#6: The Quick Guide for Indians Travelling Abroad

Konya – Pamukkale

So, you’ve got a lot of money and some breed of wanderlust bug has bitten you so much so that you decide to add to the coffers of another country. You book a trip online, get your ten thousandth passport stamped, and tell everyone who is willing to hear that you’re going abroad. Well and good. However, here’s a quick guide on how to behave when in a foreign country. Yes, even if it’s Bangladesh.

  1. Read about the place you’re visiting. It’s not like you’re going to Pakistan where you can stay put in Lahore and assume that you’re in Delhi. Nor is it like going to Ooty, where if you’re looking for some sort of familiarity you switch on the hotel TV and watch Arnab Goswami shout at prime time.
  2. Listen to your guide when he’s saying something. Repeat. Listen. Repeat.
  3. Don’t cheat people off money if they charge for toilet facilities. Just because you’re a cheat in India doesn’t mean you need to be a cheat abroad.
  4. If travelling in a group, respect other people’s time. If you’d rather not adhere to timelines, do not travel in a group. It’s that simple. That’s because, in India 5 minutes may mean half an hour, but outside 5 minutes means 5 minutes. Shocking, right?
  5. If travelling in a group, keep your headphone on for video calls. No one else except you wants to hear the flushing of your toilet that is back home.
  6. Don’t litter. Simply put: Ye tere baap ka ghar nahi hai.
  7. Say: I am not the center of the universe. Repeat. Repeat every morning.
  8. If you’re going to complain about the food, for God’s sake don’t say, “This is not Italian food,” when in Italy. (Unless you’re a food connoisseur.) Really? How do you know? There’s an easy fix to everything. If you want more spice ask for salt/black pepper/oregano/chilli flakes anything. Don’t tell the people of a country how to cook their food.
  9. It’s easy to get bored of local food abroad specially given the Indian palate. But that’s your problem, not that of the locals. Don’t starve yourself, just be innovative. If there is enough bread and too much salad, make a sandwich. If there is enough bread, cold cuts, and salad, make a better sandwich. (You’re welcome.) The point of travelling is not to find Indian food in every part of the globe. Frankly, that’s an extremely unreasonable expectation.
  10. Do something on the trip that you wouldn’t otherwise. Like be decent, for a change? Or read a map. Or drive around on your own. Or learn something that the locals do. Drinking too much booze and passing out does not qualify. You can do that at home while listening to Yo Yo Honey Singh as well.
  11. Talk to people of other nationalities. Even a simple “Where are you from?” should do. The idea is to shatter your ego that Bharat is not the only desh in the world. Sacchi.
  12. If you can get past, “Where are you from?” and hold a decent conversation with someone, you don’t need to continue reading this list.
  13. Almost all supermarkets at all petrol pumps (gas stations, if you want to call them so) are the same.
  14. Learn how to say ‘Thank you’ in the native language, and say it enough. If you could do that in India as well, that would be nice.
  15. Don’t display yourself as an absolute asshole by making fun of other people in Hindi, just because they don’t understand the language. You may think you’re too smart, but actually you’d be a prick.
  16. Leave your ego at home. You may be paying a lot of money to undertake this trip, doesn’t mean you bought the damned country.
  17. Observe. Stand back and watch how people go about. If at a public transport when unsure what to do, and if you’ve not read enough, observe what the locals do. Then, do it yourself.
  18. If you’re going to go all the way and on your own, start early.

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