A lot of people will tell you that the reason they are travelling is to broaden their mind and deepen their understanding of the cultures they are visiting. They are lying. Scratch below the surface and you’ll find that their real reasons are a lot less altruistic and a lot more like the 10 reasons listed below.
1. To lose weight
It’s amazing what unappetising, unhygienically prepared food will do to even the most troublesome of waistlines. Add a dose of giardiasis or anaemic dysentery and the kilos literally drop off. The best spots for this revolutionary approach to weight loss are Asia, Africa and most university canteens.
2. To learn another language
There’s no doubt that you pick up a foreign language more quickly in the country where it is spoken. Thrown in the deep end, you’ll be astonished how quickly you’ll pick up words for things like ‘toilet’ and ‘take’ me there quickly. A word of warning, though, about language tips given to you by friendly locals. What they assure you is an innocent phrase is invariably coarse and vulgar, and likely to get you punched in the mouth.
3. To avoid work
Perhaps the best reason of all. If you still have doubts, think of your current daily routine. Now think of lying on a beach, drinking beers and flirting with the locals. Need I say more?
4. To develop initiative
If your boss or professors say you lack initiative, go to a foreign country and have all your money stolen. Your embassy will shun you, you’ll have to rummage through garbage bins just to eat and you’ll fight over park benches with bums whose curses you won’t even understand. It might be unpleasant at the time but you’ll end up with rat cunning that would do Gordon Gecko proud.
5. To get dinner party tales
Ever sat in stony silence at a dinner party, too ashamed to speak because you have nothing interesting to say? Go travelling. Then you’ll be able to delight and amaze guests with tales about the time you were thrown in jail on the Pakistani border or when you shat your pants coming back from a restaurant in Kigali.
6. To bore people with your travel slides/photos/and/or videos
How many times have you sat through a boring slide show put on by your friends or family and wished the floor would open up and swallow you?
Travelling gives you the chance to return the favour.
A handy hint: Try to keep your photos out of focus, poorly framed and of mundane, ordinary, things. When you show them to friends or family, linger on each slide and regale viewers with long winded stories that are only vaguely related to the photo and go nowhere in particular, Always end with an unnaturally long pause and something like ‘Um, I forget what I was going to say’.
7. To avoid debt collectors
If you owe money, preferably to institutional creditors, why not shoot though overseas? You have a good time, they have a hard time tracking you down, and if the amount is relatively insignificant they may well give up altogether. Of course, to avoid embarrassment at the airport check-in counter, you should leave well before they have contacted Interpol. Also be aware that there’s every chance your credit cards will be cancelled while you’re away.
8. To learn money management skills
Similar to the reason above but in this one you actually learn to manage money responsibly. Set yourself the task of visiting an expensive country like Japan or Sweden with as little money as possible. If you can survive living on 10 cents a day in Tokyo or Stockholm, managing your budget back home will be a breeze.
9. To make friends or find a lover
It’s true. Travel is a great way to meet people. The usual social mores and values are thrown out the window and people are generally more open, carefree and uninhibited. of course, unless you take some precautions, you could end up rather friendly with the staff down at the local STD clinic as well.
10. To learn about other people and cultures
Travel is the quickest way to learn that behind that indecipherable foreign language and quaint national costume is a person with the same shortcomings, foibles and prejudices as yourself. Scary thought, isn’t it?