I didn’t always travel a lot. In my 20s, I barely travelled. I was 32 years old the first time I stayed in a hostel. And at 32 is also when I went backpacking around the world. As you can see, it’s never too late to start travelling.
Travel is like magic. You go to a distant world and discover amazing things. You meet friendly people, see breathtaking sights, and gain wisdom and insights into the inner workings of our world.
But it’s not all fun and games. You also learn the ugly truth about our world and the negative side of travelling a lot. In this article, we will cover some of the ugly truths that you learn when you travel a lot.
VIDEO – 7 Hard Truths You Learn When You Travel A Lot
1 – Racism is real
During my one-year trip around the world, I experienced a concentrated amount of racism between Italy and Switzerland. The racism I experienced in Italy was more blatant as locals condescending yelled “NI HA” to me (they’re trying to say Ni Hao) and I got my foot stomped by some Italians on a train.
Racism in Switzerland is more passive-aggressive and was mostly from older Swiss males. The younger Swiss people weren’t racist for the most part except for one hotel front desk staff I met.
And to be honest, as an Asian, I am already lucky. Other races like Black/African, Indian, and Middle East people definitely experience more racism. And this is terrible because, at the end of the day, we all belong to the same race which is the human race.
2 – Taxi scams are in all countries
I hate taxi scams. There’s nothing I dread more than landing in a new country because I know I’m about to deal with a scammy taxi driver just outside the airport.
In Indonesia, I paid five different prices for the exact same taxi ride between my accommodation and the airport. The worst taxi scams are definitely in the Middle East. Places like Israel, Jordan, and especially Egypt have some of the most vicious taxi scams I have ever experienced.
But, taxi scams are not limited to more chaotic countries. My sister got scammed by a taxi here in Vancouver where we live. The driver took a longer route to drive my sister home from work and my sister called him out on it because she lives here.
3 – Most people at home don’t care to hear about your amazing travel experiences
When I returned back home from my one-year trip around the world, no one cared to hear about my amazing travel stories. People would ask me how it was but really they were just asking out of politeness. As a matter of fact, after returning back from my one-year trip around the world, people just thought I switched shifts that’s why they didn’t see me.
I ended up running a travel meetup group where like-minded travellers can come together and share stories of their travel experiences.
4 – It cost a lot of money
Travel is not cheap. And I’m already the kind of person that knows how to maximize savings on flights and accommodations. Even then, it’s still expensive. That’s because if you want to see amazing things in this world, it will still cost you a big chunk of change.
For example, I did a one-day gorilla trekking in Uganda. This trek cost me close to $1000. That is ridiculously expensive to see these amazing creatures. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it, but seeing these guys put a big dent in my bank account.
5 – You will get sick during your travels
If you travel a lot, then, you are bound to get sick at some point. The most common type of travel illness is food poisoning. When you travel, you will want to try different local cuisines. But, food safety is something that is mainly practiced in western society. If you travel to off-the-beaten-path travel destinations, the chances of you getting food poisoned are pretty high.
Besides food poisoning, I’ve gotten a fever twice during my travels as well as altitude sickness. And this doesn’t include injuries I’ve sustained from treks.
6 – It’s physically unhealthy
When you travel, you might think you are being active. And this is partially true as you are walking a lot. One thing is for certain when you travel, you’re more likely to hit 10,000 steps per day.
Not so fast! Yes, walking a lot is an amazing form of experience. But, you can outwalk a bad diet. When you travel, you will definitely want to eat a lot of yummy food and those calories add up quickly.
And while walking a lot is great, you are missing the importance of resistance training. Yes, some hotels have a gym but staying in those types of accommodations also cost a lot more.
So unless you want to shell out money to stay at Marriott hotels all the time, you’re probably not going to be getting enough proper exercise and nutrition when you travel.
7 – You get numb to sightseeing
When you travel a lot, everything starts to look the same. For example, I went to Europe as the last continent of my one-year trip around the world. The first city I visited was Lisbon and I thought it was very pretty. After spending over 3-months in Europe, all the buildings were starting to look the same.
It got old pretty fast. With the exception of cities like Edinburgh and Dubrovnik, most cities looked identical to one another. The lesson learned is that when you travel a lot, diversifying your travel between cities, adventure, beaches, and nature is a good idea.
Despite all the negative things I listed in this article about travel, I still think the positive outweighs the negative. Life is all about living after all and you can reach the end of your life with a pile of money but no life experience. You might be paper rich but you are life experience poor.
Scams and travel illness can be greatly mitigated with proper research on your travel destination.
Racism is hard to avoid in certain countries. The best course of action is to not stay too long in countries with a high probability of a racist encounter. Finding accommodations that offer a gym at least once or twice a week is a good way to stay fit while travelling.
And if no one cares to hear about your travel experience when you get back home, simply find yourself a local travel meetup to find others that care to hear your stories.