So you think you are a traveller???

4 Feb

Have you ever wondered why when you go away on your travels, whether it be a holiday or a backpacking expedition, you come home with the perception, that the place you spent the last week, month or year in, is the most fantastic place in the world? And so you eagerly tell everyone and anyone willing to listen to your stories, all about your experiences and the amazing things you did, like climb Mount Everest or swim in a lake full of pirañas & caimans, (ok lets face it you didn’t really do that, but you met someone, who knew someone, who knew someone else who did it!) You paint this perfect picture for your audience, only you make the colours brighter and strokes broader therefore almost creating an illusion of perfection because A, that is how ‘we’ like to tell our stories and B, hold our good memories. But the point is, do we create something bigger & brighter than it is in reality…

I have been travelling around the South of America since the end of last year, so far my journey has taken me to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru & currently Argentina. My travels started when I decided that London was boring, I hated my job and there was really nothing left to stay for, so after a fairly convenient redundancy I booked a trip to the South Americas. The brochure I was given at the travel agency, had me captivated by the picture of adventure and cultural experiences, I mean how many people do you know, say they have been to Lake Titicaca to live like the local Peruvians in a small village where electricity is a new concept and the toilet seat is still a mystery!

The point is the brochure promises some seriously amazing experiences and of course at a cost. However while you stand there with this fresh painted picture in your head, you think ‘hey why not, I only live once’. So you jump on the next available plane to start your journey of a life time, like Dora the Explorer in lands of the Americas, but there is one problem!!! … when you step off that plane, you and 150 others with The Lonely Planet Guide in their hands walk of the plane with exactly the same idea! ‘No way’ you think! YES WAY. You soon realise that you are not the first to discover the Americas, I believe that was Christopher Columbus and nor will you be the last. So how perfect was that picture in the brochure with the added descriptive sales jargon the travel assistant painted for you!

Anyway you and your ‘Lonely Planet Guide – South America on a Shoestring’, venture into the world of unknown or well at least unknown to you personally, all you have is your book as reference, a pre booked hostel and lack of language skills to get through the next 5 months. The adventure really begins…. What the brochure fails to tell you, is that if you walk around with your backpack, a tourist guide-book and a map, you are instantly subjected to: 1. being ripped off – well if you can, why not? The key is to charge tourist 25% more than locals, it makes a great profit and then you can buy the Ford that costs more than your house! 2. Being mugged in broad daylight, why not, you are after all a walking wardrobe with additional accessories from the western world and not forgetting the added BONUS of some cash in whichever currency, money is easily changed, no questions asked! 3. And finally, being robbed some more at any given opportunity!

So after the initial ‘I’m a tourist’ shock, you head to your hostel to seek some shelter, some quiet time is definitely a need, however what you receive as soon as you walk through the door is a crammed common room with a bunch grouped travellers, if it’s not the Israelis then you are guaranteed the Dutch. And at the point you ask yourself ‘why?’. Some shared stories and polite conversation later, a hot shower (the only place you can be alone, well in some places!) and bed with your guide book beside you, are your only sanctuary! As for tomorrow, it will be another travellers day in ‘paradise’.

So you think you are a traveller?

2 Responses to “So you think you are a traveller???”

  1. dikshapatel February 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    I love this….when is the next post due??? Very good reading…please make it longer next time x

  2. Matt m February 16, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    Wow, this was a year ago. I saw on my fb feed that you disappeared, Dom was asking Teisar if she knew where you went off to. So I had to google you and found this page. Anyway wanted to know what happened to the beautiful nim (misha)? Currently in nicaragua, I dont know if Im a traveller or a wanderer, maybe vago…

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