Time to stop with the Country Shaming!

Thank you for stopping by, I stumbled upon the idea of writing this blog because I think we hear enough on country shaming. Whether it’s amongst people we know or even in the travel community; somehow we are all too quick to place our judgement on a place, a destination solely based on ‘our own experiences’. What is wrong with that you ask? While I completely respect an individual’s opinion to what they feel about a place, I believe (very strongly too) that it’s not what a destination offers you but what you can draw from it. And voicing strongly only goes to impact someone else’s perception on it.

Having given this some thought, I realized I was at one point not very different from the lot that are quick to categorize and hold strong opinions on a place that didn’t work. So what changed for me, well I think it’s the fact that I learnt the onus to like or not like something, someplace, (even someone ;-)) was on me. I think travel exposure, real time experiences and perhaps a little bit of maturity to accept that I perhaps like one experience more than the other, or that it’s alright to not ‘feel’ my heart strings being tugged towards a particular destination like others or even that I didn’t do it right!

Plan ahead

The best way to minimalize surprises, is to plan ahead. I cannot reiterate the importance of planning your trips and knowing what you want to be expecting out of it. Plan so that you answer the how and where you headed from the airport/port/point of entry, plan so that you know what you want to be doing.  Pre-determine at least a percentage of how your trip is going to look like.

How does it help?

Planning ahead ensures you have some control on the basic asks; where am I going? What do I want to do? What are my must-sees or must experiences? What pre-actions or daily decisions I need to take to make the above wish list work? Am I prepared for changes beyond me; like the weather, holidays etc.?

Be Realistic

Sometimes time doesn’t allow us to see and do it all (even though we’d like that). But time is a luxury for some of us especially if we travel on time-offs from work). When I plan a trip, I start by listing all the things I want to do, to see, to experience but then I take a step back and figure what is doable in the days that I am there.

How does it help?

Be realistic ensures I account of my time in my holiday, making it count. I cannot do the 100 things that the internet lists as points of interest and truly make it enjoyable. So I instead choose the top few that most interest us and that I know can fit into our itinerary seamlessly.

Accept change is inevitable

Planning helps minimize not eliminate surprises. Many a times, we’d find ourselves having to think on our feet because of the weather, local holidays, it could be anything. So what do we do? Throw a tantrum? Cry over it? Whine and just lose a day? No, not for us, we quickly take a 10 minute thinking break, figure if we got to move our itinerary around and still fit something in for the day that works.

How does it help?

Holidays are usually for an x number of days so we really are racing against time and want to leverage every minute to be meaningful or worthwhile. So I’d say proactively take stock of the situation and look for ways to make good of a bad or unpleasant scenario. It is your holiday, take onus and do something!

Different is good

Your friends tell you, you’re going to love the cuisine or that you must indulge the adventure junkie in you and go bungee jumping or hiking but you aren’t feeling it? Would you rather lounge at the beautiful beaches? DO IT! This is your holiday, you create your own stories, needn’t be like somebody else’s.

How does it help?

This is one of the key reasons people do not enjoy a place and then blame the country. Sorry, but all your doing. Information is made available through travel resources, friends etc. to help us get a peek into a place but in no way will my itinerary always work for you or vice versa. Do you, the way you know best.

Be responsible

So important, this point! In a world where everyone uses resources online and word of mouth for information feeds, we got to be responsible on what we choose to put out there. This may affect how someone thinks about a place because they trust your experience to be one for all and that’s quite biased an approach, wouldn’t you agree.

How does it help?

I personally, have fallen in love with places that I read or heard unpleasant reviews on and I’ve had people not enjoy a destination that I absolutely loved. So truly, I believe it’s great to share travel experiences but can we try be responsible about it and ask ourselves whether travel is a one size fit all!

 

Yes, like I said before I liked some places more than the others. But every place gave me back a different something I bring back with me post the travel. Somethings I’d do differently, somethings I’d rather not do and somethings I want to do again and again but it’s all me. Therefore, enough with the country shaming because every country is gorgeous and beautiful in its own right. Getting our facts right about our expectations from each place is a first step and acceptance that we won’t always feel the way we intend to about a place is a second.

I love travel and all the learning that come with it. It has built me, my personality, my strength, my thinking, my awareness as much as 16 years of traditional education has. But I also wish that we can respect this privilege; this choice we have to travelling across borders to soak in the local way of life. It might sound silly but I take in every little moment from the time I step out of an airplane to back with so much depth, I’m observant, I’m hungry to see more, I’m willing, I’m learning and in all this I see myself growing.

Share the love for travel responsibly and let each one live their own story sans pre-fed prejudices!

35 Comment

  1. Yeu Doi says: Reply

    This post is very helpful. As a traveler it is hard to juggle everything.

  2. I completely agree with what you are saying. The last thing that I have heard from a friend is that they didn`t like Venice because it was crowded and the water from the canals was smelly.

