Category Archives: travel

25 Types of Travelers: Which Kind Are You?

 

We all know that travelers come in many forms, shapes, and sizes.  They also come with their own baggage (and we are not talking about checked luggage).  Which traveler are you? I hope you pack light!

1.  The “Disorient” Traveler

You are ready to head back from a long day of touring the town.  You look around, but everything looks the same. You have no clue where you are. Your GPS does not work and you try asking a stranger to only realize that they don’t speak your language. So they point you into the direction you need to go in. However, his/her finger has an arch at the joint. Do you go straight or merge into the direction of the arch. Your sense of direction can never make any sense. You will get it right though. One of these days, you will remember where you are going, after going to the places you have been.

2. The “Culturally IN-appropriate” Traveler

You have no chill. You have a justifiable motivation for acceptance. You act out on assumptions that you learned from mainstream media about places you never been before.  You go to places to make overstatements because you want to, more than just fit in. You want to become one with the people.  They will love you for “highly” acknowledging their culture.

3. The “Sweet-N-Low” Traveler

Traveling is a sweet, little delight for you. You flock to places where the fish are plentiful and you don’t mind spending a little extra change for it. You get treated like royalty with the same treatment you can never receive from your very own home country.  You feel loved and adored when you travel to these specific destinations.  You keep it on the low. You can’t get enough of getting your groove back and it’s nobody’s business!

4. The “Inside-the-Box” Traveler

You cannot find it upon yourself to travel outside the country and have no desire to do so. There is too much drama going on in the world. Why should you put yourself in harm’s way? You hear too many horror stories about traveling abroad. You are pretty sure you are not missing much. You have everything you need right in the backyard of your very own country.

5. The “Go-Go” Traveler

You are just that….always on the go!  For whatever reason, there is always a race with time. The bit$% can’t give you a break. There is always something. Either you miss a flight, miss a tour, oversleep, have a wardrobe malfunction, get kidnapped, or have to take your unicorn to the vet, but it’s never your fault. Time needs to slow down! Not everyone is in a hurry!

6.  The “ParaNose” Traveler

Can’t nobody get nuthin’ pass you! You know who is trying to skip the lines. You know whose unattended bag that has been sitting there for more than five minutes.  You have your theft proof backpack, and you are wearing your money pouch on the inside of your skinny jeans.  Everybody wants your money. You are NOT eating that because you might get sick. You are not leaving the parameters of the hotel because there are people out there!

7.  The “Conscious” Traveler

Your eyes are wide open in search of the truth. You visit museums and historical sites to put pieces together. You are very aware and learning that there are a lot of things that you were never taught in school. You want to discover more, to make sense of a history that might have been brushed under the rug for whatever suspicious reason(s).

8. The “Entitled” Traveler

You can’t understand why these people can’t speak your language. Everybody speaks your language. You are the one spending your money, so everyone should speak your language.  You go to other countries to feel at home. You expect first class service in third world countries because you are the reason they are hanging by a thread. They wish that they were you and they should be grateful when you bless them with your presence.

9.  The “007 Mission Possible” Traveler

You are on a mission to bring people closer to God. You do so by giving back to less fortunate communities, providing people with food, clothing, and vaccines. You teach them about faith, hope, and love. In your eyes, you have saved their lives and it helps you sleep well at night, because in your heart…you did a good deed.

10. The “Sober Drunk” Traveler

Man, life is rough. You couldn’t wait until this day. The “unbuckle seatbelt” light comes on, and your finger tips dash for the assistance button. The flight attendant comes to your aide with that Jack Daniels on the rocks, and all of your troubles and stresses of the real world melt away. Let the party begin! There is always a cocktail on standby.  You want to know where all the live, night spots are. You go partying with the hotties and sleep into the late afternoon, to only wake up to do it again. Every day you dread the countdown to when you have to face the real world again.

11.  The “Traveler-Next-Door” Traveler

If you are “The Traveler-Next-Door” Traveler, you have been around the block quite a few times. You are our well-seasoned traveler. You are patient and you make the perfect travel mate. You are a pro at this and people usually seek travel advice from you.  You are opened minded and not afraid to go anywhere. Your limitations are limitless. You rock!

12. The “No-tato” Traveler

The group is going to explore the city. Ehhh…they can go ahead without you. You just want to rest! Is that too much to ask for? You just want to lay on the beach or by the pool and read your favorite novel.  A beautiful view, an ice cold cocktail, and a peace of mind is the true definition of a perfect getaway.  Peace, be unto you.

