The word foreigner means a person who doesn’t belong to a particular place or group, suggesting that you could be a foreigner while traveling or even in your own country.
There are a few different ways we can all be foreigners or travelers and they mostly range from working while travelling, studying while travelling, short-term visiting or holiday and of course Immigration which would mean that you are considered a foreigner too.
I’ve been traveling alone for the last year of my life and have been working while on my travels just to make the next destination, having to say more goodbyes than any man should. Once asking myself if you could travel for to long, losing all your roots and becoming a true nomad. My answer is that long term travel provides a very lonely existence and like anything in life it has it’s advantages and disadvantages.
Disadvantages of being a foreigner or Traveler:
The language barrier: Sure, we can all get by with a language barrier present with hand signals and basic one worded questions and answers although this can ultimately become frustrating when you want to deeply express your feelings or in desperate need of help and no one speaks your language. However, despite this, anyone can try and learn the language necessary but it takes time and effort in order to do this.
The Solitude and longing: This applies if you are travelling without those whom are most important to you. Let’s face it, as much as we would like to, we cannot always take all our loved ones on a trip, be it our parents, brothers or even pets. There will always be a void present when you are not with those who you can’t live without.
Being away for long periods of time: It disconnects us from our Family and Friends making it hard to reconnect when coming back home.
The cultural shock: Where ever we go we will all find how our own culture and morals differs to that of the location we are in, this can comes as a huge shock to some depending on the degree of difference which is present.
Legislation: Visa applications and the difference in the legal systems in which we are not used to, need I say more.
The cost involved in travelling: Spending time in another location than that we call home. The cost grows a lot more if we are on holiday as it is very difficult to budget whilst on holiday as we do not want to miss an experience and regret it if we can’t afford it within a budget.
Finding certain things and places: This particularly applies mostly to immigrants where we struggle to find certain things or places that we had in our previous country of residence, however this problem can also arise if we are travelling in any other way
Never visiting places with less or no recognition: We’ve all heard people speak of “hidden gems” this is what I am referring to. Everyone always goes to places they have heard or read about, we often miss out on hidden gems when following the beaten path. This is another reason you should follow my blog.
Being a victim of xenophobia: and discrimination due to stereotypes about our heritages or nationalities. (We are lucky if we have nationality some first come across while travelling like South Africans as we can paint a picture across the world of our nationality.)
Advantages of being a foreigner or Traveler:
The incredibly useful advantage of: using the excuse against the power, we all know that excuse of “sorry, I don’t understand, I only speak -input language-“ or “ sorry I didn’t know the laws here.”
The amount of new experiences: We gain enlarges our mind and spirit giving us the feeling of self-accomplishment and we become more open minded having learnt many things about different cultures and heritages from across the countries we visit
Learning a new language: Traveling makes it much easier learning a new language as it is involved in your day to day life, even if it is just a few words.
Long term travel is much more relaxing: unlike a quick holiday long term travel is a way different experience. It gives you the sensation of starting a new life.
Once having traveled: We often reflect on the flaws and strengths of our own country and compare it to the country we are or were visiting, this often brings us to conclude which is the better place and where we prefer being.
Meeting new people: making new friends and learning about other cultures, this broadens our image of the world and leads us into altering ourselves for the better and in meeting new people we get to know their vision of the world and how they think which is extremely enlightening.
The change of spirit: and the liberation that exists while travelling, Self-growth and finding one’s self and the opportunity to recreate your own life, even if it is just for a little while thus allowing us to approach our future with a different outlook on life.
After a debate me and my friends had on the effects of being a long term traveler in a foreign country I decided to write this blog, I want to say thank you to my friend Melissa for her help with this article as it was inspired by one of our conversations we had while travelling through Monaco.
Thank you for reading and safe travels.