Foreign travel could be a total bliss. It also could present an infinite number of questions that easily overflow into a problematic situation.
Obviously, each of us must do a thorough research and self-education on the country or world region we are heading to. Depending on our travel destination, we are forced to ask different questions. But main concern should be safety, then everything else that is included into a travel itinerary.
Just a few days ago, I came from a vast tour of several countries. One of them was Russia. I had a chance to visit several cities, Moscow, the capital of Russia, included.
Upfront, I had to prepare for this trip thoroughly. Here’s what I took into consideration.
A Local Persons(s) With Thorough Knowledge of Culture and Locale
To take advantage of any trip, we gotta go with a tourist group that is being arranged and organized and provided for. Or as an alternative to a group tour, a trip as a private tourist calls for a private tour guide who knows ins and outs and could be your protection in an emergency. I’ve picked such people before I left the country. Traveling with a child calls for so many details and accommodations during any trip. I wanted to make sure I had a good cover for such.
For example, I was taking a great concern of food and water. Even safe for local population, foreign food could easily become foreign to a tourist’s stomach. What we ate and where was a very important point to me.
A More Intimate Feel Of A Political And Social Atmosphere
To get a feel of a situation and local happenings, I started following the events and country’s news about two months before a trip. What that had given me was an incredible insight into the country’s people and their behavior. I tried to read news from the same country provided by many agencies, not just Russian, but also foreign. The blending of differences and similarities of reporting wove a picture in my mind’s eye and became part of my psyche. Do not disregard the reporting media, as it could be an invaluable helpful tool in your better understanding the psychology of the people of the part of the world you plan to take your foreign travel to.
Once Inside The Country, Exude Confidence
It is of utmost importance to look and feel comfortable when walking among the nationals of a foreign country. Stay free of paranoia and fear. Notice things. Be alert. Just don’t panic or feel anxious all the time. People are good. People are always ready to help, if something happens, as life always full of surprises of different sorts.
The feel, the look, the total ambiance of this corner of the world – Russia –is breathtaking. The work has been done to clean up the streets from garbage and a gazillion of shopping kiosks that were owned by small entrepreneurial type of distributors (often they held illegal licenses for business.) The facade of the city is impeccably beautiful, filled with restored churches neighboring McDonald’s and other busy public places.
But behind this deep and massive beauty, hide away the life and tribulations of people who live through their daily lives.
I was watching the congregation that delved in and out of church building. All of them carried a heavy demeanor of hard life, no matter which walk of life they came from. You need to know that Russian people are full of mystery to those who was born outside this country. To truly know and understand their actions, you gotta feel the Russian soul. And without active residence within the country, it’s an impossible thing to do.
And, look, here’s McDonald’s happily offering fast food to everybody who can buy it! To compare the look and prices, I dove inside one of them. To give you an idea, Happy Meal there costs about $1.50 less than in the States. Other items seemed to be less expensive as well. But such price comparison is relative, as an average Russian earns much less than an American. One more interesting fact about McDonald’s prices. Some cities have 4-5 times higher prices on a simple ice-cream cone than Moscow or St. Petersburg. Why? I could only guess: Demand is much higher for this fast food item.
You gotta have private transportation when traveling in Russia. It would be impossible for us to get anywhere fast and more efficiently without a car. But do not dare to rent one! I got some knowledge and facts on rentals, and it’s a scary thing to do. The time has not come yet to be a comfortable car renter in Russia.
The look of wide streets and local city roads is mesmerizing! The lower levels of almost every building is used for commercial purposes. The Grandeur of older, from Stalin era buildings is breathtaking. Restored and well-taken care of, such flats or apartments like we call them here, can easily cost you a million dollars for one-room or even a studio type size. Yes, location does matter. The old Moscow does not exist any more. The city limits have already outgrown the historic center many times. Some of the smaller cities nearby Moscow have been officially incorporated into the city’s landscape. The construction industry is thriving. Not everybody can afford an apartment in the newly erected structures though.
I loved every moment of my month of foreign travel filled with emotions, meetings with people, and active observation of life in different cultures.
What we tend easily to forget is that people can connect on different levels, speaking different languages. One language that unites us all is a language of compassion and unconditional love and acceptance for who we are. Such connections are stripped off any judgment and tend to lead to a deeper understanding first, and then, as a higher level of human emotional evolution, to a sincere acceptance of people who are different in their lifestyle than we are. But who are still people like us.
Do your homework well before heading out of the country and into your foreign travel expedition. But once inside a different culture, allow yourself to open up to take inside of you all that those people and their culture have to offer to anyone who freely wants it.
Topic: Foreign Travel