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Practical side of traveling

I once read somewhere: Traveling is not your right, but your privilege in life. Somehow we have been holding on to it ever since - the awareness that when we leave the boundaries of our own home, city and country, everything we are used to and which is an integral part of our lives, no longer necessarily a part of life in suitcases.

What we know from our country very often stops to be so, and if we move into new cultures and people we have not met before, it is likely that many things will take on a different character and form. We do not have the right to have the same benefits as when we are in the country we come from, but we do have the right to find and take the best from everything.

Our criteria

There are countries and parts of the countries we dream of visiting that are on some fictitious lists, but in fact, when we choose where to go, we choose it by parameters:

  • what are the conditions of entry into the country concerned and in the light of the covid pandemic what are the restrictions and requirements for entry despite the pandemic

  • How safe is the country we are going to - here I also mean geological conditions, animals and plants that can pose a danger, crime (conflicts within the country), infectious diseases and the health system

  • How much is interesting in the country for us and our children

  • What is the cost of living where we want to be - from accommodation, food, transportation to attractions and other amenities

  • What does the trip cost: airline tickets, transfers, fuel and the like.

Let me explain.

We often talk about cultures, climate, languages ​​and only then about history, sights and what we can experience and learn in a particular country. It is important to us that our travels are slow moving and living in the country we are going to and not actively spending our time. It is our privilege because we have indefinite time (almost) available to those who only have a few weeks or months at their disposal.

Since we discovered slow traveling, our entire travel philosophy has changed. Before that, we traveled to the holidays: to take a break from life, work, stress and to get away from everyday life. And then it was important to spend all the time in the most efficient way: eat well, shop, have fun every day, see all the attractions. When we first visited and lived in Mauritius, we experienced slowness and joy in the breaks between activities. Staying in the same place for a long time gives the freedom to explore everything available right where we are, and to keep the stress of traveling, packing and changing places to a minimum.

We often live in the same place, in the same home, for at least a month, which has its economic advantages: airBnB and other rentals often offer discounts for longer stays.

When choosing a destination, in addition to the conditions required to obtain entry into the country: such as visas, forms, vaccines, etc., there are also travel costs. Airline tickets can often be found cheaper if you are not limited by travel dates. At or other internet travel portals you can often find the cheapest flights, a list of current restrictions and thus save both time and money when planning your trip.

The safety of living in a country is one of the most important criteria for us, especially with children, but we should also remain realistic and know that every trip is an exposure to risks. Often, when searching the internet for risks in a particular country, one should remain calm and know that one can really find an indescribable amount of garbage and noise on the internet that drowns out the real picture of things. For example, the Dominican Republic, where we are at the moment and which we have spent the last 3 months, is a frequent destination for American tourists, so one will often read about risks in DR from American portals that take the worst examples. When you also experience that DR shares an island with Haiti, you will immediately wonder what the risk of an earthquake is. Unfortunately, one will not immediately find clarifications about the killings of hotels or missing persons as extraordinary cases, nor information that the tectonic fissure lies beneath Haiti and does not pass through any part of the DR.

One does not immediately find information about friendly people, trained private clinics and doctors who are more than qualified to help and treat, as well as low costs for medicines and treatments.

Here are also no dangerous animals, malaria and similar tropical diseases are not common and in fact this country has a lower risk according to some of our criteria.

At no time here have we encountered fraud, theft and similar attendant risks of staying in a foreign country.

The cost of living, on the other hand, is very high here. Since everything is aimed at American tourists, they try very hard to get the last dollar out of their pocket. It is true that this is an island, so the price of food is very expensive, but therefore local groceries such as fruit and vegetables can still be bought relatively cheaply. Means of transport are expensive but necessary for movement because there are no sidewalks and it is not possible to walk even to nearby destinations. Local buses, called gua gua, are cheap, but I personally feel like I'm on a death march in them: I'm sure I can survive, but on the other hand, I can also get out pretty injured.

I can write a lot more about the cost of living. We try to travel cheap and avoid tourist attractions. For those who seem really valuable, we vote and decide together whether it pays off. Accommodation here is also expensive, but if you find local people and agencies, you can really save a lot. I find information through worldschooling groups on Facebook and through them I often find tips and people to help us find cheaper solutions.

Since we travel with children and a little comfort is still important to us, we choose cheap flights, but those that do not have too many transfers and too many waiting times between flights. Whenever possible, we also choose to fly in the evening, at night, because that way the children sleep at least as much as they can.

Our kids absolutely do not like to travel, just to move from destination to destination. All three have nausea in different means of transport, but in our eyes they tolerate it better than we could ever wish or expect. In case of transfers, waiting times and long flights, we always have the opportunity to see something on tablets, snacks, water and essential oils to alleviate transport difficulties. For our own safety, we always have vomit bags, extra clothes to change into, possibly a thin blanket to cover when sleeping. While smaller, wraps and breastfeeding were all we needed.

In other segments, we try to travel minimalistically with only the basic things needed and everything that can be easily discarded and replaced.

My personal dream is to replace suitcases with backpacks and one day have complete freedom of movement without much luxury and need.

For now it is only a dream and slowly we leave all unnecessary luggage.

Our next destination is Colombia.

What and how much would you like to read about choices, practices and the like regarding travel and stay in Colombia?

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Chiara Baroni
Chiara Baroni
Jun 20, 2022

Are you now in Columbia?

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