Travelling can be a great teacher. It’s filled with both, good and evil. In fact, so much, that I firmly believe it could inspire Dante Alighieri to write another part of his ‘Divine comedy’.Chances are: if you traveled a lot you probably fell a victim to at least one of the seven deadly sins of travel. If you haven’t traveled that much, use these warnings and follow the redemption suggestions. Do you commit these 7 deadly sins while traveling?
I get it. You traveled a lot. You’re proud of it. However, no one likes the arrogant traveler. And no, this isn’t about the stubborn husband refusing to ask for directions. The proud traveler stores his pride in stereotypes and prejudice about a country. There’s nothing that can ruin your trip like a closed mind. For example, if you go to India with a closed mind, you will only see smelly streets, garbage, and cows on the street. If you open your mind, you will be rewarded with a life-changing experience.
How to fight it
The best cure for pride is humility. Show respect for the people around you and their culture. You don’t have to agree with it. You don’t have to accept it. Just RESPECT it. The whole point of traveling is to broaden your horizons. And teach you things you can’t learn back home. Not to brag to your friends about the places you visited.
It’s in our nature to want to be better than everyone else. But competing with other travelers and comparing your journey with theirs might just make you feel miserable and ruin your trip. You will see people that visited more places than you. You will see people that stayed in one place longer and were there when the beach weather was perfect. They saw lions on their safari, while all you saw was a peaceful herd of gazelle. They’ve seen the craziest parties on that island, while you’re stuck there in the offseason.
How to fight it
Things like this will always happen. There will always be people that seen more and experienced more than you. I know it’s really difficult when someone says: ‘Oh man, you should have been here last week’. The beach weather was perfect and we partied with Victoria’s Secret models… But instead of getting envious, talk to them and use their knowledge. They can probably give you a lot of useful tips about your future trip. The best restaurants, the best bars, the cheapest way to go. Rise above your envy and you might even make some new friends.
Related: how to deal with post-travel depression?
You can’t plan every detail when you’re traveling. This is one of the main reasons for the ‘travel wrath’. Many people think they can squeeze in a few more activities on your trip. But you’re not a character in Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in 80 days’. Not everything is up to you. On the road, there are hundreds of things you can’t control. Anything can go wrong.
You’re sitting next to a huge person on the flight. Or god forbid, a crying baby! Your hiking trip is spoiled by rain and you’re only there for a couple of days. All the people on the cruise get food poisoning. You’re charged ‘the tourist price’ for something that’s clearly not worth it. People look at you as a walking $100 bill. Things like these can happen all the time.
How to fight it?
This one is a cliche but it’s true. The best way to fight wrath is with patience. Understand that you’re away from your home and things work differently here. But, if wrath gets a hold of you, it’s hard to get rid of it. And you only have a limited time to be in this place. Maybe you’ll never get the chance to see it again. What I suggest is to try and channelize your negative energy in another direction. Go for a run, get drunk, go karaoke or dancing, meet some local girls/guys. And don’t forget, most people stay in the same corner of the world for most of their lives. You’re lucky to have the chance to travel. So make the most out of it.
Related: myth-busting: no one really gets paid to travel the world.
Now, you might think: Lying down on the beach all day is the perfect vacation. How is this possibly a sin? The sin is in the extremes. You would be surprised at the number of people I met that never used to leave their hotel/resort and the pool. Needless to say, if you do this, you are missing out on a potentially amazing experience. I know that if you’re used to expensive things and are staying in a 5-star hotel you might not be tempted to go out in the dirty streets.
However, you can find 5-star hotels everywhere. What you can’t find is the ultimate local experience. The way these people live. The way they do things. I know you don’t think much of those things, but trust me, experiencing them can be a great life teacher.
How to fight it?
There really isn’t a way to fight it if sloth is part of your personality. If you don’t want to explore the place, there’s little to be done there. I can only think of a couple of things. Find a travel buddy that’s much more enthusiastic and will literally force you to join him/her on an adventure. Alternatively, try to combine your laziness with local activities (Ex. go for a local-style massage).
A jack of all things is a master of nothing. I mean, sure traveling is about letting your hair down. But that doesn’ mean you should be extreme about it. Maybe you’ll love the local food. In fact, so much that you can’t stop eating. It won’t help if the serving dishes are small. And it’s not just about food. The more things you put on your agenda, the less time you will have to spend actually enjoying them. Besides, how much fan can you really have if you’re out running from one place to the next the whole day? Or overstuff yourself with food and can’t move away from your hotel bed?
How to fight it?
The best way to fight gluttony is with temperance: take out a few things off the list. Do the things you feel would bring you the most joy. Don’t listen to the tour guides. You don’t have to experience everything in a short frame. You will be just too exhausted to really experience and enjoy the things that you are doing.
There are a lot of people out there that want to travel only for the sake of being able to say that they visited every country in the world. And these people want to do everything in a rush. Just like in Jules Verne’s ‘Around the world in 80 days’. But your life isn’t a novel. And you’re not trying to prove the Reform club that that’s possible. Are you?
What I’m trying to say is you can’t fully experience everything on the fly. Sure, Phileas Fogg had a lot of adventures. But he was a fictional novel character. If you’re trying to rush through everything, oftentimes you will miss out on some amazing things which are in front of your nose. Most of the greedy travelers probably visited more than 60 countries. But they didn’t travel around their country much…
How to fight it?
Being greedy leads to wrath most of the time. Because things will almost never work out according to your plan. Because you’re trying to do too much with too less. There’s nothing much that I can say to help greedy travelers. Except to recommend them to go for bus tours. That’s the best way to cover a lot in a short timeframe.
There are a few different types of lust you will encounter while traveling. And most of the time, lust isn’t bad. But there are some situations in which you shouldn’t pursue it. Don’t let your lust make you take out your frustration on someone that doesn’t deserve it. Like the airline employees at the counter when a flight is delayed or you’re waiting in a long queue and you’re in a rush. Or the flight attendant when you’re sitting next to a crying toddler. The bus driver that keeps making stops and you’re running on a tight schedule. Even though this one might be hard. Another common one is snapping at locals greeting you on the street just because you’ve fallen a victim of a scan before that begun in a similar way.
How to fight it?
Like I said, lust can be positive at times. If you use your lust as a driver, it can lead you to some amazing experiences. No doubt about it. But don’t let your lust get the better of you when things aren’t going as planned. Go back to the Pride section. Read the caps-locked word: Respect. All human beings deserve that. Think about that before you snap at someone that doesn’t deserve it. And think how would you feel if the roles were reversed.
Which one of these travel sins is the hardest one to overcome in your opinion? Let me know what you think.