Tags Posts tagged with "american"

american

Top 10 Things Americans have told me when I tell them I travel

Top 10 Things Americans Have Told Me When I Tell Them I Travel

 

As an American, I am often surprised at how ignorant some of my fellow Americans can be. We like to think that we are the best country in the world and that there is nothing to learn from other places. After traveling so much, I think I have a pretty educated opinion about how far from the truth this really is. Not to mention how unwilling Americans are to travel, so few in fact that only 36% of Americans even have a valid passport (which is a record high). That means that 64% can’t travel outside of the USA.

Over the years, I have heard some interesting comments about traveling. I’ve put together my top 10 favorites of what people have told me when I told them I was a traveler or about to travel so break out some popcorn and join me in some laughter.

 

 

  1. “Be careful in France, there are Muslims there.”

I could not hold back frustration and laughter when I was told this. Where do I even start? There are Muslims everywhere in the world even in our precious America. What this conversation escalated into was unbelievable. They proceeded to tell me that they were almost killed by Muslims and I proceeded to explain that someone who practices the Muslim religion is different than a terrorist. That is a huge problem here in the good old US of A. This is like saying don’t go to the south there are black people there. Okay, yes but how does that translate into danger? Go places and take in new cultures and new people, I promise it will make you a more educated individual.

 

  1. “You can’t go to Germany, ISIS is there looking to kill Americans.”

Haha! I can understand to an extent when someone tells me to be safe when I travel to a dangerous part of the world, not that it’ll stop me from going, however I am pretty sure that if ISIS really wanted to kill Americans, the first place they would look would be America, not Germany.

 

have told me when I tell them I travel

  1. “Don’t go there it isn’t safe.”

Is anywhere really safe? I’m from one of the largest cities in Southern California where we have major crime just like any other American metropolis. I am just as likely to be robbed where I grew up, as I am anywhere else in the world. But of course, I travel smart even at home. I’m not going to walk down a dark alley at night regardless of where I am. Traveling doesn’t mean you will be unsafe it just means that you should keep an extra eye out since you are not familiar with your surroundings, but you should do that anywhere.

 

  1. “Why would you leave the best country ever?”

Okay, assume that America IS the best country ever (oh and this does not make me unpatriotic). There are many countries that are amazing and even, get this, a few that could be perceived as better. For example, in Germany and Finland anyone, even a foreigner, can get a free education. They do this because they believe (and so do I) that in the long run those educated people will help their economy and community even if they do not decide to stay after their studies. They believe in the overall good of the people, regardless of where you are from. Don’t get me wrong, America is a great country and I will always be thankful to have been born and raised here, but we could learn a lot from other countries as well.

Leaving America to see a new place doesn’t take away from our pride. If anything you will return home having a new appreciated love for our country. After living in another country I came back home to the USA. I love it here and I believe that that life experience made me a stronger person. Just because you leave doesn’t mean you can’t come back.

 

  1. “Haven’t you seen the movie Taken? You shouldn’t travel.”

In all honestly I have not seen this movie, but I feel like I have because of how many people have told me about it. Yes, bad things happen but they can happen anywhere and it should not keep you from experiencing new places. This is also why Hollywood has way too much power on how we perceive the world. Just because you travel doesn’t mean you will find yourself in the middle of a Michael Bay movie. This is one hypothetical situation that some scriptwriter thought would bring in ticket sales. Come on now.

 

gallery_008

  1. “Don’t go to Egypt, they had a revolution.”

Egypt has been on the top of my bucket list for well pretty much my whole life. I ended up going in 2014, which was 3 years after the revolution. So when I had the opportunity to go, I wasn’t going to hesitate. So many of my friends and family begged me not to go. I couldn’t understand why. Yes I do understand that some places have governments that are not as stable as we consider our own to be, yet that does not necessarily mean that the country is unsafe. Egypt has been going through many transitions but after talking to friends who live there and friends who had traveled there I was never concerned. And I was right. It was a great place to visit and I never felt unsafe. They are dying for tourism due to this this stigma and we were welcomed with open arms. If you ever get the chance it is a great place to visit with a vast history and great people.

 

  1. “You’re just leaving to avoid paying taxes.”

This was told to me when I first moved to Thailand. I ended up living there for two years and yes I paid taxes in the US for both of those years. The USA is only one of two countries that, if you are a citizen you must pay taxes, unless you are paying taxes in that country you live in and if US has an exemption with that country for otherwise. When I moved to Thailand I was ridiculed for abandoning my country to avoid paying taxes. I was living in Thailand legally and paying taxes in my home country that I didn’t live in. I would never try to avoid paying for my home country, however many Americans that are expats in a foreign country are denouncing their citizenship because of paying taxes that do not benefit them. In any other place (except the USA and one other country) you only pay taxes in the country you live in, regardless of where you are a citizen, which makes sense to me.

have told me when I tell them I travel 

  1. “You are unpatriotic if you leave America” 

Unpatriotic? Don’t get me wrong, I love my home country and I am very proud to be American, yet that doesn’t mean I have to stay here my whole life. If anything traveling has made me appreciate where I come from even more than I did before. Plus, we could all learn a lot by understanding and experiencing new cultures. Saying that someone is unpatriotic because they leave to go experience somewhere new is ignorant. We love to show off that we are “the freest country in the world” (which is not true), yet we are criticized if we leave? If I’m so free then why are my fellow Americans giving me shit for traveling?

