Confessions of a traveler

Fri, 11, 18

Why do students whine all the time? Even traveling doesn’t make them happy.....


Why do students whine all the time? Even traveling doesn’t make them happy. We had a conversation with some students who have recently been to northern areas of Pakistan in their semester break. They aren’t interested in talking about their exposure to local culture, or new friends they made on the go, or the awe-inspiring landscape. All they want to talk about is the negative side of traveling.

Ready to break the bank?

“Today, we all are fascinated by the idea of traveling cheap! Because the only thing that stops young people from traveling is lack of money, right? Travel bloggers have a lot to say on this topic; in fact, their ideas are promising enough to inspire others to travel. But, in reality things are different. When you actually sit down to plan out your trip on a tight budget, you realize “cheap” isn’t an option here. You have to purchase tickets, book hotel rooms, pay restaurant bills, get a rental car, buy gifts and keep some extra money for unexpected expenses.

“As I have recently come back from Azad Kashmir, I can say that even traveling in your own country can be super expensive. I was told Rs 30, 000 would be the entire cost of the trip to Azad Kashmir; I thought it was the lowest amount I could pay for such an amazing trip.

“To my utter surprise, on the fifth day of our tour, we had almost run out of money. I tried to be as careful as I could with my spendings (no gifts for relatives, oops) and had to keep asking dad for more money. I also learned that cutting down on necessities while traveling is just buying yourself discomfort. And with that, you don’t actually make the most of your travel experience. Money is essential for achieving your travel goals.” (Ali Hussain, medical student)

Fights on the road

“Traveling in groups is not as exciting it looks. In fact, it could be extremely frustrating if the members of the group aren’t like-minded people. There is no way you won’t squabble! You make several decisions while traveling which requires everyone to be on the same page. Core decisions like, where to eat, which route to take, what destination to reach next can create tension among the members. Before considering to travel in a group, see what friends and relatives you would want to be with. Especially, keep away from people who are bound to disagree with each other and are into gossiping. Just one cranky bully in the group can ruin your entire adventure.

“The problem is sometimes you don’t know people until you travel with them. On one of our trips to northern areas of Pakistan, I got really annoyed by my friend’s attitude. He was too controlling! I tolerated him and tried my best to look at things positively but there is always a limit. When it was time to leave for Swat Valley, our last destination, he said we should skip that and leave for hometown instead because he was too tired to travel further. We had enough of his tantrums so we asked him to leave if he wanted to, so he left. If you know your friends aren’t cooperative, avoid traveling with them.” (Muneeb, B.Com student)

Camera - the killer of joy

“If you’re not a travel photographer, be crazy and just don’t bring your camera with you on the trip. I know you want to punch me in my face for this but seriously this is the best advice I could give as a traveler. First, why carry that expensive bulky DSLR when you can take photos with your smartphone! DSLR adds to your burden and there are security concerns, too. Second, for the “perfect” shot for your social media you end up wasting your precious time. You miss out on the real joy of looking at the picturesque landscape because you are too busy adjusting the lenses.

“And yeah, your friends will continuously bother you for taking their pictures. Sometimes you ignore them but you can’t do that all the time. So I do this mean thing: I deliberately take blurry and deeply unflattering photos of my friends. They curse me for that but who cares. Ditch the camera if you can!” (Rehan Ahmed, medical student)

Online travel advice

“There is a ton of travel advice available online, but it doesn’t mean all of that applies to your circumstances. Visa process is different in every country. Online advance booking may not work for all the hotels. Plus, there aren’t many authentic online resources for traveling in Pakistan. Don’t be lazy! Talk to people who travel often. Get details about visa process from the consulates; even travel agencies shouldn’t be trusted blindly. Don’t believe in everything that’s available online.” (Kauser Shaheen, B.A student)

The sin of gluttony

Munching all the time while traveling can get you in trouble. Since your body is trying to adapt to the weather and food you are eating, it can react negatively if you don’t eat mindfully. Don’t have more than two meals! Carry healthy snacks like nuts, biscuits and fruits to deal with hunger pangs. (Tayyaba, B.A student)

An exhausting pursuit

“Traveling is fun but exhausting! Especially when you have to walk hours a day or go hiking. Usually when we look at travel photos of other people, we don’t realize how much effort is involved there.

“But I can tell you with all the excursion and physical activity, homesickness begins to creep in. And, believe me, no matter how heavenly the places are, in a week or two, you would want to come back home.” (Ali Hussain)

“When we reached Passu cones after hiking for the entire day, our knees were pretty sore. We weren’t mentally prepared for that! We applied all sorts of analgesic balms we had carried with us and took hot shower to help our muscles loosen up.

“Knee pain has to be treated immediately otherwise it gets difficult to move around swiftly. Nobody wants to stay in bed while on a trip! Stretching helps prepare your knees to hike. And even after hiking, stretch your body so that your muscles don’t stiffen too much.” (Moona, student of English)

Traveling is a physically demanding activity so be ready for it.