07 May Couples Therapy with My first true love . . . . Travel
This blog post is inspired by the podcast “All The Shit I’ve Learned Abroad: Travel Therapy episode 50. In this episode, the hosts, Steph and Andrea, had couples therapy with their first true love . . . . travel.
I revealed yesterday that travel is my therapy, and I’ve been finding other ways to cope while my true love and I go through a rough patch. I thought it would be fun to answer some of the questions from the show.
What about travel you had to learn to love that didn’t come instantly?
The first time I noticed someone sneaking to take a picture of me, I had dismissed it as a joke. Why would anyone take a picture of me? I’m not famous. I was at the Louvre in Paris, and I was sitting in the lobby. A woman who also looked like a tourist sat next to me. We looked at each other, and I nodded, and she nodded, and as quickly as she sat down, she left. I watched her walk away and join a man on the other side of the room, holding a camera.
When I told my friend about it who had traveled to more countries than me what had happened, she said to me that they might have taken a picture of me. I asked her why they would do that. She said that some people are not used to seeing a black person. Growing up in the US, I never expected that to happen to me.
The more foreign countries I visited, it became more apparent that people were taking pictures of me because I was black.
When I went to India, I started stopping and posing with people for pictures. Sometimes it bothers me. I wish they would ask. I imagine them taking the photos home and showing to their friends and family laughing at me.
What is the one thing you would change about traveling?
Although I have a US Passport that allows me to travel to almost any country in the world, I would make the rules the same in every country. Several countries offer visas on arrival. Some have an online option. It would be easier if the requirements were the same, and everyone would be charged one fee.
What is one thing you’ve done while traveling that you haven’t told anyone about?
I probably have shared with the online community more than I should. I can’t think of anything that I have done that no one knows happened. The only thing that comes to mind is I cried a couple of times while I was standing alone in Instanbul. I know it probably made me look vulnerable, but everything had gone wrong.
The last time I had cried, I was dropped off at a building by a bus driver who didn’t speak English. The travel agent I used had talked to him in Turkish and told him where to take me, but no one told me. So when I arrived at an office, and it was closed, I stood there and cried. I didn’t know how to get back to my hostel. I felt defeated and was ready to go home. Luckily, the agent came, and I continued with my trip. My trip to Turkey is still one of my favorite experiences.
What do you miss most about traveling?
- I miss going to the airport and the excitement I feel when the plane takes off.
- I miss landing in a new city.
- I miss eating new foods.
- I miss seeing buildings that I had only see in magazines and online.
Does your travel partner hold grudges or forgives easily?
I travel alone most of the time, so I am my travel partner. I’m going to say I don’t hold grudges, and I forgive easily. I wouldn’t want to ruin my vacation.
What is a travel word or phrase you can’t stand?
I hate when people say they didn’t visit the touristy are. That they took the “off the beaten path.” I know some places are so crowded that you almost can’t enjoy it. When I went to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, I couldn’t believe how crowded it was. If we hadn’t prepared for tickets and hired a guide, it would have taken us at least three hours to see the infamous paintings.
How do you handle when your family or friends don’t agree with the travel decisions you made?
For a long time, I didn’t tell anyone but my mother what country I was going to be in until the week I was going. I had to tell her because she was staying with the girls and the dog while I was gone. Even if she didn’t agree, she pretended to be ok with it because she knew I was going to go anyway.
Only one time that I can remember a friend asked me not to go to a country. I may have been in Thailand one time when a temple was bombed. I had a few misses of natural disasters and riots. If anything,g I seem like a jinx. But that is part of the adventure.
One thing people don’t realize is that by the time I tell them I am going on a trip, I already made the majority of the arrangements and paid for at least 80% cost. Most of the fees are nonrefundable, and travel insurance doesn’t cover being scared to go.
I would be lying if I said that I never get scared or nervous while traveling to a foreign country. I know that my family and friends want me to be safe. Before I leave US soil, I do a lot of research on a destination. I always make sure that I leave a copy of my itinerary with someone. Most recently I have started registering my trip with the US Embassy.
What is a silly travel habit you have that people don’t know about?
I don’t usually wear t-shirts outside of the house in my personal life. But when I fly, I almost always wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt. Along with prayers, I feel like I am guaranteed to have a safe flight if I have on a Wonder Woman shirt. So far, so good and why tempt fate. 😊
How has travel changed you?
Travel has changed me in many ways. I have become more patient with myself and others. After spending hours waiting in lines at security you to get to the gate to get on the plane. Travel has pushed me to do things outside of my comfort zone. I use to be very shy when I was younger. I can talk to strangers easily almost everywhere I go.
Leave a comment and let me know your answer to any of the questions.
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