(So Called ‘Travel Bible’)
One afternoon after having lunch in a floating restaurant in Inle Lake, the girl that approached us if she can join us on the boat tour (max. of 6 and we were just 4) were browsing her travel bible on where to go next after the tour. When she’s done, I asked if I could borrow it for a minute just to get accommodation choices in Mandalay since I’m headed there after the boat tour.
She was so surprised that I don’t have one and I’m traveling Myanmar on my own the first time. I said, I never had one since I started traveling. She asked, “How did you survive? I couldn’t go anywhere without it!”. I told her I use other alternatives like the Internet, maps, asking other travelers, and taking down notes. Even though I never had one, that doesn’t mean I didn’t get any help from it like how I asked her to get some hostel info on my next destination. In my mind, it was just not for me to be dependent on the book, and since I learned my lesson, I stopped doing things by the book.
I’ve seen people who suddenly appears so stupid just because that is what they read on the ‘bible’. They have forgot to use their own brain to figure things out like how prices would not be exactly the same as what’s written on the book because it took time from the time it was researched, written, published, and distributed. I saw several travelers who were just immature and stubborn dealing with the hostels and even restaurants about the price just because that was written, it’s silly to think its just a penny that they are fighting for and I know a penny will add up when you’re traveling but don’t be so naive and too insensitive of the locals too.
Yes, there are scammers, true. But that does not mean everyone is, and the more you think everyone is then they will be. I’ve had my share of scam stories too but t was because I didn’t listen to my instincts or simply I attracted it because if how I think. Really, it isn’t hard to travel without the ‘Travel Bible’, you just have to be resourceful and smart.
How to Survive Without The Travel Bible
- Research in advance. Use the Internet or even borrow friend’s or library’s travel bible for some helpful information you can use on your travels.
- Take down notes. It’s important to take down notes if you don’t have the ‘bible’ and even if you have, it’s easier to show the locals to read it on a piece of paper when asking directions.
- Be resourceful. Take advantage of the free maps most places offer for tourists, maps can save you money too than relying to locals’ information that might be inaccurate or misleading depending on their motivation.
- Staying in a hostel with free WiFi. If you have gadgets or computer always with you, it’s useful to stay in a place with free WiFi so that you can check the details around the area, places to go, how far, cheapest means of transportation, price ideas, photos of where you want to go, etc..
- Always smile, think positive. Always smile and be nice to locals, sure scammers are around but even they will think twice to scam you if you talk nicely, smile, and interact with them like they’re your friends. Honestly, I realized that during those moments I got scammed, it was because my aura shows negative vibes (either I’m tired, pissed off with the situation or someone I’m with). Which is why I suggest that you travel slowly which will at least lessen your stress (another negative vibe) and you’d appreciate more what’s around you. There’s always a way that you’ll get through it, in my case, I always have what I call ‘travel angels’ that appears whenever I’m helpless.
- Use your GPS, if you have. Not that it would give me all the details because it would rely on the details you feed it but GPS at least gives me an idea if we’re close to the town were headed, let’s say I’m on the 12 hour bus ride, at least I’d have an idea of how much estimated time I have to get there.