13. The “Picture-Me-Travel” Traveler

You need a personal photographer to capture the true essence of your travels.  What would you do if you had to travel solo? Selfie galore!  Common phrases you use are “Take me a pic”, “Let’s take a picture,” “Let me take a picture,” “Can you take us a pic,” or anything of that nature. Every step of your experience should be accounted for. Even if you have to miss out on the actual experience to do it.

14. “GFM” Traveler

You, The Go Fund Me Traveler, have travel at the top of your list of priorities. No matter the financial circumstances, you still manage to make your way onto the next trip.  Traveling is a job within itself, because hustling and sacrifices are made to make it happen.  If you have to max out a credit card(s), skip a mortgage or two, bring a loaf of bread and sandwich meat to accommodate meals, add members to your “I Owe You” Club, or dodge debtors like Neo in The Matrix, ohhhh…you going on this trip!

15. The “High Roller” Traveler

Why travel when you can’t experience the high roads of traveling?  You want to try it all.  You look for connects before you even arrive, because the first thing you want to do when you get off that plane is get high.  You go to places with the good stuff, making your experience more of a utopia than anyone can ever imagine.

16. The “Hip-Hopper” Traveler

You have no limits and you are the free spirit of traveling.  You know how to travel on a dime. Experience is important to you, so you don’t mind sleeping in hostels, at motels, on couches, on long train rides, and etc.  You are probably what we call “backpackers” today:  the true hippies of the travel world.

17. The “Phil-and-P” Traveler

You know you can’t save the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t die trying. You are, the most likely of all travelers, to travel to places that nobody wants to go.  You offer your services to the world by helping others. You are a country’s true gift.  You are very humble. Philanthropy at its finest.

18. The “Shark-in-a-Tank” Traveler

Traveling for you is a business opportunity.  You travel to different places, to not only enjoy the experience but also to look for different ways to make money.  The wheels are always turning and you look for ideas that you can bring back with you, or you look for ways to bring business to places that need them.  You are a boss.  Networking is a permanent spot on your agenda.

19. The “Neo” Traveler

Welcome to the world of Travel. Everything is new to you.  Be careful because your first experience sets the foundation on your perception of travel. Your best bet is to travel with the “Traveler-Next-Door.” Not too many other travelers would have the patience to deal with your inexperience unless it’s another NeoTraveler.  If you choose to do it alone, congratulations, you may even be a potential, future Traveler-Next-Door.

20. The “Solo” Traveler

Time waits for no one.  Planning group trips have always been a disaster. People waste your time and money so it’s better to just go by yourself,  less stress and headache. You don’t have to wait on anyone. You don’t have to listen to anybody complain. You can do exactly what you want to do without the compromise.

21. The “Ret-To-Go” Traveler

You are probably one of the most unpleasant of the travelers. Everywhere you go, you are ready to go.  Some may consider you a dead beat downer, a party pooper, a crab, or just plain out miserable.  Being brought into situations/experiences that you can’t grasp or understand, makes you feel uncomfortable. You are probably better off being an “Inside-the-Box” Traveler.

22. The Thotful Traveler

Your “black book” is full of country codes.  You travel to exotic destinations to fulfill your most inner erotic desires. You want to know if it’s true. Are the French more romantic? Are the Africans really “warriors”?  Are Americans really kinky? Your travel goals are to experience encounters of the flesh. Nobody knows you so no one can judge you. So, why not? You travel with very little to no boundaries. You like to have your wall of love, come down every now and again.

23. The “Dare Angel” Traveler

You are bold enough to do what others are afraid to do, such as:  jumping out of planes, camping in wild safaris, or even swimming in a tank full of predators. With the type of travel ambitions you display, people may believe you have some type of death wish.  You want to live your life to the fullest. There is nothing devilish about that.

24. The BaeCation Traveler

Every time you travel you are always accompanied by a significant other. It is like honeymooning over and over and over again. Bae may be a spouse, a potential spouse, a friend with benefits or simply two individuals who share a romantic interest in one another. Everyone likes a baecation.

25.  The “Blogger” Traveler

Don’t be confused for the Picture-Me-Travel Traveler! You actually have a job to do that nobody understands unless you are a blogger. You are capturing moments to share with the world because that is part of what your job entails.  Although you are The Traveler-Next-Door and even The Conscious Traveler combined, you are always looking for information that may be suitable to the travel needs of your audience.

