If I had a dollar for every time someone tells me, “you’re so lucky” in reference to my travels, I’ll probably have enough money to overcome one barrier listed in this post. Travel may seem like such an effortless act from the outside, but there are hurdles to overcome, at least for me.
While I am thankful for the privilege to travel, there are certain barriers that make it challenging for me to travel. Wondering what they are and how I overcome them? Keep on reading.
Topic: Five barriers I have to overcome to travel the world.
1.) Holding a “weak” passport
I talk a lot about my Nigerian passport and how it is sometimes frustrating to travel with. As I travel more, I find ways to navigate the challenges, but it doesn’t get easier. Having to apply for visas, get the proper documentation, and wait for a decision to be made, is quite discouraging, but I persist.
How I overcome: I have a solid travel plan for the year, apply for visas months in advance, and have a US visa that gives me access to some cool countries.
2.) Limited finances
I wish I had a ton of unlimited disposable income that I could put towards my travels but that isn’t the case. I am not a beneficiary of a special trust fund (sadly) and I have other life commitments and financial responsibilities to attend to. What this means is, funds are limited and must be allocated properly. While travel can be affordable, it isn’t exactly cheap.
How I overcome: I spend smart and plan properly. I also say no to activities I have no interest in. I try to minimize my daily expenses, and save as much as I can.
READ: How to fund your travels
3.) A full-time job
I work full time (Mondays through Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm) at a global technology company and spend most of my time at the office. Sometimes I wish I could travel for longer periods of time, but I have 22 days of paid vacation to work with. This results in shorter trips, limited travel time, and sometimes forfeiting travel plans for another time.
How I overcome: I put a solid plan in place at the start of every year and arrange vacations on long weekends to maximize my time off. I also take weekend trips and use up all my vacation time.
4.) The color of my skin
I haven’t been on the receiving end of any significant racial profiling while traveling but I will be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly conscious about the color of my skin while traveling to certain countries. The consciousness comes from knowing that there are certain stereotypes attached to people who look like me.
How I overcome: I try my best to be law-abiding, have all the proper documentation, and try to blend in as much as possible. This way, I can avoid any form of profiling as much as I can, or at least try to.
5.) My gender
Traveling as a woman is still somewhat a big deal and something to overcome, yes, in 2018. There are times when I have been catcalled while walking the streets of certain countries and been treated differently because of my gender. It also limits my travel experiences because I sometimes have to pass on experiencing the nightlife of a new city while traveling solo because of the possible risks associated.
How I overcome: By staying empowered with knowledge. Knowledge is my secret weapon, as well as being super vigilant and aware of my surroundings.
Regardless of the above mentioned barriers, I still love to travel because the experiences trump the drawbacks, ten times over. And you know what they say? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I hope you are inspired to go on adventures despite the possible hurdles you may have to cross.
“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” – An African Proverb
What about you? What barriers do you have to overcome to travel? I’ll love to hear from you in the comments below.
Until next time,
Thank you for reading,