I was scrolling through social media when I found myself in the hashtag travel section. The high quality photos and breathtaking views are enough to get anyone’s attention but for some reason, I was distracted – unlike the couple who were gazing into each other’s eyes in front of the Eiffel Tower on my screen.
Perhaps, it was because of what I discovered in the comment sections of the posts that left me saddened. Many people seem to have strong opinions about travelling, as they rightly should, but when these opinions are really myths being masqueraded as facts, they need to be debunked and put to rest immediately so everyone can see the beauty, joy, truth, and reality surrounding travelling.
Myth #1: Travelling is glamorous.
I would like to call social media to the stand because it’s mainly responsible for this myth. Travelling isn’t always what is depicted on our screens, in fact, most travellers aren’t frolicking by the pool with their make-up on fleek, hair perfectly styled, and wearing bikinis that make it impossible to breathe. The reality is, travelling for true adventurers is sweaty, smelly, and tiring with no time for personal care and sometimes, repeating already worn clothes.
Myth #2: Travelling is expensive.
You don’t have to be a millionaire with access to unlimited resources. Of course, like everything else, travelling costs money but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. Whether it’s a trip around the world or a quick vacation, you can make it happen by saving smartly, applying for cheap or free flights, teaching English overseas, finding free places to stay by using platforms like Couchsurf, Hospitality Club, and more. Travelling can be cheap and fun when done right.
Myth #3: Travelling is not safe.
It’s more common to get into a car accident or get robbed in your own country as opposed to being in a foreign country. The truth is, no place is completely safe and that’s why law enforcement and personal checks and balances exist. You should adopt ways to travel safely by researching your destination, leaving your valuables behind, interacting cautiously, and planning efficiently. These practices will help you to feel safe and no matter your location.
Myth #4: Always travel in groups.
A solo trip, or a YouCation as I like to call it is something that everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime. There’s strength in numbers but there’s also distraction in numbers. It’s completely safe to travel alone—if you choose a safe destination. A YouCation is a perfect time to learn true independence, reflect on your life, leave your chaotic world behind, choose adventures that fit into your interests, and experience the world for yourself.
Myth #5: Stay away from the locals.
The locals are the right people to seek directions and ask questions while travelling but like everything else, you should be very cautious when interacting with strangers. Always trust your instincts.