Comment below if you would like to add to the list. I’d like to hear your thoughts!  Good travels to you!

 

 

 

 

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Haiti: More Than a Third World, See why!

 

 

As we all know, the media can be so negative towards third world countries, which discourages tourism to those country. Lack of tourism makes it difficult to stimulate the economy of these places. Haiti is no stranger to such victimization, but I would like to share with you the hidden jewels of Haiti that the media chooses not to promote into its destructive propaganda.  I hope you enjoy the video and hopefully, this may urge you and others to step outside of the box and see the true essence of a gem covered in debris.

Haiti is a huge, mountainous island shared with a more lucrative country, as we all know as, the Dominican Repulic.  As history begins to absolve itself, the proof reveals the similar racial and econimc struggles that we experience here in the U.S. and other black nations around the world.  Nobody ever questions why third world countries are just that…third world countries. Coincidentally, they all share the same common denominator:  that of European colonialism and/or slave trade. 

Haiti, known for overthrowing the French during the Haitian Revolution that began in 1791, came with a hefty fine. Haitians were forced to pay reparations in turn for their freedom. Nobody ever talks about the restitution that Haitians had to pay in return, just for their freedom, costing Haiti billions of dollars to be paid to France for the loss of “damages and property (slaves)”.  Haiti has finally paid off that debt to France in the 1940’s, which is a contribution to the demise of Haiti’s economy. Haiti was set up to fail. Embargoes and boycotts of international trade on Haiti caused further damage to the economy.  Natural disasters and disease outbreaks were another.  Haiti is not a poor country, however, the people are poor. Just as Africa, it is commonly stripped of its resources and taken advantage of by foreign business entrepeneurs. How much longer can Haiti hold on to it’s independence without leaning or surrendering its republic to the U.S. such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Most Common Misconceptions About TSA

The good, old TSA (Transportation Security Administration)…others may like to refer to as “Thousands Standing Around”, “Toiletry Search Agency”, “Total Scam Artist”, “Thuggish Stupid As*holes” or any other creative or insulting acronyms one may or can seem to come up with, has definitely earned its bad rep, from drug busts, to body scanners, to thefts, to inappropriate pat downs, and etc.  However, there are common misconceptions made by the public about the Homeland Security organization. Hopefully, I can clarify some of these misconceptions, and hopefully these explanations will give further insight about the screening process and smooth out run-ins with any of these officers while traveling through American security checkpoints.

Misconception #1:  “I Was Arrested by TSA!”

I remember reading an article where a woman accused the “brutal”TSA of placing her in handcuffs for whatever reason.  It was a good story and just that…a story.  You can NOT be arrested by a TSA officer.  TSA officers at your local airport do not have arresting power, although TSA Federal Air Marshalls do but only can arrest for federal offenses. However, TSA officers do work side by side with local police officers who may place anyone under arrest who violates or who has violated state laws.

Misconception #2:  “Enjoy My Beer!”

TSA officers may NOT keep your surrendered items, so stop offering or assuming that they want or will keep your bottle of lotion, want to finish off the rest of your coke, or want to throw back shots, while on break, with your half empty bottle of vodka.  At the end of the day or as needed, contractors or custodial employees collect these disposed items. Items confiscated or surrendered belong to the U.S. federal government, therefore, non-liquid prohibited items are usually donated by the government or auctioned off as government property.  Liquids are usually not donated due to the potential liability that comes with unidentifiable liquids.

Misconception #3:  “TSA Agents Are a Bunch of Rejects”

TSA officers/agents are NOT random security guards.  TSA officers are considered federal agents. Any criminal acts against them will result in the same charges brought on by any crime against any federal officer. They are not paid eight bucks an hour.  TSA employees are salaried employees that can make up to six figures through promotions within the agency. They receive federal employee benefits such as: healthcare, vacation and sick days, 401k, TSP, and employee bonuses.  More than half of the workforce are military veterans, hold college degrees, or even worked in previous law enforcement agencies. Not everyone is qualified to be a TSA Officer.

