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5 Travel Annoyances: A Rant

5 Travel Annoyances: A Rant
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Couleur locale has been responsible for many hasty appreciations and local colour is not a fast colour           -Nobokov

 

Images make travelling special – a baguette tucked under an old man’s arm in Paris, dining under the moon in a busy Moroccan souk, strolling in the orange scented streets of a Spanish town, playing with colour at a historical monument in India, and devouring cannelloni in a seaside village in Italy. That’s the fun part!! 🙂

 

But there’s also another side to travelling- factors like illnesses, traffic, pollution, conservative ideologies, or crowds which spoil our idyllic vision of fabled cities around the world. When we first visited Venice and Rome, we’d hoped for fairytale cities but we got traffic, pollution, and travel agents instead – let’s just say we had to work HARD to find the magic in Venice.

 

That’s not all. Despite being a keen purveyor of street food we couldn’t quite get the bravado associated with gulping a snake’s beating heart in Vietnam. The list of course, goes on. Nobokov is right – it’s fun to acquaint oneself with local customs and traditions, but they aren’t always the best!  We usually don’t write too much about this sort of thing on social media but we wanted to share the stumbling blocks one encounters while travelling too since we’re always focussing on the fun stuff 🙂 Here are the 5 things we’ve discovered on our travels that annoy the heck out of us:

 

offbeat things to do in venice walk in venice at night

Gondolas bobbing on peaceful waters, the midnight moon peeking out from the clouds & the majestic San Maggiore cathedral all lit in the distance

 

  • Touts and vendors in Morocco and Egypt

    If you’ve been to touristy cities in Morocco or Egypt, you will know this. Sellers hound tourists. One way of harassing tourists that is popular in Marrakech is when vendors thrust their wares in tourists’ hands and then demand money for them. They insist they have to sell the items to you because you ‘touched’ them. If you do not pay, expect swear words at the very least. Things escalate very quickly there, so it’s best to give in. But aggressive vendors aren’t the only problem! There are lots of conniving groups and individuals that devise scams to fool tourists in this area. Watch out for them when you visit.

    We wrote about some scams we encounters and precautions you should take in our article on visiting Marrakech’s souks.

 

Marrakech Djemaa El Fna

The vibrance and chaos in Marrakech can be daunting

 

  • Outrageous cost of living in Switzerland and Scandinavia

    Now we’ve been to our fair share of affordable and expensive countries. And I know exactly why a pizza in London costs more than the exact same pizza in Siem Reap. The developed world has more amenities to offer to the average tourists, real estate prices are high, and labour costs a lot more. Despite this, there are some countries in the world which are just too expensive – expensive enough to dampen the fun of travelling around in that country. Switzerland is one such country – it physically hurts me to pay €12 for a cold stodgy sandwich in a supermarket in the Swiss Alps.

    Here are a couple of ways in which you can cut down costs in these areas:

    1. Rent a reasonable chalet in Switzerland instead of staying in a traditional hotel.
    2. Choose a road trip in Bavaria instead of the Swiss Alps. It’s as scenic but costs half as much.
    3. Choose an all-inclusive cruise in Norway instead of exploring individual cities by train or car and eating out at every meal.

 

Swirzerland can be very expensive - visit Bavaria instead!

Switzerland can be very expensive – visit Bavaria for an equally scenic, but much cheaper, trip

 

  • Casual Sexism in India and Fiji

    I think it’s no secret – as I’ve said before, Vid and I are vociferous feminists. And we think everyone should be. It’s the twenty first century – shouldn’t equality between sexes be the norm?

    Unfortunately it isn’t. And this riles us. We get REALLY irked when we encounter sexist practices engrained in daily life while travelling in countries such as India and Fiji (the list of countries doesn’t end there!). Casual subjugation is evident in the locals’ way of life in both countries. For example – men sit in first row and women in the second row during the sacred Kava ceremony in Fiji. Similarly in many parts of India, it’s considered the woman’s duty to cook and tend to the family. Even the most educated families hanker for boys to be born in the family and the rate of female foeticide is very high, especially in rural areas. A lot of women don’t have the independence of choosing careers, dating people of their choice, mingling with men, or expressing opinions in public gatherings.

