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Why Travelling is Brilliant

by Matt Thomas

There are numerous reasons why travelling is brilliant. The people, sights, smells and sounds of a cacophony of different cultures being the main selling points. However, there are lots of smaller bonuses that we often perhaps, do not acknowledge. Similarly, there are no doubt plenty of groans and gripes that are common to most travellers. Here we will look at the whole spectrum.

Firstly, you get to have a leaving party. I have heard of cases of people having a leaving do, just to go away for a month’s work in Ireland, this is perhaps a little unnecessary so I would suggest a 3 month minimum trip is required to warrant such a gathering, where you can proudly brag about where you are going and everyone else tries to make their 9-5s and 10 days in Tenerife sound remotely exciting. Kudos to you.

Airports. Airports divide opinion. I for one, have noticed a significant change in endless queuing for an unimpressive 90 minute flight to Malaga with the parentals to the somewhat more efficient consumer friendly airports of today. Admittedly this is a massive generalization, however the era of self service and online check in certainly facilitates a more pleasant airport experience. So you have more time to look at whiskeys and wines that you are clearly not going to buy on a £35 a day budget, stock up on bottled water that you don’t need, and have just enough beers so that you need to get up long before the pilot switches off the seatbelt sign.

Talking to taxi drivers. As we all know, and as they certainly seem to think, much like pub landlords, taxi drivers know everything. Joking aside, you can learn more about a country in twenty minutes of sensible conversation than from any guidebook or museum, if you ask the right questions. You may well encounter mild racism and exaggerated tales of sexual conquest but taxi drivers are a fountain of knowledge that should be tapped.

Spending days with randoms. You know the drill, get talking to someone in the TV room or hostel bar over the ABC of where you’ve been, where you’re going, what did you think of Sydney? etc etc.. And you’ve got a friend for the next day’s outing, which can be helpful towards transport costs but most importantly, especially if travelling alone, gives you a different perspective on things. Moreover you have someone to tell how brilliant your day was to, rather than just sharing it with your loyal and very understanding journal.

Getting a bit snobby about your sightseeing. Once you’ve seen the Grand Canyon not that much else impresses you. It can get to the point where Ayres Rock was “alright” and day at the Taj Mahal could be described as, “better than a day in the office I suppose.” This is a great feeling and should be cherished and appreciated, when indeed, you are in the office, and having an “alright” day.

Of the things that aren’t too great – haggling. Haggling is an art, depending on the country you are in, the unsuspecting and trusting traveller with six months of savings in the bank, cab be robbed blind. One can be quoted from double  ( Morocco, Israel, most places in Southeast Asia) to five times (India) what a local would be charged. You find yourself haggling over 20p just for the sake or principal of it, and actually getting a bit angry about it.

Never getting a good night’s sleep. You’re in a dorm room with various people who clearly haven’t (delete as appropriate) washed/shaved/bathed/learnt to sleep on their side/pack quietly/pack without turning the main light on, and the couple above you probably should have paid the extra £5 for a private room that you would now gladly give them, but it’s £8 a night for a reason I am afraid.

Coming home. This is a tough one, going from dodging cows in Delhi to being picked up by your Dad on a drizzly, cold November afternoon 14 hours later, is a harrowing experience that is very difficult to prepare for. The only thing that carries you through is seeing your friends again, then when you’ve seen them all two weeks later and realised literally nothing has changed, you realise it’s time to start saving again. Good Times!