Misconception# 4: “You Are Not as Cute as You Think You Are”

Millions of passengers fly everyday. Some are rushing to connections. Others have been traveling overseas for days. Plenty have lesser value for hygiene, and well…what I am trying to say is…that there is a lot of “funk” that accompanies the traveling public. Now, I know this whole ordeal with the “Rated R” pat downs has supposedly stripped the public of their “rights” and exposes everyone to  “sexual abuse”. However, a lot of the passengers opt out in return of a pat-down, and from the smell of things are sometimes likely to not have even utilized a bar of soap at all, and out of all the passengers needing to be physically searched, maybe one percent of those same passengers are even close to being worth an arousal or stimulation of any sort by any form of physical contact . Nine times out of 10…he/she is just not that in to you!

Misconception #5:  “Can You Hold My Flight?”

TSA might be capable of quite a few things, however, holding a plane so you can make it to your  gate because you are running late, is not one of them.  TSA will not hold a line, expedite you to the front of a line, or offer you hors d’oeuvres while you wait just because you are first class, medallion, VIP, or even TSA Pre✓.  If you are lucky enough, your airline may pave the way for these types of membership lines and preserve them at the checkpoint for you, but TSA is not entitled to cater to such privilege if passenger flow or any other security factor shows its face at any given time. Security first. Customer Service ehhh…maybe third…or fifth…better yet…last.

Misconception #6- “The Body Scanner is NOT a Metal Detector”

When going through the body scanner passengers are asked to take everything out of their pocket. Everything, in fact means just that…EVERYTHING. The machine is not only looking for metal items on one’s person. It is looking for EVERYTHING on one’s person.  A handkerchief is EVERYTHING. A passport is EVERYTHING.  Used toilet tissue for snotty noses are EVERYTHING.  The brain….is EVERYT…well…nope keep the brain in. Some passengers need that to ask for the next directions most probably won’t follow as well.

Misconception #7- “TSA is NOT CBP (Customs and Border Protection)”

   VS                     (TSA in first picture and CBP in second picture)

TSA and CBP is not to be confused. They are two different entities, looking for two different things.  The explanation is in the names itself. Transportation Security Administration is used to secure public transportation by identifying and locating anyone or anything that can or may be a threat to the safety of the traveling public, government property, and/or aviation/commercial property.  CBP is used to protect American borders from any illegal persons or contraband from crossing U.S. borders. It is highly plausible that you may encounter both entities during one screening process, especially when flying overseas. It may seem like going through security twice or even three times, and technically may be so, but it is all for the sole purpose of two different agendas.

Misconception #8: “I Didn’t Have to Do This In Paris”

Passengers often get offended when security rules change, but what is security if it remains consistent?  Consistency is vulnerability. For example: because if know when you are going to move, how you are going to move, when you are going to move, and where you are moving to,  I can use that to my advantage.  It is called “dry running”, basically testing out a system to see what one can get away with, because the expectations will be the same every time. Therefore, risks can be assessed and calculated in order to push a successful attack or illegal activity.

Also, different countries call for different security measures. Security procedures are created based on security threats and risks.  If you didn’t have to take your shoes off in Paris, does not mean you won’t have to take them off in Lagos. There are some airports where you have to go through at least four checkpoints before even reaching your gate, others have one. It is not something for everyone to understand, but there is logic behind it.

Misconception #9:  “TSA Broke My Bag”

TSA is more so, less likely to break your bag, than the actual airline ramp employees. Your bag may make it all the way to the airplane without even being opened by TSA.  If anything, TSA may pop open your bag if you have a lock on it that is not TSA approved. If TSA have to check your bag and it is locked, they will usually go for the zipper if they can’t find a master-key to open it. If there are no zippers, well…then yes, all measures will be used to open that bag. So, did TSA break your bag? Technically, you did for not following TSA approved policies on securing your bag.

Keep these things in mind when traveling and going through your next screening process. Understanding how things works may make your traveling experience a lot less stressful.  Be safe and happy travels to you.

 

 

 

 

6 Uncontrollable Occurrences That May Ruin Your First Travel Experience Overseas, Are You Ready?

  1. 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 a 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 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 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 be witnesses that await 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!    

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.

Are Your Ready to be an Overseas Contractor?

