There is something inherently nomadic about being human. It explains the urge, intent, and will to travel. I would think that in the old days, our ancestors would never turn down an offer to undertake a journey. Think of the Arabian travelers, the Chinese silk road, and the merchants of Venice. Travel has been the most undertaken and most useful pastime for humanity for thousands of years.
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We travel to get somewhere for leisure, utility, responsibility, and even duty. Travel is a form of human adventure and feeds into our souls by helping us discover the world. Our mental health is boosted by being on the move and breaking the monotony of being in one place for too long. The advent of technological advancements in travel and modes of transportation means that one could have a cappuccino in Mumbai, India, lunch at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and dinner in London, UK. Life can be so beautiful and sweet if you sprinkle and spice it with the right amount of travel.
Life can, at times, be so dull, especially if one spends a lot of time at the same place doing the same things with the same people. It can weigh an individual down and diminish their quality of life. We aspire to travel, explore, and experience the world. We can only be genuinely cultured if we travel, experience, and appreciate the cultures of the world. Travelling has become cheaper in recent years, and if you know where to look, you can have the right deals, at the correct times, and for the right places.
As Africans, we are more often than not limited by resources and cannot travel as much as we would want to. We can also be limited by responsibilities and jobs that we need to attend to and accomplish. However, even with a job and with a seeming constraint in resources, travel can be achieved and can be enjoyable. It is crucial to budget and research the places intended as destinations. In most cases, it is always best to call ahead of traveling and to make reservations for accommodation, car rentals, or in-place logistics, food, and the activities you intend to take part in. For example, if you want to go kayaking, you should always ensure you have called ahead and booked a kayak or a session with the right companies. Most times, having a travel agent will ensure that the intricacies of travel will betaken care of for you.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has made air travel restricted. The effect is that long-distance travel has become minimized, and most people who had wanted to travel this year will likely not have the chance or the money to travel. There have also been many issues relating to refunds, as people who had booked flights that got canceled have had a hard time getting refunded. As such, for future planning, a traveler should always have double or triple their assumed or intended budget. With traveling, the more the financial preparedness, the merrier. Think of it like going to the mall. If you go to the mall with more than what you need for shopping, you can indulge in something you had not planned for.
In terms of health, it always advisable to inquire and research whether there are any vaccinations or health restrictions or pre-requisites to traveling to a particular place. It is especially the case now with the novel Coronavirus. Any traveler should first check whether they will have to go into isolation when they arrive at their destination country and for how long that isolation would be. Such action, in particular, can affect one’s plans and can lead to loss of reservations and even funds paid for services that would become delayed or not rendered. Cruiseliners are a fun way to travel, but currently, the Covid-19 rules and related risks mean that it would be perilous to be in such close proximity with such a vast number of people. Cruiseliners carry thousands of passengers and can be very difficult to social-distance. Moreover, it beats the point. The point of going on a cruise is to enjoy traveling with others and being together on the seas.
Travel is a significant contributor to quality of life, and we should all travel as much as possible and see the world. The most amazing thing about travel is that it will never cease to amaze. There will always be things to discover, places to see, cultures to learn, and activities to enjoy. As such, we should all give ourselves a break. We should indulge, albeit for a while, in the good things in life. You should always do your research, have enough finances, and be eager to discover and explore. Travel can be expensive, but with adequate planning and research, it can get done at a reasonable price. To offset the cost, individuals can travel with their friends and get better deals as a group. There are also accommodation apps, such as Airbnb. These allow for flexibility in the places to live while away, and also for how long to stay, and at what standard of accommodation. It makes it very easy to travel to any city or location in the world at the right price and for as long as you would want.
Travel should always be pre-planned, and it is still necessary to have a backup plan if the travel plans are interrupted. Interruptions can be in the form of bad weather, flight delays, protests or rioting, political unrest, among others. As such, every traveler should have an alternative plan for places to visit, when to visit them and what facilitations to reserve or book. In my view, a traveler should also make plans to have friends in the places they visit. Rather than hire a tour guide or a tour company, having individuals who are locals can vastly enhance the experience a traveler will have. Locals have intricate knowledge of their hometowns. They know where things are cheapest, the best eateries and restaurants, and can even offer accommodation for a small fee or even for free. Remember always to have the right and valid travel documents to ensure a smooth trip.
In terms of safety, every traveler should be careful not to visit places that are not public alone. You should always carry money in alternate forms and not cash, and even when carrying cash, it should be a reasonable amount for food or to buy souvenirs and the like. As always, one should never share their bank account details, and it is always prudent to avoid getting intoxicated while alone in a city one has visited. These measures are part of situational awareness and ensure personal security. In the off-chance, if something happens, one should always ensure that they have reported the incident to the relevant authorities and adhered to the laws of the place visited. In most instances, travel is safe, and with a tour company or the right accommodation, safety becomes catered for. Moreover, even generally, most places and destinations globally are safe, and there is adequate law enforcement and policing.
Be sure to explore, discover, and go on an adventure as far as possible. It is always a sign of good taste to send a postcard home or to just make a video or take photos of the place visited. Do not be shy to enjoy travel and to soak in or imbibe the beauty of our beautiful planet. Mother nature has so much to offer, and with enough knowledge on where to look, you will be surprised by the beauty of planet earth. We are all tuned to travel, and we all inherently seek adventure. As such, being young and free, it is the perfect time to strap on and get going.