We all know that person. You know – the one who claims to love travel but really has ulterior motives. Here are all of those awful reasons all in one place.
(And don't worry, if one of these reasons is your reason – your secret's safe with me.) And while I don't travel for these reasons – I've certainly enjoyed a few of these myself. 😉
12 Awful Reasons to Travel Abroad
Okay, let's get started. Here are 12 terrible reasons to travel abroad:
If you find that you are unable to find love in your own country, you just might find it in another.
In a foreign country you'll be different, mysterious and interesting. And you light-complected love-seekers might even turn some heads in Latin America.
And if you are already in love, chances are you’ll fall deeper in love because you’ll have no one else to talk to. Everyone else around you will be talking some kind of foreign language or another. You’ll be unbelievably grateful just to have someone else to talk to.
Do you sit around while everyone else is talking because you don’t have anything interesting to say?
If you travel, those days will be over. You’ll be able to entertain for hours with all your travel stories and pictures. Keep a good journal.
3. Complaint Generation
Complainers never had it so easy until they started to travel! If you like to complain, you’ll have all kinds of new material your friends from home just can’t come up with.
Like how no one speaks English, and how they get all annoyed at you when you can’t speak Spanish, and how long it took you to find your favorite brand of shampoo, and let’s not forget the outrageous price of peanut butter.
I could go on forever, but I’ll let you…
4. Useless Information Vacation
Do you sometimes feel that the part of your brain that’s supposed to hold useless information is broken? Maybe you can’t hold all kinds of useless data in your head, like the current population of your mother’s hometown, or what make of car your best friend drives, or the price of gas in your home town compared to the price of gas two towns away.
When you travel the pressure of providing useless information disappears. No one expects you to remember any of that stuff, because they assume you can’t speak the language, and even if you can speak a little, you can still fake a “no entiendo”. And all that’s left is to hope you don’t run into any other gringos.
5. Ultimate Excuse
Maybe you’ve been working on a huge project at the office, and you just couldn’t meet the deadline.
Or there is a family reunion you’d rather die than attend.
If you travel, you’ve got the perfect excuse. It’s hard to beat the “I’m out of the country” excuse. It’s “the dog ate my homework” for adults.
6. Tightwad Lime Light
Like to brag about how much money you save? South America is tightwad heaven.
Food, rent, transportation, gas, jewelery and almost everything else is so unbelievable cheap. You’ll have an unending supply of ammo to keep your friends on their toes, hopping up and down wishing they were you for years to come.
7. Legit Reasons for Hygienic Laziness
Ever like to just let things go a little? Don’t feel like washing your hair or brushing your teeth? Ever just want to let that big pan full of dirty dishes sit for the night or that load of dirty laundry ripen in the hamper a little longer?
Well in a foreign country you can achieve these dreams without guilt. The convenient power and water cuts make these goals attainable, sometimes more often than you ever dreamed possible.
8. Satisfying Your Inner Hypochondriac
Do you like to talk about your health problems? You’ll never be at a loss if you travel. You’ll be exposed to a whole new plethora of germs. And if what you think you have doesn’t pan out, you can always chalk it up to the stress of traveling.
9. The Ultimate Hermit Experience
Maybe you’re the type that likes to hide out in the woods in a log cabin because you don’t like people all that much.
Traveling abroad just might be what you’ve been looking for.
When you’re traveling in a foreign country you can be surrounded by people and yet still feel blissfully alone. No one tries to talk to you, and you don’t feel like you have to interact because there’s this huge barrier: language. Granted, this hermit experience only lasts as long as you can withstand the ever-present immersion taking place.
So in order to revel in this particular reason for travel, you can only stay in the same foreign language for approximately two months at a time.
10. Messy Beds
When you’re traveling you can go guilt-free without making your bed! You just get up, head out for the day, and when you come back it’s made!
Don’t ask me how it happens, but you just don’t know the joys of this phenomenon until you give it a try. The absence of this daily chore really adds to your traveling experience, it kind of transports you back to your childhood when mommy made the bed and you didn’t have to worry about stuff like that. You just might find that not making your bed will lead to other childlike ventures you haven’t experienced for a long time.
