Travel Tips Abroad: From Hanging Out to Getting High & Making Out
I travel quite a bit. I tend to leave the country at least twice a year, and I almost exclusively travel alone. What can I say? I like the anonymity that travel provides- to be a stranger in a strange land can be a narcotic. A lot of the reasons why I like solo travel so much is how it forces me to rely on myself to get by while compelling me to make new friends.
In the words of Minor Threat, “there is no set of rules, I’m not telling you how to live your life,” but you know, there is some shit you are probably going to want to know so you don’t go out into the greater world lookin’ a fool. Here are some pieces of advice that I have to offer…
What do you mean?
For the love of Satan, PLEASE learn a couple of words/phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. “Hello”, “yes”, “thank you”, “please” and do you speak English?” tend to be tried and true. Yes, you are still going to be staring blankly at people speaking to you nodding your head yes, but wanting to say no, but whatever. People will appreciate that you are trying and will likely get a good natured a laugh out of listening to you butcher their native tongue.
To get thrashed or to not get thrashed, that is almost always the question. Everyone rails against doing drugs in other countries, and with good reason. I mean, have you seen “Brokedown Palace”?!? But let’s be honest, scary ass foreign jail flicks aside, you might find yourself in a situation where getting high is very appealing. I get it. If you are going to break on through to the other side, exercise some basic caution and really go with your gut. Does the person offering you said narcotics seem okay? What are the laws like regarding drug consumption? How did you find yourself in this clandestine financial transaction? Don’t be a kook and you should be fine
You’re out in the world. You’re feeling yourself. You’re also feeling that babe you just met from god knows where. A couple cocktails later shit is getting hot and heavy… What to do? Well, I am going to first say see #2 above. Trust your gut, if that person seems on the level, great, get it on! But exercise caution- condoms, condoms, condoms! Then there is the larger question of where to do the deed… Hotel rooms are great if you are a baller. But if you are staying in a hostel dorm you’re going to be sharing that night of passion with a whole crew of people who might be more bothered than hot by the scene. Public sex is always fun for getting your freak on, however nothing says boner kill like a cop stumbling in to break up your love fest.
Too good to be true
Ah, the deals one is offered while traveling: special tours, secret spots, diamonds, hashish… The list goes on and on. Sometimes these are legit, but often, not so much. For example, I was visiting the ancient city of Petra in Jordan a few years ago. It is a beautiful place, and the country is lovely. But being a Middle Eastern country let me express to you how very booze free that region of the world is. Anyhow, I was hot. I wanted a beer so bad I would kill someone. Then a gentleman sitting in a tent-café beckoned me over… “Happy hour?” he called to me as visions of Mai Thais danced in my head. I went over, dumbly knowing how impossible it is to acquire a beer let alone a cocktail. Long story short I learned that at least in Petra “happy hour” is shorthand for a quickie. Moral of the story: too good to be true offers are just that- too good.
Cash rules everything
Sometimes you are going to find yourself in a situation where your credit card isn’t accepted, there is no ATM, and just shit is straight up cray. It is for situations like this that you should meditate on the teachings of the Wu Tang Clan: C.R.E.A.M. Seriously bring at least a couple hundred with you. Stuff it in different parts of your bag so in case someone robs your shit, you won’t be left high and dry. In the event that something goes seriously wrong and you need to get the fuck out of dodge, having some filthy lucre can help ease that process.
I can assure you with 100% certainty that shit is going to fall through. Your bus is going to break down, the waves won’t agree with you, the hostel is going to lose your reservations, you will get catastrophically lost. In many ways, traveling is an open invitation to chaos, so in these situations you have two options: have a fucking cow or roll with it. Flipping out is fun sometimes, but really, you are having an adventure. Have a beer and plot your new strategy, after all, this is how great stories begin.
Don’t be a dick
Yes, you are on vacation and that is fantastic. I wish you many of them in the course of your life. However, do try to bear in mind that your destination isn’t a pageant of cultural fantasia; it is also someone’s home. Don’t forget that.