  3. I agree, you need to be responsble when you review places you travel to because some people read the reviews first before they make a decision to partake on something. Great article

  4. You are so right traveling can be sometimes painful but it is amazing too. Being able to discover other places is a great adventure nut planning is a must.

  5. I love the photos you took and how your enthusiasm for travel shows so clearly in your post. Love your perspective and how informative you got!

  6. Great tips. I may be going on holiday soon so will definitely keeps these in mind 🙂

  7. These are great tips. You’re right – things don’t always go as planned when traveling. That’s why I like to plan ahead and have back-up plans.

  8. That’s a very nice thing to say. I think it’s important that we learn to appreciate the places that we visit, regardless if we had a bad or good experience there. Those are all experiences we can take with us anyway.

  9. Fantastically written and very insightful, your passion for travel is so evident. More people need to read this!

  10. Eloise says: Reply

    Yes! different is good! that’s how we learn and step out of our comfort zone to experience the NEW! great list for preparing to travel, by the way!

  11. Everyone travels different and experiences travel differently for sure.

  12. I totally agree with you on this. I didn’t like some places that were recommended to me and absolutely loved some that have a bad reputation. To each their own, really! Beautiful pictures by the way!

  13. I get the point of planning for a trip and realizing that you cannot do everything. I just think that the things that I enjoy the most on a vacation are those things that I never plan for. I don’t know why this is the case but it’s true.

  14. Love it! Every place and everyone has their own adventure!!! Nothing is cookie cutter and everyone is different!!

  15. Neha says: Reply

    Stunning Photography and loved your post, where instead of saying a place is good or bad, you have given tips on how to enjoy the place. Loved the idea.

  16. Beautiful photos! I agree that you get back what you can give. If you go somewhere thinking it’s horrible, it will probably be. I’ve had people telling me “people from x country are rude, you wouldn’t like”, and every time they have been wrong. If you are nice, they will be nice. What happens to you is a reflection of what’s inside. Again, I’m in love with those pictures!

  17. I love this!!! I agree that everyone has their own adventure wherever they go!

  18. Everybody experiences a trip to a same destination differently as the purposes of going there are different. When it doesn’t work out as planned just go with the flow and make the best out of it. But never start country shamming. It’s like judging a book by it’s cover. I myself like to explore so I always look up the best places to see for example UNESCO world heritage or beautiful nature reserves as I like to take pictures. And most important to learn something about the culture.

  19. Great points you got here. I sometimes don’t like to comment or give opinion on the places I’ve been that some people may want to visit unless they ask. I hate being known as a travel snob. LOL

  20. Dylan says: Reply

    “Different is good” I LOVE THAT! You are so right. I definitely learned that planning a trip out and going with that flow when something didn’t go 100% as planned makes it so much more fun.

  21. Anna says: Reply

    I agree everyone is going to have different experiences when they go to the same place based on so many different things. I definitely think its important to research the places you go so that you can be sure to find spots in that country that interest you.

  22. Great tips, I am going on holiday soon and should really plan ahead 🙂

  23. Flavio says: Reply

    Love travel tips.. can never get enough. Great article, especially on the preparation.

  24. I don’t believe anyone should be country shaming, especially based on just a trip to that country. Your time spent there may not be enough to truly understand the country and it’s culture or you may not even see enough of the country to truly understand the country. Your advice for managing your expectations and planning your trip well is great.

  25. I believe that every place in the world can be the source of inspiration for an intelligent traveller. Usually, people who lack culture don’t know how to make the best of a place/country when traveling to a destination of their choice, after all.

  26. I love how you included “how does it help” part to really explain things further. Informational!

  27. Differences are good. We learn a lot from people who are different

  28. Aarika says: Reply

    This is a great post! Thanks for sharing these awesome posts. Planning ahead and being realistic is key. Cheers to more travel adventures.

  29. mjsorrels says: Reply

    Beautiful pictures! Great message as well. It really is about our perspective.

  30. Asiedua says: Reply

    Very informative post!

  31. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan says: Reply

    I totally agree with your point on generalizing. Be it related to travel or otherwise. Your experience doesn’t constitute the entire population’s opinion. Good luck

    Gayathri @ Musings Over Nothing

  32. Amanda says: Reply

    I agree that it is totally your outlook on the situation. Somethings cannot be helped, because of weather or malfunctions. That isn’t a reflection on the country or place, but of life. I love your point about making your vacation your own and not someone else’s. Great advice!

  33. Where were you in the pictures? The place seems really beautiful! 🙂 I agree with your perspective. I also think if people thought about what they were going to say before saying it, in general, not just in judging places, we would be a lot better off.

  34. Clare! says: Reply

    This was a great post, very informative and I loved the pictures! 🙂

  35. lostwithliv says: Reply

    love your blog!! and your perspective..I’ve said a lot of the same things here. it’s all about your perspective/personal experience…never one size fits all 🙂

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