Everyone has faults. We all have weaknesses. However, there is a certain level of vulnerability involved with admitting weaknesses to other people.
Last week, I took the time to put myself out there and share my travel confessions. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I was afraid that being too honest about my travel weaknesses and mistakes would turn people off. It may even cause people to question why in the world someone like me is writing about travel in the first place.
To my surprise, many people could relate to many of my weaknesses. However, not everyone shared all of my weaknesses so obviously I have issues when I travel. Just ask my wife.
However, there were a couple of negative comments that I wanted to address. The point of my travel confessions was not to say that life is bad or to be too negative about the little things that happen. I just wanted people to understand I’m not the perfect traveler.
So after baring my travel soul, showing people my vulnerable side, and confessing those things I sometimes don’t like about myself when I travel, I’ve decided to be throw caution to the wind…and share even more confessions.
Maybe you will find more things that you agree with me about travel or maybe you may really question why is THIS guy writing about travel?! So why am I doing this? I am peeling back the layers to show that we can’t all be stereotyped when we travel (although I like to do that when I travel – confession #3). As for the other reason? Well you’ll just have to wait until I bear my soul a little more first.
So with that said, here it goes…
Travel confessions – Part II
1. Sometimes I don’t like budget travel
Yep. Take a moment to let that one sink in. The guy who does travel tips, spends hours researching deals and planning my own trips to save a few bucks, and who wakes at 5:30 am every Tuesday (that’s a BIG DEAL – see #4) just to write my travel deals of the week doesn’t always like budget travel.
Don’t get me wrong – I still do the research, love the details, and will spend hours researching flights, hotels, and other things to find a good deal when I travel. However, I do like to splurge. I’ve spent over $100 on things like soccer/football jerseys, tickets to sporting events, and even a pair of jeans in Italy. Yet I won’t spend 100 euros for a gondola ride, may be too cheap to buy a souvenir, and will skip a great attraction because it costs $5 too much. Yet I’ll still spend hours of research to save $10 on a flight or $20 on food. Yep, I’m complicated like that.
2. My wife is more frugal than me
Without a doubt, this is true – both at home and on the road. At home, she may go an entire month without eating out once for a meal. She loves coupons. My wife has gone shopping and saved so much that the store actually ended up paying her to shop. She’s saved us over $1000 in the last year alone grocery shopping. And every week, we get free things in the mail because she researches deals.
This also works for travel too – I can be a bit more up and down in my budget travel pursuits (see #1). Truth be told, my wife planned most of the trip to Spain and Portugal and saved us a lot of money – quite possibly even more than I could have saved us. Quite honestly, she might be better at saving money than me – at home and when we travel. I just enjoy the details and research side of this stuff a little more than her when traveling while she applies her skills at home.
3. I stereotype people when I travel
I stereotype and even judge people when I travel. I label someone as soon as I see them or meet them. “Oh they like to party and go to clubs”, “They are the obnoxious loud Americans”, “typical tourist with sneakers, fanny pack, and camera around their neck – they don’t care about the culture”, and even the tourist from different countries have stereotypes as well.
Given my confessions, I should realize travelers are complicated and don’t just fit stereotypes. After I meet people and talk to them, often my impression of them changes. I don’t ever let anyone know that I may have a certain impression of them nor do I let my behavior towards them be influenced by my stereotypes. However, it happens, I do it, and I admit that it isn’t right that I do so.
4. I am not an early morning traveler
Ever since I was a kid, I haven’t like mornings. I waited until the last possible moment to get up to start my day. In Estonia, I skipped breakfast every single morning and got up in just enough time to meet my group downstairs as they were walking out the door. I’m probably never going to see a sunrise unless I happened to stay up all night and saw it rise before I actually went to bed (there’s a much better likelihood of that).
Even at home, I rarely eat breakfast. I don’t have time for that because I need to sleep in as much as possible. When I travel with my wife, I annoy her because I don’t want to get up for breakfast because I want to sleep. Many mornings she went and ate without me as I slept. I just don’t do early mornings – either at home or when I travel.
