Traveling is amazing in many ways. But we tend to only see the good sides of traveling – seeing beautiful places, eating delicious food, adventuring in the wild, relaxing on clean beaches, etc. Although traveling is a very positive experience, there are also a lot of travel challenges that arise – but many people don’t talk about them.
This month, I am participating in The Travel Linkup, which was created by a few wonderful travel bloggers (read more about this at the end). The theme for this month is “Travel Challenges” and I felt it was a great theme to participate in.
Here are just some of the challenges I have faced while traveling and I’m sure I’m not alone – let me know you’re out there if you feel the same.
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Speaking a foreign language
When traveling to countries that speak a different language, it’s always great to at least learn the basics of that language. Knowing the basics helps you get more respect as a tourist, and makes you feel better because you can understand a bit.
Although not speaking a language can be a challenge, it’s also a fun and rewarding experience. People are human no matter what language they speak, and sometimes body language comes in handy. Scratch that. A LOT of the time.
Although every culture has their own meanings for gestures, the basic facial expressions are the same. So tune into your human instincts and use it.
It can also be fun – like playing charades. Don’t get me wrong – it can be super frustrating at times, but try to look at the positives. And use it to increase your knowledge.
You can also learn so much about a language based on how people speak to you in your language. You can learn about grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, and style of speaking. There’s so much to learn about a place when you can’t communicate easily!
Taking pictures in public
As a travel blogger, I really should take more pictures. That’s something I need to work on as a whole – because my blog pictures and Instagram game are not the greatest.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle to take pictures in public.
I love taking pictures in the very early morning because there’s usually better lighting, places are less crowded, and it makes posing and getting 100 pictures A LOT easier.
The issue though, is that I can’t always take pictures of myself or of things when no one is around.
I am SUPER shy about taking photos when people are looking. I don’t know what pose to make or what to do with my hands (I mean I’m not trying to be a model or anything).
I also don’t like taking too long to take pictures when people are around. When people are watching or waiting for their turn, I like taking a quick 5-second photo shoot, and usually move around too much…resulting in pictures like this:
Anyway, first-world problems no?
Living abroad can be freaking painful (BUT AMAZING).
I lived in Spain two different times in my life – in 2014 and from 2016-2018 – both times in different cities. Spain has literally been the death of me in terms of bureaucracy and visas (I’m talking worse than the DMV).
Related Post: Applying for a Spanish Student Visa Extension
Getting the correct information, asking for help and clarification, and making sure you are even turning in the right documents, is such a challenge there. I have no idea why it has to be so difficult – but that hasn’t (and won’t) stop me from living in Spain.
My visa process for Australia was SO much easier, and I am oh so happy about that. This just goes to show that each country is different.
Related Post: Applying for your Working Holiday Visa in Australia
On top of the visa processes, you also have to make sure you’re following the right steps in…
Setting up your life
You have to find a place to live, set up a bank account, get a phone number, a tax number, social security number, etc. There are many processes to go through to make sure you’re not breaking any laws – which takes lots of time researching. But once you have them all done, you feel a weight off your shoulders.
And of course, once you’ve settled in, another challenge is immersing yourself in the new country. Making friends, getting a job, or figuring our your studies, etc. You basically have to start from scratch – something we take for granted when you live in one place.
Maybe I can write another post about the challenges of moving abroad.
And then, of course, the hardest of the travel challenges (for me at least) is…
Once you’ve settled into a place and call it “home” there comes a time when you have to say goodbye.
Either you’re leaving, or the friends you have made are leaving, or both!
Saying goodbye to friends is difficult
Especially when they’ve become part of your life, your world, your heart. As someone who travels a lot, this has become my life. Leaving behind so many precious souls.
The good news is knowing you will always have a home and a friend wherever they are. But sometimes it’s difficult to see each other – due to time, distance, and money. But when you do get to see each other again, it can feel as if you two never separated.
Now, if you’re leaving home to go travel or live somewhere else, you have to…
Say goodbye to your family
This can be more difficult for some than others, but I recently had this experience – which is why I decided to share it.
Both times I moved to Spain, I didn’t cry leaving my family at all. In fact, I cried when I had to come back to the States! However, this time, (moving to Australia) was different.
I went home for a month and a half between Spain and Australia, and I connected with my mom and brothers on a whole other level. Leaving them was painful.
It’s difficult, but once you leave, it can get better – unless you get homesick. Which is an umbrella of even more travel challenges.
Saying goodbye to the place itself
When you have many memories in a certain place, it can be hard to let go.
Even if you’re just visiting on a short trip, a place can start feeling like home.
By the time you get used to a place, you have to leave. It’s crazy how time flies and how we can connect to places quickly.
What are your travel challenges or fears?
Write them in the comments below or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you – and maybe I could address your point in another post!
This post is part of a monthly travel link-up by Adventures of a London Kiwi, SilverSpoon London, Follow Your Sunshine and guest host Binny’s Food and Travel Diaries. The topic is travel challenges. What challenges you may have foreseen, faced or overcome. The Travel Link Up is open to all bloggers. Why not join us next month?