10 Things That Genuinely Annoy Me
When It Comes To Travel
(in no specific order)
This is a world-schooling article by Explorason – 12-years-old
I love travel, but sometimes it can get reeaaalllllyyyyyyyyy tiring. And I mean REALLY, REALLY tiring.
I’ve travelled to over 70 countries in the past 5 years, so you practically know something is bound to annoy me out of those 70 countries.
So today I going to try to not to offend anyone whilst trying to list all of the things that annoy me as a 12-year-old when I travel.
So let’s go!
Making friends can be very hard enough.
Making friends whilst travelling can be extra hard. You don’t speak the same language; you don’t have the same interests (for example I like video editing and they might not even have electricity in their house, let alone a computer); you are not the same age and all of that stuff.
But the fact is that I actually DO make friends, and I like the friends that I have made. In fact, I have a new friend who is in the next apartment right now but this is Kenya, and he is Korean, and they run a Japanese restaurant – see what I mean!
So when I HAVE to say goodbye in only a few days to my new friend, it makes it even worse!
And even finding a GOOD friend can be even harder when you are traveling!
9. I miss having my own bedroom
When you travel, 9 times out of 10 we stay in an apartment, hotel or a resort.
Considering that I travel nearly ALL the time, this means that I don’t have my own permanent bedroom or my own private ‘space’.
It’s definitely hard sometimes not having a home, or a ‘base’ as my Mum likes to call it as you can have all your things there, but traveling me I don’t have much with me at any time, and when I get it we often have to give it away when we move on, or ship it back to Australia. When I get a home I am going to unpack all these little kid toys I made Mum ship back. At the time I wanted them, but 4 years later – I doubt it, as I’ve grown up. The worst is getting cool Christmas and birthday gifts, and then a week later I have to ship them back to Australia – that sucks!
When you travel, you miss the normal things in life like having your own bed, pillow, and hanging posters on the wall. And it is just not possible to carry all this stuff around the world with us, even though people suggest it – it just isn’t practical, and we already have too much ‘stuff’ with us now to cart around.
I’m a boy, but yep – I’d love to be able to decorate my room with the number plates we have collected from around the world, and a Batman poster, and have all my ‘stuff’ around me.
And I’d love to be able to shut the door on my bedroom too and have just private ’me’ time. It isn’t too often I get my own bedroom with travelling as two hotel rooms or an apartment with 2 bedrooms is more expensive, but sometimes we get one, and I LOVE IT. I unpack my clothes and all my things – and set up my computer, my microphone and camera etc.
8. Terrible internet
You may not believe this, but I am an inside person, so that means that in my spare time I go on the internet e.g Twitter, YouTube, Soundcloud, PhotoShop etc.
As I mentioned in my previous point, considering that I travel a lot of the time that means that I have to change hotels a lot.
So it’s basically a gamble every time to get a good internet at a hotel. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. But trust me, getting the wifi password is top of my list when we arrive anywhere.
I think the best countries/continents/areas for good internet: South East Asia (surprisingly), Western Europe, Turkey, and ……. Jordan. (I’m sure there are others but I can’t remember them.)
The countries/continents/areas with the worst internet: Cuba, Africa, and Eastern Europe (I’m sure there are others but I can’t remember them.)
7. Comfort Food
When you travel you’re almost always limited to restaurants, so you can only have what they have on the menu.
Sometimes the menu is really limited because that is all they have and I understand that.
But sometimes I so miss normal foods like a Macdonalds burger, for example, Domino’s Pizza, KFC, or an English Roast Dinner.
It can be hard to find these foods in Africa where I can’t even find my favorite breakfast cereal, and where a block of cheese is up to $80 (no lie) but In England, it might not be so hard to find these.
Then, of course, you get the opposite problem where you get hooked on something like mango in Fiji, Mexican Tacos, and Enchiladas, or a killer steak in the USA. then we leave and I can’t have that food anymore.
6. Haggling and Bargaining
UGH!! Haggling is the worst and really irritates me as it takes too long.
Haggling is when the shop owner, market stall holder or street seller starts the price REALLY high – and I’m talking sometimes a crazy – stupid high prize.
It’s worse if you are new in town or in East Africa they call us Muzungu’s (white person) – the color of our skin means they think we are rich. The other day someone said to us “that tourists will pay anything if they want something so they can put the price really high”. We tried to explain that isn’t always the case, and they will pay more and you will get more sales if you do a real price.
One time a guy tried to start his price at $80 for an item I think was worth about $10 – seriously – when they do that I just wonder what they are thinking?
And then you have to waste all this time when they start the haggling process and bargain them down to the ‘real’ price. It’s really scummy when you think about it. If they just gave a real price and a quick deal, I might feel my friends and come back tomorrow, but when they do a stupid price they get nothing.
But that’s not the worst part. This progress of bargaining him down can be a game for some and they always give us some tragic story, it and takes like half an hour. And they do this nearly everywhere in the world.
My Mum had a lady in remote northern Bali give her a story about her trying to afford a ‘cucalata’ (calculator) for her daughter for school. She got back to Australia and her friend talks about this poor lady on a northern beach that was trying to afford a ‘cucalata for her kid’. Apparently, she had used the same story for years. Mum says she tipped her ten dollars!
Sometimes they take the thing I want out of my hand and try to give me something more expensive I don’t even want – why do they do that? I just want to walk out as I can’t be bothered.
I just wanna buy it, not spend 30 minutes trying to decide the price. Simple. Stick a price tag on it. We can move from seller to seller and you might sell more stuff too.
5. Being Ripped Off
This form of scamming is extremely popular in the taxi community. I’ve decided to give that its own article.
