This is not an article telling you what you can and can’t do—because you can do whatever you want to do. It’s merely some guidelines to help you understand a little about the worlds, and cultures you are stepping into, so when you arrive—you’re in a better position to fit in, embrace it all, enjoy the experience, and pretty much not be “a dick”.
With that being said, here are some pointers to take into consideration on your nomadic journey, especially when visiting “developing” countries, and I say developing in inverted commas because many of these countries can teach us so much about living in the West.
- Embrace the culture
When I started traveling ten years ago, I was one of those loud, outspoken, obnoxious drunks who’d wake up in a Bush and not know a single thing about the Country I was visiting. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this. When you immerse yourself in the culture and spend time with the locals, you get to experience something truly unique and special—and form great friendships in the process. At a minimum, understand their values and treat locals with respect, and I guarantee they will reciprocate your kindness with interest.
- You’re not a tourist
Sure, you want to see the sites, embrace the culture and have some fun, but it’s not quite the same when you come to work. You’re essentially a guest in somebody else’s country. It helps to remember that from time to time and treat the locals with the respect and kindness they deserve.
- You’re also not a local
There’s usually a price for foreigners and another price for locals. And so there should be. There is a massive disparity between what most locals earn and what you earn. That thing known as “white privilege” is very real. Many businesses refuse entry to locals for that very reason. Imagine going to a nightclub in your hometown and being refused admission because you’re from there and it’s unlikely you’ll spend as much as the tourists? By all means, complain about that, but don’t complain when you have to pay a little extra for something that’s far cheaper than you’re used to.
- You’re not that special
Don’t let that comment bruise the ego too much. What I’m getting at is the sense of entitlement so many carry with them when traveling to less well-off countries. I blame Mark Zuckerberg for this because most comes to fruition on Facebook community pages, with comments like…..” back in my country, this would never happen….” Bla blah blah, and people complaining about everything under the sun. It surprises me writing this, but it’s far more common than you might imagine. The irony of me complaining about it online isn’t lost on me either. Outside of exceptional circumstances, complaining will rarely get you anywhere, and paradoxically, it will make you more pissed off. If you want to know what I’m talking about, have a look at the Canggu or Ubud community pages on Facebook.
- Embrace the madness
You will absolutely see and experience things that are so foreign to you—your jaw will drop. That’s the beauty of this. It’s a trip. And when you embrace it all, it turns into an epic one!
If you see something you truly don’t like, look around for a social project for which you can volunteer your expertise or time, and do something about it. Michael Craig was purpose driven when setting up Dojo, and the catalyst for this was “social responsibility.” There are plenty of worthwhile projects going on here that would love your input, so if that’s something that interests you, look no further. What better way to meet like-minded individuals while doing something truly meaningful? That shit will give you endorphins!
Life is different. Cultures are different. Both the beauty and curse of travel is the more you do it, the more memories you collect, and the more you want to create this mystical dreamland that contains only the best sites and sounds of what you’ve experienced while negating the shit ones. It is an unbelievable privilege to be able to come into these countries and do what we do. One that could end any day. All you can do is ensure you’re enjoying yourself, and if you’re not, take action to do something about it or move on until you find what’s right for you.
Photo Credit: Instagram