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Is That DNA You’re Wearing?
When traveling through airports in different countries, you will notice the immediate change in cultural dynamics. Well…personal space is probably one of them! It simply does not exist in some cases. Rather you are patiently waiting to board a flight to a country full of luxurious, extravagant sites to see, or rather you are dashing through a self-amazed race competing with time on a quest to feed the hungry, you will surely notice that something as simple as space shall NOT be sacrificed! Hopping on a shuttle or train to transfer to a terminal/gate? I hope you brought your respirator. Waiting in line to board the plane? What line? Just pick a spot and fill it, even if it’s on the top of someone’s head. In America, more so northwestern countries, we are spoiled with space, structure, organization and time, to whereas countries on the opposite side of the globe are just that: opposite. If you are accustomed to being spoiled with an imaginary bubble, one thing you will learn to do when traveling on the other side is to brace yourself for that burst in your bubble.
2. Pack a Space Suit, We’re Going Swimming in Germs!
Not enough Lysol, or not enough sanitizer can save you from the coils of bacteria, as they exfoliate into the cells of your skin. Let’s just pray that you have an army of white blood cells that will claim victory against plenty of coughs, sneezes, or vomit that may just need a place to chill for a few days. Its seems like people actually wait to share this “special gift”, by waiting around for the best time to give coughs and sneezes that just so happens to be when everyone has boarded the plane, strapped down into his/her seat belt, and is at that final stage of sleep, as sleep creeps its way onto the aircraft. Stock up on some immunity boosters and wipes before your trip and thank me later.
3. Fast, fast!
Measure your flight time to your food intake. Make sure to release those bowels and rid your stomach of any snacks, coffees/teas, breakfast, lunches, or dinners that will send you running for the bathroom later on. Oh, and remember, there will most likely be two to four bathrooms that you will have to share with everyone else on the plane. Nine times out of ten, you won’t be able to make a clean getaway if you end up writing your name on the bathroom wall with last night’s dairy snacks. There will always be that witness that awaits you on the other side of that potty wall, that you will have to face after your damage has been done!
4. BOB! Bring-Your-Own-Bathroom!
Nothing is worse than literally having to break dance, pop-n-lock, and tap dance just to keep from watering your ankles. Nothing is worse than not being able to plan for what lies behind door number “Noooooooo!” Well, maybe because you just walked into the middle of a crime scene, a war zone, or just simply a bathroom. Those yoga classes may come in handy when having to hoover over holes, or practice sumo squats to spray yourself clean, while balancing your oversized carry-on on your forehead. Plenty of wipes and a roll of toilet paper will go a long way.
5. Run! You’re Late?
You better not miss a flight, especially when traveling overseas with a connection. I hope you packed light this time, and have your track shoes ready, because if you miss a flight there is a slight chance that your return flight may be cancelled as well, and there is nothing fun about flushing a round trip ticket in one of those hole-in-the-ground toilets. Some airlines have very strict rules to abide by, especially if: you bought your ticket through a third-party agency, bought a discounted ticket, or purchased your ticket at a nonrefundable rate. Being a victim myself, I missed my first flight and “lucky me”, that was the only flight for that day with that airline. I had to buy another ticket with another airline to get to where I had to go, to only later find out, a couple days before my return, that my departure flight was cancelled due to my “no show” for the first flight. Things happen, but do everything in your will to make that flight.
6. Lost Identity.
You are not going anywhere without your passport. Yes, after being an airport employee for many years, I can honestly say that quite a number of passports have been lost and found at the airport. People leave them at screening locations, bathrooms, gates, restaurant counters, and just about anywhere in the airport that you can think of. There are times when they are even stolen. If you have lost your passport, get ready for the hell of your life, from missing flights, to back tracking your steps, to risking identity theft, or even being stuck in a country trying to figure out a way to make it back home safely. Don’t do it! Staple your passport to your chest if you have to! The Travel Money Belt with built-in RFID Block – Includes Theft Protection and Global Recovery Tags, is a popular way to keep your items safe.
If you can accept that mishaps like this may or can likely occur, congratulations! You have such an open mind, and you are ready to travel the world. Things will happen that will put you out of your comfort zone, but once you surpass all of the havoc and/or cultural shock waves that you had to endear while traveling, the experience itself will make up for it, and sooner or later you will learn to accommodate ways to limit such irregularities from discouraging another travel experience.