 

  1. “You moved to Thailand? I give it two weeks before you’re a sex worker.”

Okay really? Are Americans that naive to think that anywhere that isn’t America is that evil? While yes, the sex industry is booming in Thailand it doesn’t mean that just because I go there I will be abducted. Or for that matter that I can’t pay my own way and would be forced into selling myself to make ends meet. Thailand is a beautiful country and while every country has problems with sex trafficking, it should never keep you from visiting. Plus you’d be surprised how much sex trafficking goes on in the USA, look it up, I dare you.

 

  1. “You are so lucky.”

This is the worst thing you could ever say to anyone that travels frequently. While yes, I am fortunate that I was raised in a family that encouraged me to follow my dreams, I did not win a golden ticket, no one handed me the life I live and no I am not rich and my family doesn’t not pay for my travel… I work. I work very hard in fact in order to travel. No one gave me this life, I fought for it thus I am not lucky. If it had been my dream to be an accountant and went to school and worked really hard for a good accounting job would you tell me I was lucky? I didn’t think so and my career choice is no different. Anyone can travel, however Americans choose not to. If you want to get out and see the world you can. Just find a way, book a ticket and do it!

 

 


 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 UPDATED: Taking A Chalkboard Around The World (PHOTOS)Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her best friend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world.

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more.

 

 

 

 

My Failed Trip To Cuba

My Failed Trip To Cuba

 

Traveling to Cuba has always been high up on my list. My grandfather moved to the US when he was 17 from Havana and I have always wanted to go and see what life was like for my family. You could say that I have this unique connection to a county I know very little about. I have this longing to understand the history, politics and more than anything meet the people. Cuba has a long history with the United States and although I still don’t understand everything, I do know that Cuba is calling my name.

As an American, traveling to Cuba isn’t as easy as it is for other nationalities. There is a trade embargo and our government doesn’t want us to contribute to their economy, which makes online booking impossible. I recently looked into what it would take and wanted to share some of what I have figured out.

 

cuba1
Cuba – Photo by Doug Wheller

Number 1:  You can’t book online.

If you want to go to Cuba and are American, you will soon realize that you cannot find any flights or hotels in any search engine. In 2009, Obama did try to ease the tension between Americans and Cubans and allowed flights to fly directly to Havana from Chicago and Miami, however you must have family living in Cuba and must go through all the hoops and inform the US Government of your trip. I have also heard that there is a waiting list and you might need a “tour guide” aka “babysitter” with you at all times while in Cuba. So even though you may think you can go from the US it still is much easier to go on your own through another country such as Mexico.

 

Number 2: Going though Mexico.

I recently took a trip to Cancun in hopes of jumping over to Havana to finally visit my family’s homeland. I knew that I would need cash, but didn’t know how much I would need for the flight. Little did I know how expensive Cancun is and how much it would cost to stay there.

There are three airlines that make the hour-long journey: Cubajet, Cubana and Aeromexico.  Once I arrived in Cancun, I tried to check the ticket desks, but soon realized they are rarely open and don’t stick to set hours, making it difficult to get any information.

cuba2
Trinidad, Cuba – Andrew Wragg

After talking to several cab drivers, I soon realized that everyone “knows a guy” which really means a middleman. Everyone wanted $400 per person for a round trip ticket. For an hour flight that seemed outrageous. That is like flying from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for $400! Without being about to book in advance and not being able to get any secure information through the airport, it was difficult to know what to do. In my case, I decided not to go and to save the money and enjoy my time in Cancun, which was also very expensive, but overall had a good trip.

I have also heard that you can to through Tijuana, although TJ right now may not be the best place to visit. You can get packages for around $700 that includes round trip airfare and all your hotels while in Cuba.

 

Number 3: Do what is right for you. 

For me, $400 was too much and I was not prepared for that high of an expense, but I do think it would be worth it to go. I will get there one day and no matter what you do or don’t do it is always important to do what is right for you. I never felt unsafe or that it wouldn’t be safe to go.

Parts of Cancun, some small islands off the coast, looked a lot like what I thought Cuba would be like and made me want to get there even more. Even as an American you can get to Cuba, many have and highly recommend it. You don’t need to worry about “getting in trouble” or that they wont let you in. They will not stamp your passport and as long as you go through another country you’ll be just fine.

 

Safe travels!

 

Images by Doug Wheller , Andrew Wragg & Flippinyank used under creative commons license. All photos have been altered. 

 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 Is Flying Safe? A Look Into Safety and the Recent Plane CrashesMarina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

 

 

 

SOCIAL

10,661FansLike
12,288FollowersFollow
2,429SubscribersSubscribe