This post was written by Susan McVey.
This quote reminds me very much of the first time I decided to go abroad. I was only 19, and very impressionable and listened closely to advice. I have since realized that people often give advice about things they haven’t experienced or know little about. It may sound rude, but it’s true.
While I was getting very excited to explore all the places I had only read about in history books, I was letting friends and family instill fear in my mind. When they learned I would be travelling abroad, a young woman who had never left the country, people only shared horror stories. They would say, have you seen this movie??? You will be taken advantage of or, worse yet, assaulted! There are a lot of thieves and drug lords in that area! I heard the craziest things from people. Though it may have made me more conscious of my surroundings, I definitely did not need that negative advice in the back of my mind.
Once I arrived in any particular country, I discovered that the advice I had been given was often the furthest thing from the truth. Not to say that there was never an aspect of danger or thievery, but in my mind it would’ve been better to hear that what you look for is what you will find. What I found were generous, curious, and helpful people. Though I saw riots, political rallies, and heard stories of others getting passports stolen, it didn’t mean that everywhere I looked or turned there was a bad situation or person lurking around the corner.
I had a wonderful experience and all the advice and knowledge others shared with me was quickly dismissed and laughed at. You truly have to take what you hear, read, and see with a grain of salt. Though your friends and family may be trying to protect you in their way, you need to find the truth yourself. Things often get twisted. Almost like when you were a child playing telephone, the message was never the same as when it began. Keep in mind that many people have false ideas about other countries and how the people there live. This is especially true when that person giving you advice is sitting in the comfort of their home and seeing little of their own surroundings.
You don’t know a lifestyle or culture till you experience it, so go and enjoy it to the fullest!