5. I enjoy the comforts of home when I travel
Don’t we all right? Well sometimes this comes at the expense of budget travel. When I travel, I drink the same things – water, wine, or soft drinks. Many times, soft drinks are more expensive than wine. I don’t care – I want my caffeine (I don’t drink coffee – see # 7). And I will pay for it.
I also hate McDonald’s. However, this is why you should eat at McDonald’s when traveling.
I also love the internet. I am a travel blogger right? Of course I loved the internet long before I wrote about travel. When I traveled a few years ago, I had to always get on and check email, sports scores, and have even listened to live sporting events online (like South Carolina Gamecocks football games while in Portugal). Some things I just have to have even when I travel.
6. I really like guidebooks
Secretly, I am a nerd. I love details, numbers (my degree is in accounting), history, research, and analysis. When it comes to sports, I am a stats analysis guru and debater. When researching trips, I will spend hours doing it – just because it is fun (even if I don’t save a lot of money). And when it comes to the actual travel, I love guide books.
My wife thinks I can be a bit of a fanatic. I follow the tips, walks, and have to read every single piece of information about every piece of art in my guidebook as I go through the museum. It can take me three times as long to go through museums as other people because I have to read everything in my book about it. Even when I am not traveling, I read guidebooks for fun and will spend months reading a guidebook from cover to cover before I even travel. Sure, I like to get off the beaten path and get away from the crowds. However, I’d feel naked on a trip without a guidebook.
7. I don’t care about food when I travel
I know for some people, food is a big part of their travels. For me, I could care less. This doesn’t mean that I am not going to try new foods or don’t want to share in local delicacies. It’s just not a big deal to me. I am not going to plan a trip around food.
Honestly, I would prefer a quick meal or just grabbing a few items from a local market or grocery store. I don’t even drink coffee (I’ve had a total of two cups my entire life) so even that or wine tasting doesn’t excite me. I guess my easy meals for budget travel guide would be a good indicator of how I eat sometimes. Even at home, I go eat at the same places over and over and over again (my wife gets tired of this) so honestly food doesn’t matter. It’s one reason why a cooking school is one of the vacations I will never take. Food just doesn’t matter that much to me when I travel.
8. I am very boring at home and more adventurous on the road
Sure, everyone who travels says this. I’ve done the nude beach in Portugal and got locked out of my hotel and slept on a girl’s couch that I met on the street in Florance because I was out too late at a club. Of course, we all like to break out of our routine and try new things when we travel. That’s not the confession.
The confession is more the first part – I am boring. I like routine at home and even when I travel. I wake up at the same time, eat the same things, have the same schedule, and have quirky routines each and every day. Unless I am traveling, I am really boring. Maybe that is a surprise to some people but to break some of my routines or do something different than the way I have done for years is a bit uncomfortable. Maybe it makes my adventurous side when I travel that much more surprising.
9. I don’t like beaches
If I haven’t offended or shocked anyone by now, this should do it! You see, I grew up near the beach when I was in high school in a very popular tourist area – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I went to the beach every year on vacation with my parents. And I just don’t care that much about beaches.
Part of it has to do with the fact that I am fair-skinned and can burn easily. I need lots of sunscreen and it’s a pain to deal with. Then there is all the sand and the mess it creates. I don’t like being out in the sun non-stop and enjoy some shade. And I just don’t like all the crowds.
I do like the beach in Tahoe but I am surrounded by mountains on a lake with no waves. I’ve been to Hawaii but enjoyed hiking and other activities more than the beach itself. I don’t think I’ve ever planned a vacation just for a beach. It’s why I’ve never been to the beach resorts in Mexico or any of the popular beaches in Florida or the Caribbean.
Give me the peace and quiet of the mountains and a little shade here and there. And any place where I don’t need a lot of sunscreen is good.
Defining who I am as a traveler
Maybe more travel confession is good. Maybe it’s cathartic. Maybe being a non-beach lover, budget travel hypocrite, guidebook nerd, late sleeper, and boring traveler with no taste for food makes me a bit more real or even a bit more…unique….after all these travel confessions.
However, this much I realize – at home and when I travel, I am a complicated person.