Working overseas can make a lot of dreams come true. It is a career that has many advantages, but beware, there are some disadvantages. Overseas contracting is not for everyone.  Are you interested in working overseas?  Take the quiz below and see if it is right for you:

https://www.qzzr.com/c/quiz/393717/are-your-ready-to-be-an-overseas-contractor

 

                                  

The “Racist Monkey” in Africa

After rummaging through the very, green pastures of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara in Tanzania, Africa, I decided to plop down onto a beach chair, occasionally prancing to the shore to dip my “corn-ish hens” into the salty, crystal clear waters of the Zanzibar beach coast. However, before engaging in such relaxation, I wanted to cuddle baby tigers and chat with a cheetah over a cold glass of wine at the Cheetah’s Rock in Ngunwi. Not your normal way to relax, but that glass of wine temporarily relieved the implosive aggression that I held captivated under my skin. Crushing my lips together and attempting to refrain myself from displaying symptoms of the “angry black woman” syndrome, I could not be at peace with the words that spurred from the supposed animal trainer/owner, Jenny, earlier on during a presentation. You probably want to know, “What did she say? What did she say?” Well…not so fast! Let me walk you through it and see if your emotions stir in the same pot as mines.

Jenny was doing a great job. She had a ride that transported us to and from this safe haven for wild animals. Her accommodating staff greeted us with coconut drinks, while we waited for all of the paying participants to arrive. We later then started off with Chaka, the oh so lovely zebra. So far, I can tell that the animals were so well taken care of.  We got to chill with Chaka, and before we moved on to the next enclosure, Chaka and I were cool. I became a zebra whisperer. Don’t judge me. That’s how I felt. We exited the enclosure and headed to the next. My pride was seeping out of my pores, and I was almost sure that I was going to leave Cheetah’s Rock with having ridden Aslan’s back. Oh yea, Aslan is the great, white lion that was saved for a later encounter. We visited some of the other animals such as:  bush babies, lemurs, peacocks, hyenas, and others I will fail at trying to name at the moment. Soon after, we had the luxury of finally visiting the monkey. I think this monkey was one of the monkeys that had blue balls. What? No literally, in Tanzania there are little monkeys running around everywhere, and some of them literally have bright, blue male parts. I can’t remember if this monkey had them or not, but it looked like one of them.

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Now, that’s beside the point. I love monkeys. Especially, the small ones you can hold, but I later found that Manfred, the monkey, would NOT like to meet me because Manfred was a racist. Say what? I didn’t say that! That’s what Jenny said, while setting me ablaze with the fire in her eyes as she informed everyone loud and clear that Manfred was a racist, and if you are black with dark skin (such as myself) there is a strong chance that he would bite you. If you go inside, you go in at your own risk. Whoa…whoa…whoa…wait! What? An uncomfortable silence floated in the windless air. As adventurous as I am not, I was going to prove her wrong, so I went inside anyways…wishing a monkey would. She then went on as to why Manfred didn’t like “dark people”. He was supposedly kidnapped, abused, and almost starved to death by some locals trying to make a buck. She stated that these monkeys were usually captured to make money off of tourist who pay to snap pictures with monkeys, pet monkeys, or even get monkeys drunk at bars for entertainment. There are comments and reviews about her mention of her unwanted presence in Africa. Despite the lack of hospitality from the natives, she claimed to have left her native country willing to fight to keep these wild animals safe from these horrible people.

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This may all be true, although, I can honestly say that the whole time I was there, I have never witnessed such accusations, and none of the other visitors agreed to see such claims. You know what? I’m lying. There was a boy with a small iguana, and I am guilty by accomplice of a monetary transaction for a photo. Anyways, it wasn’t enough to settle my soul. From what I saw, about 98% of the staff at Cheetah’s rock were Africans, and Cheetah’s Rock is in Africa. Her rationalization was that two other black people were bitten by Manfred, so I guess that was careful observation to make such claim. Well, long story short, I was never bitten. In fact, he ate a piece of food off of my leg and went about his merry business. Unlike humans, Manfred took that day off from being a racist, because he probably later learned how stressful it can be. Maybe he just needed a break from it, or maybe he felt the effects of being stereotyped and felt like a hypocrite. After all, Manfred was a female. They later found out that Manfred was a she after being brought there. By then they got used to calling her that, and never bothered to change her name, said the expert animal trainer herself.

 

7 Things to Know Before Traveling Overseas for the First Time

Traveling can be a dreamlike experience or travel can be a nightmare.  It all depends on how well you plan. So many things can go wrong such as:  getting bit by a monkey with horns, going to jail for chewing peppermint gum, unknowingly joining a cult by engaging in a simple hand shake, getting a nice, clean shave with an ax, or many other countless aggravations or absurdities that can ruin your whole travel experience. Traveling right is the only way you should want to travel outside of the country you reside. There are steps to take to avoid disappointment when traveling abroad.

