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Question for Colleen

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Joined: 25 Jul 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 5:46 pm    Post subject: Question for Colleen Reply with quote

Hi Colleen,

I've recently returned to the US after living overseas for a few years. I know travel is supposed to open your mind and expose you to a greater understanding of the world at large.

My question to you is simply, how does one cope with an overseas experience that is NOT positive? Particularly one that winds up being abusive or traumatic or threatening enough to make you re-evaluate your desire to travel frequently? How do you jump back on the wagon?

Thanks for your advice.
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Joined: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:37 pm    Post subject: ah, yes. Reply with quote

Hi there,

I hope this response doesn't reach you too late. Your question strikes a chord with me, as I was recently on a trip that tested me in ways I never expected. My sister Molly and I attemtped to get from Dakar, Senegal to Bamako, Mali, by land transport, and it was the most grueling trip of my life. Between dehydration, motion sickness, and just being dirty, I had little energy to marvel at West Africa through the window. At one point, I turned to my sister and asked, "Oh Moll, will we call this the hell trip?"

And we do call it "the hell trip." But that doesn't mean I regret the journey. I think it made me a more savy traveler, a more realistic trip planner, and well, simply in touch with the roads of Africa. They're not smooth. They don't always want to travel on smooth roads. But sometimes I do, and in those instances, it's handy to know what conditions are like in certain parts of the world.

I'm offering this example because I don't know enough about your unpleasant experience to advise any sort of recovery. I do know that writing helps me process what I've seen in motion. It's a way of slowing down, trapping the stimuli in a space where I can make clearer sense of it.

For what it's worth, I empathize. I also hope the experience hasn't disheartened you and precluded further adventures.

Warm regards,
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Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:31 am    Post subject: Bad Times Tonic Reply with quote

Dear non-fiction-sequitur (and all other disheartened travelers),

It is certainly understandable to be apprehensive of future travel endeavors after experiencing a negative one! I believe the best way to cope with such experiences is to be thankful that you survived and let yourself de-stress in a comfortable environment. Find ways to sort through the experience mentally and emotionally - for Colleen that process is writing; for me, music. I think everyone has some activity or place that allows them to release the negative and retain the positive (church, running, howling at the moon, sitting on the beach, etc...) By sorting through the experience, you will eventually see that you have gained very useful knowledge that can be applied to the rest of your life. This knowledge is something that is very sacred - it is the essence of living. With the good comes the bad, and vice versa.

This may seem overly zen, but it is the overarching balance that I have come to expect out of life. Plus, now that you have experienced something very negative, the next trip, even a mediocre experience, will seem like the dream vacation! And who knows, maybe the next trip you take will be the best experience of your life. Not only will that cure you of your apprehension, but it will further shape your future traveling desires and transform you into a truly life-savvy traveler.

I wish you the best of luck and love!

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