Recently Ryan from Ryan Goes Abroad asked to contribute to his What I Wish I Knew When I Started Traveling: The Rest Of The Story post. I was surprised to be contacted, because I haven’t been traveling for a long time, but I wanted to offer some good travel advice. I also thought about the point of the post, what advice had I wished I’d known before I started traveling. I thought of a lot of things, but the one that really stuck was this traveling is not that hard.
With my friends and family it seems that traveling is a big ordeal. Here’s an example. Each Thursday Westjet, a Canadian airline, has a seat sale listed on Thursdays. This week the seat sale was San Francisco, with a price of $109 one-way from for travel between May 2 and June 30 (from Edmonton that’s amazing). I’d like to say I booked it, but with Mexico in May and TBEX in June the price was a bit over my budget. My parents however, could go. Recently it was my dad’s birthday, and my mom had wanted to book a trip somewhere, but she wasn’t able to find a good deal. Suddenly there was this great sale. They both wanted to go to San Francisco, so you’d think they just booked the ticket, but it became this ordeal. Should we go? How do we book the tickets? Oh my god there’s a 1 hour layover in Vancouver…
Now let me say that both of my parents have jobs which are flexible enough for them to request a few days off a trip like this. My parents have also traveled before to Egypt, Hawaii, etc, so it’s not like booking a flight was a foreign concept for them. The way they approached this it was like they were getting their teeth pulled. They parents weren’t planning a trip to some destination half-way across the world. They weren’t planning to travel to some warzone. My parents were going to San Francisco, in a country they had been to many times before. They had their passports. They had the money and the time to go, so I don’t understand why they had to make things harder than they needed to be?
Perhaps I’m naive but my theory is that if you expect something to be hard and frustrating it’s going to be. If you expect something to be simple and straightforward more likely it will be. I know there are exceptions to this, and unforeseen circumstances can come up. There are issues like visas, health insurance, getting lost or robbed, etc. I’m not saying travelling is perfect and nothing bad ever happens. Bad things can happen, and sometimes things don’t run smoothly. With all things in life, it’s not always going to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you don’t make the effort and try.
Often I’m found that the people who complain about how hard travel is are the people who don’t travel. When I got back from New York people some people would say, “oh New York is confusing and really really expensive.” These were people who’d never been there. Sure I’m not an expert but NYC wasn’t nearly as confusing or scary or expensive as many people had told me.
I’ve learned travelling isn’t that hard other travel bloggers. Having read stories from Adventurous Kate and Twenty-Something Travel I now realize traveling to Southeast Asia isn’t an impossible feat like I used to think it was. Nomadic Chick has shown me that traveling to India is possible, and I’ve learned I could travel to South America like Bacon is Magic. Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg.
So when people tell you, “I’ve heard travelling to such and such a place is really hard” don’t let that stop you from going there if you want to go there. Had I decided to only visit places that other people thought would be easy to travel to I wouldn’t have gone any further than my own backyard. Sure obstacles might come up, and no trip is perfect, but traveling isn’t any where nearly as hard as many people think it is. The more I travel the more I see how true this is.