11. Reality T.V. Trumping
While you’re traveling, at times you get the exhilaration that comes from watching reality shows, like Fear Factor and The Amazing Race, except there are no T.V. guys there to jump in and save you.
- Fear Factor: You might have to endure sitting next to the clogged bathroom for hours on the bus in the blistering heat, while the bus gets swarmed with food vendors at every traffic stop. The food smells get mixed with the bathroom smells, everyone around you is eating, and you’re trying desperately to hold down your breakfast.
- Amazing Race: You could stand at the ticket counter for fifteen minutes waving your pre-purchased ticket in front of the flight attendant as she tells you over and over that there’s no more space on the plane, and if she lets you on it’ll fall right out of the sky (hand gestures and sound effects included). You finally convince her, and as you run through security, pick up the tail end of boarding passengers, seat yourself and take a deep breath, you notice three empty seats in the rows ahead of you. You smile to yourself and tell those reality T.V. guys to eat their hearts out.
12. Weight Loss
This is one of the most popular benefits of travel. Unlike most weight loss programs where you have to watch what you eat and deprive yourself of all that sweet yummy stuff, when you travel to a foreign country it’s just the opposite.
The more you don’t watch what you eat, the more weight you’ll lose.
Just be sure to eat plenty of unwashed fruits and vegetables And better yet, make sure to avoid the parasite killing solutions readily available at grocery stores. By doing this right from the beginning of your travels, you’ll find that you will soon be able to eat whatever you want, whenever you want while the pounds just melt off.
Just be sure to schedule in plenty of bathroom time, trust me, you’ll be needing it. Bathroom time is the secret to this program, and “bonus” you’ll have no problem conquering your vacation reading list.
And there you have it: 12 awful reasons to travel abroad.
Thinking of becoming an expat? Check out this post: Top 10 reasons to live abroad
Don't Take Your First World Problems Abroad
Some expats are doomed to failure.
They get off the plane complaining about something. The moment they check-in at their hotel they hit Facebook to complain about the taxi service, small portions, or the unbelievable rainy weather. And they send nasty emails to anyone who sees the glass half-full.
But… This Isn't Like Home!
A while back, I received a flaming from a traveler who just completed a two week trip to Ecuador. It seems that they had a rather bad experience while here in Ecuador.
He was angry that everyone online lied to him about what to expect. Here's what he said:
“I spent 8 months researching Ecuador before we made our trip, and I can not remember a single blog site that I can say told me the truth as to what we would find once there, including yours.”
I find it hard to believe that someone could research any topic for eight months and still not understand it. It seems that the rose-colored glasses filtered out what he didn't want to see. And when he arrived he was shocked.
In his email, he complained about the people (unfriendly), the president (dislikes gringos), dogs (too many), safety (doesn't exist), and other expats (all liars).
Over the past six years, we have seen the Ecuadorian people to be a most friendly and welcoming culture. I don't follow politics very much, but the president seems to favor foreigners – encouraging incoming expats with favorable visa requirements.
Acceptable levels of dogs and safety are highly subjective – and dependent on what part of each area you are considering and what you are comparing them against.
In my experience, most expats arrive with both reasonable expectations and a willingness to adapt to how things are done in their new country. But some expats seem bent on the negative. And some of them favor lashing out against anyone in their path.
In my opinion, if you're unhappy at home – you'll be unhappy abroad regardless of where you move. If you are high maintenance, you just might find life abroad to be challenging. Of course, there is nothing wrong with liking things a certain way.
But when you move to another country, you will likely lose that control. We have gotten used to random power and water cuts. Sometimes the carrots are damaged and the apples are soft (or just unavailable). We have low-thread-count sheets and no hot water in the kitchen. But life goes on.
When I first saw the following video, I thought about the complaining expats who have trouble with an inconvenience. This video is for you.
First World Problems (Weird Al)
Note: While our friend Al makes some good points – his voice can be a little grating in this video. Now you know.
This post from a few years ago detailed some reasons why some expats decide against living in Ecuador. Of course, all expats experience some bad days.
What Do You Think?
Have you seen this in other expats? Or in yourself? How do you handle adaptation? Please join the conversation below.
I would love you hear your worst reasons to travel abroad. Please add to this list by commenting.