    We end up having a lot of heated debates every time we encounter casual or regimented sexism while travelling – we’re hoping we’ve converted a few people along the way. Go equality 🙂

 

Here’s another way you can address this issue while travelling – just educate, as much and as frequently, as you can

 

There’s something I haven’t told you. But first look at that cherubic smile?? ** Just a month ago it was my birthday. Instead of birthday gifts, I asked all my friends and family to give me as much stationery as they possibly could. They got me TONS of stationery. Vid and I went and added some more stuff to this stash and set out on our road trip to Ladakh with a whole backseat full of stationery- notebooks, crayons,paints, pens etc ??? . Throughout our road trip we’ve been visiting local schools that work with less privileged kids in order to give them however much stationery they need for their kids. . I know I say this all the time because my heart belongs to working with lil kids but I will say it again ?? . The more I travel, the more I realise something : education, something most of us take for granted, is truly the greatest gift of them all. It’s the ONLY way to dispel ignorance and all sorts of societal evils (be it patriarchy, homophobia, casual sexism, or casteism) . So make sure you educate someone today. It DOES NOT have to be an earth-shattering endeavour because every little helps. You could teach less-priveleged kids while travelling, take 1 child under your wing, volunteer at a local orphanage in your own city, or donate wherever you deem fit – do WHATEVER it takes to spread the gift of education. It’s so rewarding and SO much fun?? . And if you ever travel within India make sure you carry food or stationery (pens, pencils, notebooks) instead of money or toys. Donate it to the local schools here- they could use a helping hand or two ??

A photo posted by Savi and Vid (@bruisedpassports) on

 

  • Conservative temple notices in Bali, Indonesia

Now you know just how much we love Bali. Ubud is our second home and we spend entire months living there and working on Bruised Passports. However daily life on the island is steeped in religious practices that promote inequality.

 

You will find deeply patriarchal notices adorning most temple gates in Bali. We’re all for respecting cultural idiosyncrasies and despite being atheists, we love visiting religious sites when we travel (purely out of anthropological curiosity!). However you will find notices prohibiting women on their period from entering temples because they are ‘unclean’- the stigmatisation of bodily fluids really annoys both of us. It takes sexism to a whole new level!!

 

Not impressed!

Not impressed!

 

  • Personal Stumbles Along The Way

We get a lot of comments on our social media posts about how perfect our life is. As we’ve said multiple times in the past, that’s not true. We have ups and downs like everyone else but we always choose to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re both just glass half-full kinda people 🙂

 

Take for instance the month of January 2017. We had decided to spend 2-3 months working in Bali and we were super excited about it because we love living in Bali. But on this particular trip, things were just not meant to work out. I had an asthma attack within days of getting to Bali. But it didn’t stop there. Something about the intense humidity in Bali at this time of year made me really unwell. Despite visits to the local pharmacy and hospital, we just couldn’t get my asthma under control. After 4 weeks of struggling, we finally decided to fly out of Bali much earlier than we anticipated. Re-scheduling tickets was VERY expensive and it saddened us to leave our second home so soon.

 

But what can one do? Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. And that’s ok. These little niggles come and go. The important thing is to focus on surrounding oneself with people who love the living daylights out of you. And not to let this little stumbling blocks make you lose sight of the bigger picture 🙂

 

Sometimes things just don't go according to plan and there's nothing you can do!

Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan and there’s nothing you can do!

 

That’s it – 5 of our top travel annoyances! Want to know the best thing about encountering these annoying traits while travelling? Each of them give you an amazing perspective on life – every time you see something you don’t like, you can make a conscious effort to avoid replicating it in your own life. That’s just one of the many ways in which travelling can educate you and hone each of us as individuals 🙂

 

What is the one annoying thing you’ve encountered on your travels? We’d love to know so do share with us 🙂

 

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22 Comments

  1. Hahaha.. Some of these are so true and I have experienced them myself. The last one hits a nail with me as I have hypothyroidism and can get easily tired while traveling.. Loved reading the post 🙂

    • Hey Deepika – so glad to hear another seasoned traveller agree with us – travel can definitely be annoying but it’s ultimately fulfilling 🙂

  2. This is such a lovely piece of article no matter it highlighted some of the negatives about traveling and every single thing you said about patriarchy is true. It infuriates me to no end how such practices and thoughts still prevalent in modern days! This is the first time I learned about your asthma and I am glad you pulled it together in such difficult times. This is the best thing about you guys at the end you make us believe in the positivity around us.

