Why Traveling broke is Better Than Traveling Rich.

December 08, 2015 Wing N. 0 Comments

We always have a million excuses on why we can't do the things that we are passionate about, especially if that passion lies in travel.  The most common one is, I don't have enough money.  So I'm going to tell  you exactly why that should be a reason for you to travel.

Yes, traveling in luxury is comfortable, but it can also make you miss many things.  The convenience of having money will make it harder to explore and try new things.

1.Explore the world of a local, not a tourist. 

If you choose a fancy restaurant ranked highly by travel guides, you're probably going to miss out on the more authentic local cuisine in exchange for ambiance and comfort that you can find just as easily at home. 

Let me give you an example.  Even in a country as western as Australia, we were suggested by a tour guide to check out the recipient of "The World's Best Pizza" award called 400 Gradi.  The menu was overpriced, but we decided as Americans we have to at least experience this so-called "World's Best Pizza".  That was one of the worst pizzas we have tasted. For $22 that pizza wouldn't have filled me, a 5"1' tiny ass Asian girl.  When we opted for the local food that our Airbnb hosts suggests, we have always been able to find gems in the neighborhood.  From fish n chips and charcoal chicken shops, to real pizza shops.

Key: look for places locals eat at, try to avoid tourist traps. Cheap and delicious is the way to go.
Bonus: Save money!!!
back in 2011 when I was a student standing in front of a street stall in Seoul, Korea

2.Create your own map

You can't afford expensive tours, so the cheapest option is to go explore on your own. It is so much more personal when you have stumbled upon a hole in the wall shop with amazing food or a deserted temple filled with history.  The people and places you come across will help you create your own map in the world, something google maps can never replace.

We ran into this man doing a tuck pointing job on an old victorian home.  He happily shared his trade and we were just amazed at his work.

3. Meet the locals

You can often end up meeting strangers that become good friends and learn of cool hidden places that are not on travel magazines.

More than once now we have been shown various tools of travel and cool places to see from people we meet while we're simply wandering out and about.  We got to see things like native holy grounds and local waterholes that are not advertised.  We learned the local websites for the cheapest accomodation.  Most importantly, we got tips on where to find work.

Besides, the one thing that makes any place special are the people.  The sheer benefit of having random company is magical in itself.

4. learn a new language (even just a few phrases)

Chances are you don't speak the language of the country you travel to and you might want to learn a word or two.  Haggling and trying not to get ripped off is probably the best way to learn the basics of any language (greetings, numbers, etc).  I mean, the lesson fees are imbeded on how well you do, so you better bring on your best game.  On the other hand, if you had the dough and just checked in to some fancy hotel, even if you practiced a few words here and there, they'll be far gone by the end of the journey.  If you can't apply it, you'll never learn it.

Here is a photo of my friend Yui.  I met her at a kimono shop in Sapporo, Japan.  She said, "hey wanna try on a kimono?" and I was like, "sure why not?"  She spoke very little English and I spoke broken Japanese at the time. That was perfect and we were able to support each other in a language we wish to learn. We became friends and hung out.  She even came to my host family's home to help me cut my hair (she was previously a beautician.)

Moral of story is: People love helping you if you're open to them. Even if you have a language barrier and $0 in your pockets.

5. learn new skills

Since you're broke as @$#%, you'll need some income.  When in desperate times, people learn best.  I have never worked in the food industry and I have never used a sales pitch trying to sell a pair of $300 jeans to anybody before, but because I needed to work, I learned.  Are you asking "Why would I want to work in those jobs"? Working in new fields and new environments can teach you how to adapt quickly and hones your social skills.  It can come in very handy if you wish to establish connections with someone who had similar experiences or understand various business operations from the very bottom tier.  You also learn little things that can help your daily life ( I learned lots of recipes for various sauces and dishes in the kitchen).

We learned to make pies from scratch.

My point is, sometimes it's good to have less convinience, it just depends on how you look at it.  There is always something we can gain from any given situation.

Can you think of any perks on traveling broke?