Preparing for an out-of-state trip has my insides fluttering in excitement…and fear. A large percentage of the fear originates from the doubt of my survival in unknown territory (I’ve seen Taken folks.), but I happen to be wearing my big boy pants. Before I begin my conceded self-proclamation of awesomeness, I’ve decided that I should prepare myself for the experience that lies ahead, including what I say, wear, and act around an alien culture.
So for those who are ready to travel around the world, I implore you to study this handy guide that will not only help preserve your mortality, but make the trip the most memorable to remember.
- The first and last experience of your trip will be the airport engagement. Baggage check and ticket verification will be the more important events that will take place, among those will also be the threat detection and prevention. We have all been through this, a person clad in authoritative uniform waves a magic stick around your body and you have no choice to follow through and remove each and every metal object. (Keep in mind, some airports revert to extreme measures and may require you to remove zippers, buttons, and pins which may not come off of said clothing. You get the rest.)
Another thing is the baggage check where you have the chance to leave behind certain items one could have a hard time living without. (Hairdryer, straightening iron, hair spray …don’t shake your head…) Officers may come across as hostile upon discovering these items at first, but don’t fret; don’t speak of any bomb or say “It’s not like im a genocidal terrorist here!”, that may just ruin your vacation before you can even set foot on the plane.
- Next in the schedule is the plane ride. After watching multiple movies spectating in-air disasters, it might become uncomfortable after a short while, regardless of the previous times you’ve sat in a jumbo jet because somewhere in the depths of your brain, a voice will be chanting “You’re going to die, you’re going to die…“. The moment is crucial for the duration of the ride that you retain composure and not panic, even if a gentleman with a full beard wearing a turban across the row is looking at the cabin more attentively than usual. Do not jump to conclusions and yell the “T”-word when in reality he was only waiting to expel the contents of his bladder.
- Third in line is the hotel/motel/straw hut check-in. In foreign countries where English is as unspoken as Patwin, it may be harder to get directions to the temporary place of residency that seemed to disappear off the face of your map. To encounter a local and attempt to ask where you are forces you to mimic their language, in which you may be seen as a complete idiot or retard (or whatever insult best describes the situation). For prevention always take time to learn the basics of the language where you will be traveling in, even if it means investing in Rosetta Stone…or the strange neighbor you’ve neglected to interact with.
Also, be extremely cautious when telling others where you’re going, they could very well be pirates or disgruntled employees who are desperate for your out-of-country riches.
- Sightseeing can be fun. Sightseeing can be dangerous. Who would want to face the latter? Not me, therefore when trekking to see the rare sites make sure they are legally accessible. Spending the night at a Écouter is not the most scrapbook worthy moment, so don’t try to break into sites with chains, barbwire, electrically charged fences, trap doors, scorpions, or men in fuzzy black hats that are preventing further entry. Also don’t forget that some sites can also be owned privately. Theres nothing more embarrassing than being caught taking a photo of an ancient shrine that is actually someone’s front lawn ornament.
- Last, but certainly not least is the food. For the love of Heimdall and the rainbow bridge, DO NOT REJECT FOOD EXTERNALLY OR INTERNALLY IN A DISTASTEFUL MANNER. In multiple cultures the kitchen can be a sanctum and the meals prepared there are close to divine. Always remember that if you do not like something, display a cheerful smile, carefully turn to hide from direct eye contact, and dispel the substance from the mouth without a groan, choke, or gag then continue to thank the cook and bestow blessings upon their children.
These might just have changed not only your travels, but changed the history of tourism itself. Keep these in a handy little note tucked firmly between the fold of a wallet, or even tattooed on your arm for easy access; regardless of how you remember them, always take the fate of your trip with a grain of salt. Things will happen unexpectedly even with extreme preparation and planning.
Who knows, you might just see yourself in one of those airplane disaster movies…