Odd and Unusual Things I Have Learned Traveling
This may be a little weird and I wondered if anyone was really interested in weird and trivia stuff from some of my experiences in other countries but here goes…
The world is safer than you think. You could be in a foreign country that was hit the first day with a political uprising, hurricane the second day, and an earthquake the third day yet your mathematical odds of surviving are good. Trust God, if He wants you alive, you have 100% chance of living!
I use less toothpaste now. If water is not fit to drink, you cannot use for brushing your teeth. When traveling in another country I use a bottle of water to rinse my mouth and toothbrush which leads to the point of less toothpaste. In times past I squeezed a line of toothpaste the length of the toothbrush but no more; I put a dab on the end of the brush even in the States with faucet water.
Try to blend in the best you can. As much as you can, look like everyone else so says this Irish-blooded American who travels to an all black country. Really! Don’t look like a “flat-land tourister” in a Snuffy Smith comic strip or a safari Jungle Jim on a Tarzan movie. Use common sense and don’t go overboard like wearing a loin cloth. Most of the world is more modest than we Americans–so leave your “Daisy Dukes” at home.
I use one bath towel for about three to four days. When I travel to a third world country, I don’t expect them to furnish me with a bath towel so I carry one that I use all week and leave it with them when I go home. Logic says that once you are bathed you are clean so the towel just needs to dry. Gone are the days I use a fresh towel every day. My wife says, “Yippee!”
Learn a little of their language. People in other parts of the world will love the fact you know how to say hello and thank you in their language. You don’t have to be fluent to be friendly. So what if you mess up a little, they will think it is funny. Gracias!
Clothes can be worn several days before washing. In America we are so spoiled—how many times do Americans wear a garment for four hours and throw it into the clothes hamper? Shirts and especially pants can be worn several days; I have put three days on pants. I hang mine up at the end of the day to air out and they are good for another round. I am not a slob, I do want clean underwear and socks every day.
Questionable food becomes less questionable if cooked. I have eaten chicken many times that was parboiled one day, left at room temperature all night, and cooked in oil the next day for our enjoyment—it would drive a health inspector crazy. Eating foreign food is half the fun, if it doesn’t agree with you, your body will get rid of it one end or the other. Carry some charcoal tablets!!
Check the ice! If ice is not made from purified water you can get sick.
Dishes need to be air dried. Dishes washed in questionable water can generally be safe if they are air dried. I got sick from a plate that had a good dribble of water in it. A swab with an alcohol wipe will help.
You will not need everything you pack! Cull some items. People survive every day in the country you will be visiting without half of Walmart in their possession. You think there just might be a chance you need it—not! If you do, the adventure of finding it or doing without it is worth the shot.
Ignore the last point for these items. There never seems to be enough clothes hangers. Pack a couple of clothes hangers, a length of paracord, and about four plastic clothespins. Oh, don’t forget to take a roll of toilet paper or in India you can use your left hand and a cup of water in the right (too much information but true!!).
Divide your money up. Do not put it all in one place like your wallet, purse, or backpack.
I always carry some peanut butter and instant coffee. My wife will place a jar of peanut butter in the cradle of one elbow and a jar of instant coffee in the other elbow when I die–just in case!! “Doesn’t he look natural”, my friends will say.
Talk a bath you stinker!! There is no excuse for being nasty. I have taken a bath many times with a five gallon bucket of water and a cup. Slosh some water on to moisture your skin, soap up, and rinse off; it is not rocket science just good hygiene.
Electronic items like smart phones, tablets, and laptops actually work on 240 volt currents. Many countries have 240 volt electrical systems. Check your devices for “Input” because somewhere on your charging plugs will be see fine print that will probably read “Input: 100-240 volts”; this means you can charge your iPhone on a 240 volt system. You will need a plug adapter that will work on the country’s outlet configuration. You will not need to convert the voltage. You will need to search online to find the correct plug adapter for the country you are visiting. NOTE: Check other electrical items like hair dryers for input voltage, most likely they will NOT work overseas as their input will probably be 120 volts. Your hair will be wet, your hairdryer will sizzle but your phone will charge.
We all have weird customs. The locals will have some weird customs and ideas but so are yours to them. Be courteous and go with the flow if it is not immoral or harmful. “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22 NKJV).
Enjoy the journey!
Harry L. Whitt