To travel or not to travel?

Should i travel

The dream of an adventure to faraway lands seems to be out of reach for many South Africans. Due to the constantly changing exchange rates and the falling value of the Rand, travelling overseas seems to be an unaffordable luxury.

Unfortunately, instances of terrorism and international tragedies at restaurants, dance clubs and airports have frightened many people off from travelling overseas. Natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, and cyclones have taken the lives of many travellers and have made foreign destinations less attractive to some explorers.

Television, Youtube and reality programmes often scare would-be adventurers into rather staying at home. Airplanes being shot from the sky or going inexplicably missing like flight MH 370 are not for the faint-hearted or appealing to those who face a long-distance flight.

There are also the practical realities of traveling to foreign destinations that put people off . Language barriers, getting lost, being ripped off or becoming a victim of crime, spending more money than you intended to or getting an unfamiliar disease, or the chance of being caught for some offense and being jailed in a distant land. The list of things that could go wrong is as long as you would make it to be.

But for all the fears, and all the things that could go wrong, there is a way around it. Some of the problems have been taken care of, such as the fact that planes going over war-zones are high enough that no missile can shoot them down. Other problems are common knowledge and easy to take care of, for example, avoiding countries which are known for being at war or for being dangerous for tourists, such as North Korea or the Southern Philippines. Unpredictable as the weather may be, one can plan one’s holiday out of monsoon and bad-weather times when traveling. Being aware and taking precautions, like we do with would-be crimes and criminals here at home, is always the first tip in tourist guides.

For all the cons associated with overseas traveling, there are far more pros and advantages than to what could be negatives.

Firstly, there are the memories, once in a lifetime sights and sounds that one could only have if experienced first-hand. Your travel companions, the time of year, the destinations, the food you ate, the things you did and the sights you saw – each of these aspects make your trip unique and personal. People travel to the same country, and all come back with different highlights and different memories.

Those who have travelled abroad will agree with me that there is something super exciting about going overseas. The air smells and even tastes different, it is as if every sense in your body awakens. There is a sensory overload, an adrenaline rush and a subliminal high that lasts the entire duration of the trip. Every time you think back on your adventure, the images, sights, and sounds come back as clearly as if it were yesterday. Somehow, your senses go into overdrive when travelling, and every little aspect of your experience leaves an indelible impression.  

One can watch travelling shows and in-depth documentaries about places and destinations that one might never be able to visit or see personally. These programmes are to be grateful for. But there are few things which can beat the feeling of experiencing another country for yourself, except that feeling of coming home.

Despite the risks associated with travel, my advise to you would be to always take the opportunity to travel when the chance presents itself. Your wallet may be empty, but you are a million times richer.