But it can come in all forms. In Cuba, they used to put all the correct amounts itemized on the account at restaurants BUT (now comes the sneaky part) they’d make their 5 and 3 and 8 all look similar BUT it wasn’t until after you left that we would work out it was added up to more. After about the 3rd time we wised up.
Another good scam is when you buy at night markets. You can’t see things that are busted or glued up. We don’t do night markets much anymore because we always get ‘dud’ stuff. Faded shoulders on t-shirts and that kind of stuff are hard to see in the night light.
Or the ‘switch it’ scam. You buy something especially in a big market, and the stallholder bags it for you to take. When you ae nicely back at the hotel they pull it out the item in the bag is like what you got but it is a busted one.
Mum hates changing money a the borders. Countless times they try to rip her off. Like the Kenya / Tanzania border. The nasty fellow not only tried once but twice and Mum had to threaten to call the police. It didn’t help the pressure that the bus driver was driving off without her either! What a stress-out she had over that because I was on the bus!
4. Strangers Touching Me
I understand that my brownish hair or my white skin can be weird to some foreign people, but when they touch me or stroke me like a pussy cat or a dog, I GET REALLY MAD.
I mean, do they think it’s going to feel different? OF COURSE, IT’S NOT!
I don’t go around touching your skin just because it’s a different colour.
In Fiji, some guy used to touch my ears. Now that is just odd. The ladies come up in South America as my hair was more blonde then, and run their fingers through my hair.
The other day I was in the supermarket in Kenya and some random person comes up and feels my arm – up and down she goes with her hand on my forearm. I’m telling you – it is creepy.
Honestly, I could go on for days and days about how irritated I get when it comes to touching, but I’m just going to leave it there.
3. Asking me what my ‘Favourite Country’ is
I know this was mentioned in my last article, but it’s still really annoying.
I understand that it might be hard to make a conversation, but please, think of a different one.
I am going to answer this question so nobody has to ask me again.
The answer is Kenya, my favourite country is Kenya.
Please note that this option might change.
I love video games, but when you travel you don’t have that luxury.
“But son, can’t you just play games on your computer?”
“No – I can’t because I have a Mac.”
And I’m sure you know that I can’t carry a PS4 around the world with me but at the end of last year, I nearly tried! I
so wanted one and I want to have what other kids in Australia have sometimes but with travel, you just can’t.
Sometimes nice hotels bring me a PS4 or Wii to the room – now that is cool, and I don’t hate that of course!
So when I do have the chance to play a console game, I enjoy it A LOT and I want to stay in and play – I do not want to go out exploring. I want to stay in for days and days, just being a normal boring kid.
1. Health and Hygiene
I’m sure you know that some countries are not very hygienic, so you could imagine that hygiene is a big issue for some areas we visit.
I’m just going to list a few of hygiene issues that I sometimes have:
Planes, trains, and buses might not be clean – it is gross when you pull down the tray and it is all sticky and gooey and there is food all crammed in the back of the seating front’s pocket or down the side of the seat – yuck! In Central America, there can be animals on the roof and all sorts. One time a man brought a bag of fish on the bus and all the fishy water ran down the bus floor and made our stuff stink like fish for days – Ewwww!
Public toilets – do not start me here! There is nothing worse than busting to go to the loo and you walk into something that smells and looks like animals have been in there with poop and urine from here to ‘kingdom-come’.
I mean what is a kid meant to do when you really gotta go and you can’t touch anything and you have to try to hold your breath.
At one place I had my flip-flops on and there was liquid – which I do not know if it was human or otherwise – ankle-deep on the floor.
I had to try to wash my feet after, and the bus was trying to take off without me, so I’m running in slippery shoes. That is big-time stress for a kid.
Of course, they don’t have “TP” AKA toilet paper, so you have to also try and extract that from your pocket, whilst holding up your jeans from falling into the liquid on the floor, and go at the same time. This is a skill, my friends!
Then there is a lack of street drains which when you think about it can be really unhygienic when you are wading through knee-deep water wondering what the heck is floating in it, including animal poop, rubbish, and that kind of things – it is ‘germ-city’.
Both Mum and I have had our fair share of food poisoning too – it could be due to street sellers (which we very rarely use), unclean restaurants etc. The photo above is when I got sick in Tanzania on the way here. That was soo bad.
Then there is ‘out of date’ food sold at the supermarket – here in Kenya the past week we have managed to find frozen pizzas which are a treat but two different times we get home and unbox them and they have black and green mold. There was a fly inside the bread bag in the supermarket the other day too.
Oh, germ-carrying diseases from insects. Or bed bugs, head lice, stomach worms, cockroaches and all sorts of germ-carrying insects. You can read about them in my recent article too.
Then you can get sick from vehicle fumes in open transportation like Tuk-Tuks, or carbon monoxide than leaks through the broken floor and makes you sick in Cuban old cars, or pollution in Macedonia that made Mum hardly breathe – and that’s only to list a few.
So, that is the end of my list for now, but I am sure I could add to it.
To be fair and so you don’t think I am a snotty-nosed kid which I am not, as I will do an article on all the things I love about travel later as there are loads about my travel life I love.
But getting back to stuff we hate when we travel.
Questions to our readers:
- Do you have any things that really annoy you??
- Tell us in the comments below.
This is an article by 12-year-old Explorason – written in Kenya, Africa where we educate via a method called world-schooling. It is a bit like home-schooling but it allows the learner free reign to explore and learn at their own pace, encompassing their current surroundings, in their own time, and with their own interests.
Right now he is interested in bugs. We have also studied the local monkeys, and Explorason spends his days following his passions which include graphic design, video and YouTube creation and editing, music remixes, young entrepreneur business establishment, photography, and much more. You can listen to his music here on Soundcloud.