I am a girl gone international because… even simple tasks become an adventure. – Girl
I am sure many of you will have experienced this at least once, haven’t you? When you travel, things that seem normal and are part of a daily routine suddenly become bothersome and you wonder if these tasks are even worth the trouble or the risk.
Charging Electronic Devices
When I think of “simple tasks”, the first thing that comes into mind is to charge my electronic devices. This is a daily task, isn’t it? I usually have to charge my phone twice a day by now. Then there’s my laptop, my iPad and my Kobo e-reader. Finding enough power outlets at home can be a struggle! Let’s just say I am not the only gadget freak in the family. Can you imagine the trouble I have when I travel (or especially when I travel with my family)? Not only am I constantly searching for outlets, sometimes I even have to remind myself to bring an adapter (and may or may not forget to bring one) or I just didn’t take it with me when going out and about.
How come my battery dies so fast during the day? Well, because I use it for everything. My phone is like my pocketknife so to speak. It is simultaneously my alarm clock, calculator, music player, video and photo camera, GPS and connection with the world. Being used constantly, I’d get tired too.
Figure out Currencies
Before I had a smartphone, though, I had to calculate the difference between currencies without apps like ex currency. Besides that, trying to locate and determine the right coins when you’re at the cash register while there’s a really long line behind you can be stressful sometimes! I try to “practice” as much as possible at work (I work as a student in the international airport of Brussels).
Water, Food, Brands, Wi-Fi
There are so many other things that are straightforward and don’t need a special thought when you do them at home, but that become a worry when you’re abroad. For example, you have to check whether the water from the tap is drinkable or at least healthy enough to use after you’ve brushed your teeth. And also, what foods are edible (and by edible I mean spicy-but-not-Asian-standards-spicy, no dog meat and not poisonous)? What if I can’t find my regular brand of soda – do I keep on looking for it or do I try to find a reasonable equivalent? And honestly, who doesn’t still have trouble finding Wi-Fi in some places?
As I am going to Morocco in a few weeks, I have been wondering – besides whether there will be enough Wi-Fi to suit my need for connectedness – what the dress code is. Usually, when I travel, I don’t really worry about ‘dress codes’. The only thing I take into account is that I’m comfortable and not too hot or too cold during the day. But then I wondered, can I wear shorts and skirts in a Muslim country or is it considered inappropriate there? I have never had to worry about this before and am browsing the Internet for answers…
As for the languages spoken in foreign countries, people find the simple task of saying their name – and potentially spelling it out – to become one of the hardest, most annoying things ever. My first name is quite universally known, I think – even though at a Starbucks in London they spelled it Clouddear instead of Claudia – but it is my last name which seems to be a difficult one. Nobody gets it right the first time. I have seen and heard the funniest versions!
Even though some of these things are a bore and even though you get used to some of the recurring ones, the difficulties you face on the road – however big or small – are part of the experience. Knowing how to deal with them without making it “a cure against the travel bug” is what makes you ‘a traveler’. You can’t let one little speck on a otherwise clean slate spoil your trip. It is an adventure and you’ll be wiser afterward.
Have you ever experienced any of these things before? Have some simple tasks seemed more difficult to you on the road?