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  1. PASSPORT OR DIE!

Having a physical passport in your hand is the most important thing that can make or break your plans. You can have a full trip planned and paid for and end up wasting all of your time and money, just because your passport did not arrive on time. There are expedited services that can possibly get your passport to you within days, but why place your trip in jeopardy over procrastination? You can’t go wrong with going through your local or state government agencies (i.e. post office, embassies, credible travel agencies, etc.) to apply for your passport. Each country has it’s own requirements that should be strictly followed.

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2. VISA, the credit you can’t buy

What is worst than finally landing in the country you are visiting after a long, rather uncomfortable flight, with passport in hand, ready to get your first stamp, to only be soon surrounded by officers ready to ship you back to wherever you came from and do so without a blink? This can happen, if you don’t have a visa upon entering a country that requires it, and most times you may not even make it past the check-in counter.

U.S. and European citizens can pretty much go to a lot of places that won’t require a visa, but just because you are American or European does not mean that you are exempt from ALL countries. There are some countries that do require a visa upon entry. Some countries may offer visas on arrival, but don’t always expect that privilege as a U.S. or European citizen.  Visa requirements should also be taken very seriously, as they can change.  If the requirements are:  at least three recent selfies, 500 bucks in pennies, proof of a hater vaccination, string cheese,  and a shot of rum, you better make sure you get on it!

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3. THIS AIN’T IT!

Know where you are going! Have you ever saw a flyer for an event that sounded like the place to be, to only later find out that that “place to be” is no longer where you want to be?  The same thing goes for traveling. Although, I do encourage taking chances and going to places where media lens tend to shy away, I also want to emphasize the importance of research. DON’T strictly abide by what the media tells you about places. The joy in traveling is seeing for yourself that half the time, the media is wrong.  Information is at your finger tips. Visit directories and read reviews. Join travel groups and see what people are saying and where they are going, and talk to people who has visited the places or are from the places that you want to go.

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4. Remember “YOU” are the foreigner

Remember when traveling abroad that YOU are the foreigner and will get treated as such. This may be a good or bad thing, considering which region of the world map you represent. Stereotypes play a big role in countries with a low concentration of tourism and that is okay, but it may be annoying or offensive to you on your first few encounters. You may get stared at like you have three legs, pictures of you may be taken with or without your consent, and people may want to touch your skin,hair, or any physical characteristic on you that makes you different than they are. Don’t panic. Don’t be offended. A lot of the time these people have never left their back yards and are only used to seeing people who look like you on their television screens. They are usually more curious and excited than they are angry or afraid of your presence.

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5. When not in Rome, DON’T do as the Romans do!

Your expectations should be at a very minimum when you travel into another country. Things that are valued in your country may not be valued elsewhere. You may go to a restaurant and get served a fresh, warm glass of water with one ice cube in it, or better yet, no ice at all. You will find that ice may be a luxury in many other countries and will notice that many countries don’t honor the free refill privileges on fountain beverages like the “most generous USA”.

Learn the culture before you go. See what is acceptable and what is not. Learn the etiquette, the dress code (yes some places have dress codes, especially for women), the language, and etc. Small things, such as tipping a waiter, may be deemed offensive in some countries. You can go to jail or deported for kissing in public in others.  Obnoxious and/or boisterous behavior may be a form of disrespect in some cultures. Keep a low profile. Dress down. No flashy jewelry or flashy clothing to draw attention to yourself.

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6. Cash is not money when worn!

You will find that the U.S. currency is favored in some countries. As a matter of fact, it may be so favored that you dare not attempt to spend a dollar bill with a small tear on it…because 2 times out of 3, they will NOT accept it.  Yes! Even if you have a hundred dollar bill, and you are ready to shop your little heart out. Know that if that hundred dollar bill is wrinkle, stained, soiled, torn, or even dated back a few years, they will look at it, as if it is trash that you are trying to pay them with.  When using U.S. currency, make sure you have new and crisp bills, or you can simply exchange your country’s cash for that visiting country’s currency, and make your life a whole lot easier.

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7. “Do you speak-a-de-English?”

Lastly, don’t assume that everyone speaks English. Although, there are a lot of countries where English may be a second language, don’t automatically assume that people know or care to speak it. Attempt to speak their language first when communicating. This may be another insult to some, and you will be brushed off or ignored when you are seeking assistance or guidance.  Help seems to come a lot easier when your respect is shown and given.