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Don’t Go There…

While I was considering a blog post for this week I watched a video on YouTube titled “How to Travel the World with Almost No Money“ by Tomislav Perko. In the video, Mr. Perko talks about how he was able to travel around the world with almost no money. He was able to trade work for food, shelter, and transportation. At other times, he hitchhiked for transportation and utilized an app called Couchsurfing among other things to keep the daily budget extremely low.

The context of the speech Mr. Perko made in the video was to illustrate the fact that anyone can (and should) travel on any kind of budget if you are creative enough. While his style of travel is not for everyone, there are a few important things to take away from Mr. Perko’s experience. Listening to the experience of his global adventure and some of the things he learned during his travels reminded me of my first experience traveling internationally and I found myself nodding at key points during the presentation.

The first point I took away from this video is the fact That the world is not as dangerous and scary as we are often lead to believe. From a very early age, we are taught to avoid strangers. We are told that strangers are dangerous and bad things will happen if we interact with them. We are taught this by our parents to keep us safe from the bad people that could hurt us as children. When we are older, we are told to avoid hitchhiking because someone bad could pick us up, OR we could pick up a bad person as a passenger. Then we are constantly told about this place, or those people being violent and dangerous by the news outlets. Each of these scenarios are well founded social warnings resulting from bad things happening in the past. Mr. Perko talks about leaving his home in Croatia and people telling him he would die if he went to Serbia. When he got to Serbia, he met some amazing people who shared their culture and their native land with pride. When it was time to leave Serbia, he was told don’t go to Turkey you will die. He had another amazing experience in Turkey and the process repeated all along his journey across the globe and shared this story to illustrate the point that the world is full of amazing people who will enrich your travels and make them safer if you take the time to meet them.

I had this affirmation a couple times during my many adventures. The first was when I went to Germany in High School. At 17 years old, I was sent out into a village in Northern Bavaria to complete a scavenger hunt. Not knowing a word of German, I had to wander the streets of this village and ask strangers if they could help. In completing this challenge, I got to meet many extraordinary people who not only helped me on my quest, but also taught me about their village and culture. The second time that I realized people are generally good people is the following year when I was visiting New York City. My travel mates wanted to see the Apollo Theater in Harlem. So, our guide took us to Harlem. We had grown up hearing about the crime and terrible things that happen in Harlem and were terrified. we got off the bus in front of the theater, took some pictures and planned on getting on the next bus back to Manhattan. While waiting for the bus, this random giant person comes walking up to me and touches the bill of my hat. He shook my hand, and told me how much he liked it and then walked off. I couldn’t believe something like that could happen in the horrible neighborhood of Harlem. Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe there are places you just should not go, especially as a tourist. With that being said, I also believe that with proper research and situational awareness you can go far more places In the world than what you think.

The second thing I took from this video kind of goes with the first point and that is if you step out of your comfort zone a little you can and will meet some truly special people. Meeting local people with a genuine respect and curiosity is the best way to learn about the place you are visiting and get the most out of your trip. Be cautious and maintain a high level of situational awareness while at the same time leaving yourself open to meeting new people in a new place. Do not judge an entire country by the bad things you see in the news about one particular area. Instead, do thorough research about your potential destination and avoid the bad areas.

In conclusion, research is a key element of travel safety when going anywhere. Knowing where you should not go is just as important as knowing where you want to go. Saying this country or that country is dangerous because of reports of bad things happening in a particular area is like saying the United States is dangerous because of reports of increased violence in a particular city or area within a city. keeping an open mind and meeting local people can and will greatly enhance your travel experience. So, get out there and see the world. If you need assistance in researching a vacation schedule your free consultation today!

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