    • Thanks Shivangi. Glad you agree with it. I don’t usually let my asthma get in the way of travelling, hiking, or anything else but this time was different – grrr! 🙂

  3. This article makes you both more human than we all thought you’ll were. Makes us connect with you and your trips even more 🙂

    • Hehe Kitty – thanks. We’re as human as any of our readers – we just choose to focus on the glass half full and try to be as positive as we possibly can 🙂

  4. Aww you guys! 100% agree on all the points. After few months of traveling I have accepted that I am just not a big experimenter of foods. And on point about the casual sexism, especially while traveling in places where you can pass off as a local(Sri Lanka, Malaysia etc), being a solo female traveler and having to deal with the stares, cat calls, looks of sizing up, getting accosted by of random touts that seem to take offense if I dont respond, is all such a pain.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery and looking forward to more amazing stories. Although if you are back in Delhi now, I am not sure how that city with all its perils of pollution is going to help 🙁

    • Hey Archana – totally hear you. So many of our friends who travel solo have the exact same list of complaints. Must be frustrating!

      As for not experimenting with food – it’s good to know your likes and dislikes 🙂 While local food is often a good introduction to a new place, there are plenty of other ways to acquaint oneself with new places too

  5. Wow .. i am reading a bruised passports post after a long long time .. ( my bad … college exams are the culprits tho’ ) but what an enlightening post in the most bruised passports fashion – totally sophisticated and beautifully written !! I sure agree to the sexism in india part . It is so painful to see that even in educated families … and even the last part – people surely judge lives of people from social media posts and see how lucrative they are , but we tend to ignore the hard work part of it .. !!! S good to be back on bruised passports … i got to so some binge reading now ??….. love u guys !! Keep up the outstanding work !!! ❤❤❤❤❤

    • Always lovely hearing from you – so happy to see you back on Bruised Passports. I wish you’d come back to a happier post but a reality check never hurt anyone eh 😉 Hope you enjoy binging on the older posts too Kushagr

  6. This list of annoyances can remind us all to not expect perfection while traveling! I think we all sometimes forget to not let the little bumps ruin our trips, doc this article is a great reminder of that. And I do sincerely hope you’re feeling better, Savi!

    • Thanks Adele, I am. And I agree with you. The little bumps only make the special moments that extra bit more special 🙂

  7. SO unusual to see your happy faces all over instagram and imagine that there is anything you hate about travelling! This article is such a fresh insight into the real world of travel. I have to say, one thing I hate about travelling to some of the European countries is the attitude. We traveled to Italy last year and just found the people SO cold! Croatia on the other hand <3 was practically waiting for us to arrive and every one that we encountered seemed happy to help!

    • Hey Aayushi,

      We believe in sharing the positives as well as the negatives 🙂 Despite all these annoyances, we try to see the positive side of travel. You’re right, locals can be a bit cold, especially in really touristy areas. Croatia was amazing, wasn’t it? we loved it too 🙂

  8. Sicilians can’t stand in a line to save their life, even while waiting to board a plane at the airport. It’s a mad rush of people waiting and pushing and no respect for families with children.

    • Haah! we have experienced that but on the other hand Sicilians are some of the most affectionate and friendly people we have ever met!

  9. It’s such a change to read about the ‘other’ side of traveling. We couldn’t agree anymore with all the points, but especially with where social media builds a certain image around us. We’re backpackers/ budget travellers and our blog has all been about how we manage to travel on the cheap. Inevitably, we get a lot of ‘Oh! you must have some secret stash money’ response on almost every post. Albeit on the other end of the spectrum, we see similar responses on all your Insta posts and love the way you deal with it. Frankly, we’ve taken a leaf from seeing how you guys handle all the skepticism and criticism on social media. Thanks for doing what you do, Savi & Vid 🙂

    • Hey Divya and Vikas,

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂 Yes, that’s so true – the internet is full of skepticism but you know what they say – haters gonna hate. We prefer to see the world through rose-tinted glasses and try to spread as much happiness as we can. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to please everyone and the sooner one realises that, the happier one is 🙂

      Happy travels!

  10. Indian eagle congratulates you for making a progress in your blogs. Your information are really worthy…

    • Thanks so much Indian Eagle…your congratulations are much appreciated and we are glad you find the information on our blog worth a read 🙂

  11. Woahh!!!Such a grateful life…I always experience immense pleasure while reading your blogs…#bruisedpassports😘😃the article really very fresh describing about each n every lil moments u share🗺💙

    • A big, big thanks to you dear Khushi- our hearts sing when readers get back to us with such feedback. You’ve made us happpppy today!!!

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