We’re well into the middle of our month focusing on destinations in Asia and this week we’ve split articles between Asian cultural habits, where to go in China and two topics practical to travel, no matter where you’re going: Dealing with street harassment and whether or not teens should be allowed to travel alone.
Here’s what you may have missed:
This is a big topic and one that any seasoned traveler will have struggled with at some point or another in their journey. Whether it’s kids begging, and mobbing you for handouts, or unwanted attention from the opposite sex, or an overly aggressive sales pitch, it’s par for the course. But what do you do? Confront the person? Walk away? Is there anything a traveler can do to minimize the likelihood of harassment happening in the first place?
“Most of the advice in this list comes from interviews with female activists and travelers such as Kacie Lyn Kocher, director of the Istanbul branch of Hollaback!, a global movement to end street harassment. These women have provided me with the different techniques one can use to deal with this dismal reality. Though some of this advice may seem demanding, and perhaps a little unfriendly, keep in mind these are not rigid commandments. They are tips and techniques one can use if they feel the situation is appropriate.
And of course, though men don’t usually suffer from street harassment, they’re not immune to it. Most of these tips apply equally well for the male travelers who find themselves in a potentially threatening situation.”
Okay, let’s be honest: Some of the habits we encounter abroad seem down right odd when compared to our norms. That’s true no matter where you’re from or where you’re traveling. For western folks traveling to Asia for the first time, there are a few things that jump out as, well… different… and it’s better if we can be prepared ahead of time.
“To many travelers who have yet to explore this part of earth, Asia is like a whole new world of hot and spicy temptation. The strange smells, intriguing languages and exotic food all add to that culture-shock factor.
Despite the majestic temples, historical monuments and stunning scenery, most of your first trips to Asia would inevitably be dotted with bizarre encounters and shocking revelations of Asian habits. Some can be hard to swallow, while others are just pure weird.
Warning: this might cause some nausea or discomfort.”
Okay, editing this piece made me seriously long to go to China. I’ve always wanted to visit Harbin for the winter ice festivals, but I had no idea that Dailin had an international Beer Festival every summer! One of these days I’ll make it to the Islamic north of the country and visit the Tibetan monastery in Shangri-la. Someday.
“A couple of hours—and a couple of centuries—removed from the center of Beijing, this village is comprised of a collection of restored Ming- and Qing-dynasty courtyard homes. Tucked into the mountains, the village offers a glimpse into traditional rural life—the perfect day trip for those who find the gleaming skyscrapers and eight-lane Ring Roads of Beijing too modern.
If a few hours wandering the alleyways isn’t enough, visitors can stay overnight in one of the courtyard homes—many function as guesthouses—on a traditional kang bed heated from underneath with coal.”
This article is important if you have teens. They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for… or they could be, if given the chance to take calculated test flights and grow slowly outward. This article tackles the “why” of allowing teens to travel solo and dives into some very practical “how” tips for getting them ready and building their confidence and skill set. Written by a mama who has done it with her own kids.
“What would you say if I told you we let our daughter go backpacking “alone” with a group of other teenagers in Belize when she was just 14? Or that she spent six weeks in Europe riding trains with her boyfriend at 17? And Greyhounding the USA just before she turned 18?
What if I told you that our oldest son funded his own trip half way across the country to go live and work on a hydroponic farm (he wants to go into agriculture) for a month when he was just 13? The other interns were college students; he was the only teenager. Or that at 17 he crossed the Mediterranean and Atlantic under sail with a group of young people, without us?
Would you think I’m a terrible parent for sending my four kids, aged 10-16, out into the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand, alone, at night on a “sibling date?”
Do you think it’s irresponsible that we let our third child, at 15, plan and execute his first solo trip: a month to Guatemala, completely on his own. No program, no adult in charge, just the boy and his dedication to feeding malnourished kids in a village he loves? He did it on his own dime, without one single problem.”