Being in the tourism industry myself for quite some time now, I hear a lot of ums and ahs when it comes to the actual movement of putting travel plans into action. I guess that is the hardest part for most of us, the most daunting part of travel, is actually going from imagination, ideas and inspired recommendations into paper and of course parting with the money that generally goes with putting travel into action. I hope this may nudge you into taking that final step, if you find you are still procrastinating over the simple action of booking that holiday!
Travel for the soul. I am a true believer that taking off to a new country and seeing a different way of life, meeting people with unique and culturally dissimilar ways of going about everyday living than other than your own, is a life altering and inspirational experience. Generally most people will return home with a new appreciation for what they have, or perhaps even as I find myself, a new appreciation and desire for the simplicity of another way of life, and that sometimes things just get too complicated back at home for no apparent reason other than, that is how it is!
I haven’t met many people that haven’t found something soul defining throughout their travel experience to non-westernised or under developed countries, whether it be that moment they sat alone taking in the immensity of the Himalaya, peering over them like a white wave in an ocean of brilliant blue skies. Or a poverty stricken child smiling up at them for something as simple as a western face smiling back, these moments change lives, and bring what seems so important back to the size it really is, tiny and insignificant. And as one very wise person once said to me, travel is an investment in life, so why wouldn’t you pay for memories and experiences you will hold dear forever!
Why do we hold back? The first thing that strikes people about travelling to a non-westernised country is the simplicity of it, most of us build this complicated image in our minds of ‘how am I going to get from one place to the next’ ‘what if no one speaks English’ ‘what if I get sick’……..etc. What we neglect to think about is, these local people travel from one place to another, they get sick too and well in a majority of destinations in the world today people are basically educated, or have a need to speak basic English, when in doubt there is the option of joining and organised tour, where inevitably your guide will speak English if you join a reputable company and well simply ask for an English speaking guide. Medical facilities may be basic, but if you are properly insured as you should be, then there is no reason if required an emergency evacuation can’t be made to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand or China, of which have some outstanding hospitals.
In any case I find most countries have at least one or two very well equipped hospitals. Transports in anyway shape or form is apparent, in life we all need to get around, buses, bikes, horses, man powered rickshaws, motorised Tuk Tuks, light planes, trains and feet! And lastly a lot of people can’t seem to find that one person that has the same interest as them to wonder these fascinating but somewhat under developed areas of the world, an organised tour is a great way to travel, feeling secure, and making fast friends whilst travelling is hard not to do on one of these, plus there are hundreds of solo travellers like you, you will meet them in airports, restaurants, hotels, night spots, trekking or simply walking the cobbled streets, it really isn’t as daunting as it seems, just get out there and do it!
There are a lot of great travel companies out there, obviously well known ones that run giant head offices most probably right at your doorstep, try not to leave out the smaller guy though, there are plenty of really well established and competitive local companies with very thorough knowledge of the countries you are visiting on tour, because they are actually based there, I would rather have a head office to turn to while I’m there rather than call one back at home if something goes amiss.