Recently I took a ten day vacation out of the country and it was a nice time for all, especially someone like me that never takes a break. The people were friendly, the weather was excellent, and the sea water was pretty damn therapeutic. But there were a few downers and although they weren’t enough to ruin my vacation, it made me think about how I could better plan for the next one.
I have had many questions on traveling – especially as a black male and some of you have asked me to share my adventures whenever I embark on them. I hope to start a new series on my thoughts as I take breaks from the monotonous rat race with this article. The following is a list of items, both good and bad that I have learned as a tourist abroad.
1. Tourists Suck
Americans with no home training: Not to pick on Americans too much since we did have random, drunk German guy misbehaving in our hotel but between the prejudiced comments made towards the native people, the whiny demands, and the one guy who brought his mini keg to the hotel’s bar, I realized that I hate other tourists. This realization made me see the value of traveling off of the paved roads and vacationing in the more unpopular spots where the food, travel and planning are done yourself. Going with a trip that is pre-packaged means that you share your space with the chum.
Raisin in a bowl of milk syndrome: People come from all over the place but the majority will always be old and white, this isn’t a problem since I’m team unity and rainbows, but what it does mean is that they stare a lot. Being a towering giant of a black man traveling probably leads to a ton of questions based on who I am and what I have going on, but understanding the stares doesn’t make them any less annoying.
2. Technology Break
Roaming charges and a hotel that only allowed for Wi-Fi to be accessed through its lobby area ($20/day) led to me shelving the phone, and social media for most of the time I was there. This may sound like hell but it was amazing! The free time that was normally spent blogging, working, and seeing people complain on Facebook, was put into enjoying the facilities and kicking it with the fam. If you’re writing a book, reading a book, or just catching up on art, a long vacation without tech will allow you to do all of it.
3. I Always Feel Ripped Off
Let’s start with the airlines, you get one bag to check and if you are cursed as a tall person or a fat person, guess what? You will have to bone up some more cash to sit comfortably on the plane. I continue to push the fact that we tall guys don’t have it as easy as the world tells you.
People love to brag about bartering with locals to get a great price but who really knows if they still got the last laugh or not? I absolutely despise purchasing souvenirs and it’s because I always feel like I played myself and bought it for 3 times its cost. This is why I chose to spend the majority of my money on the handmade items that the desperate hustlers were pushing on the street. The stores I visited had lighters for $5 American, crappy t-shirts for $20 and would look at you like you’re smoking crack if you were to question the cost of it. Then again, I promised people souvenirs so I bought lots of $5 things that were worth about $1-$2. Good times.
4. The Hustle Makes You up Your Game
Traveling to an impoverished country will make you feel fat and will inspire you to up your hustle game to be somewhat hungry like the street vendors. Seeing people who are all muscle and sinew because they grew up in a place where walking up hills is the norm makes you look at your fat American body like “wow, it’s time to fix this”. It becomes blatantly obvious that our foods are very different from their foods and with all of our luxuries it makes you want to do better.
5. Coming Back To Work
No, I am not talking about the fact that you have to come back to work—I know this sucks. What I am referring to is coming back to a mountain of email, worthless coworkers who took the word “coverage” as meaning “save it for when he returns” and clients who think that you are their slave. If you take a vacation, be prepared to take a couple days to work on your recovery (with your office door closed) because chances are some fire was left for you to douse.
So the next vacation I take, I would like for it to be in a safe place where I am one of the few tourists in the vicinity. I know this will mean that I will have to chase down cabs, setup the room and board myself, and find a flight that has knee room for guys over 5’10” but you know what? I think it will be great.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.