free, that would be ridiculous. However, I will say that the fear that has been instilled in Americans regarding travel is less than bona fide. According to the Global Peace Index, the top five safest countries in the world (as of 2016) are Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Portugal. The United States didn’t even make the top 25! Technically, if you’re an American, you’re in more consistent danger by staying home!
Myth #2 – It’s too expensive!
The truth is cost of living in the United States is far more expensive than in many other countries around the world. Don’t believe me? Hop on Numbeo to see how your hometown stacks up against hundreds of cities across the globe. Check out the screenshot to the right, I used my current hometown as an example.
What’s this mean for you? It means you can sell your car, sublet your place, downsize to just a few boxes to keep in storage, and hit the Banana Pancake Trail! I know it’s possible. I’ve done it. What I was spending in a single month on bills was more than enough for several months abroad.
Myth #3 – There’s no time
Think about your daily routine. Do you have time to shower? To eat? To watch your favorite show on Netflix? To play that video game, make that phone call, hang out with that friend? We make time for the things that are important to us, for the things that take priority in our lives.
The truth is if you don’t make time it’s just not that important to you. Plain and simple. We all have 24 hours in a day. We all have 7 days in a week. We all have 365 days in a year. It’s your choice how you decide to spend the time you have. We have been conformed to believe that our time isn’t ours. That 8 hours of our day belongs to our boss, for starters. Why do we bite and chew and swallow this as if it’s the nourishment we need? Guess what? There is time, and it’s already yours.
Myth #4 – You shouldn’t go unless you speak the language
Now this is just silly. I’m pretty sure there are over 190 countries in the world, and I’m pretty sure I want to visit them all. I’m also pretty sure no one expects me to fluently speak over a hundred languages.
Although yes, it would be ideal to speak the language of any country you’re traveling through, the truth is that’s just not practical or even necessary. Sure, the locals may be impressed if you speak multiple languages and theirs is one of them, but then again they may not be. However they always appreciate a foreigner who puts in the effort to try. Have a few phrases memorized, at least attempt to say, “Caipirinha” when you order it, and don’t expect people to speak English just because you do – there’s few things more rude and inconsiderate when traveling than assuming someone speaks English. Remember that over 55% of all communication is non-verbal, so smile, gesture and nod. I had a whole conversation on a four hour train ride through Italy using Google Translator. Get creative!
Myth #5 – But you need to get a real job
Excuse me, “real job?” What constitutes as a real job? When I was bartending on Koh Lanta for two months, making money and serving up rounds, I’m pretty sure that was a real job. When I was working at a guesthouse in Luang Prabang, I’m pretty sure that was a real job. When I was offered a gig at a surf camp in Byron Bay, I’m pretty sure that was a real job.
The truth is there is a vast misconception on what a real job is. This restrictive and rigid idea that we’ve been accustomed to prescribing to is getting a swift kick these days. A real job should provide you with the ability to sustain yourself. What else is there? Love your real job. Look forward to it, feel fulfilled by it, experience purpose and gratification because you’ve obtained it. That is a real job.
I’ve heard that “travel isn’t for everyone,” and while that may be true, I’m more inclined to agree with the idea that not all types of travel are for everyone. If there is a certain type of travel that is for you, perhaps a week in Amsterdam vs 6 months trekking through SE Asia, I would encourage you to not fall victim to these travel myths and just go.
Having trouble saving the cash? Check out my post on how to save for travel here. Wanting to save money by Couchsurfing or working abroad? Take a minute or two and browse my Cheap Travel Tip tab. Whatever type of travel suits you, I assure you there are ways for you to achieve it!
Have you heard of other travel myths or truths that you find specifically irritating? Share your thoughts below! I would love to hear from you!