I’ve been out of my own country seven times now. I have ten countries under my belt so far. In my circle of friends at home, I’m considered the expert world traveler. But in the cultish world of wanderlust travelers, I'm a novice. I still have so very much to learn. I’m not the confident, surge-forward sort of trekker.
Add to that the fact that I’m naturally a reserved person. Even at home, I feel vulnerable when I come out of my shell. Traveling to another country can make the most engaging person feel out of their element, so these trips are real efforts for me.
This is why I really hate it when know-it-all travelers harshly judge those of us that don’t completely, totally and utterly immerse themselves in a new culture right away. They’ve developed these unfair stereotypes, looking down at everyone from up there on their high horses.
Listen…I understand a hotel with a hair dryer, a coach bus or a tour guide might remove me from the heartbeat of a local environment. I more than agree that different cultures have a lot of life-altering perspective to offer if we’ll take part. And I’ve also been disgusted at many Ugly American types that I want nothing to do with.
But there are those of us somewhere in between; those of us that want to experience these things but need to feel assured every once and a while during this new endeavour. We don't have loads of experience to lean on in vulnerable situations. We need certain familiarities as we are transitioning. This is, after all, a vacation. We've saved money for a long time to get here and we're hoping to enjoy the ride.
Just give us some time; we’ll get there. We want to step beyond that glass wall, taste that food, try to communicate in that new language; that’s why we spent the money and bought the ticket. Just let us go at our own speed. Besides, every single one of us had to start somewhere.
So back off.
I'm a 37-year old Seattle girl who was bitten by the travel bug on my first tour of Europe in 2004. This personal blog follows my attempts to visit as many countries as I can, as often as my budget will allow. Since starting this blog in 2007, I've also worked as a freelance copywriter for an online travel publication. This only served to add even more must-see locations to my already extended list.