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The Playful Possibilities of Foreign Transportation

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When I was in Medellin, Colombia one of the most interesting aspects of the trip was the taxi drivers' aggressive (yet safe) driving. In fact, numerous times while winding through the scenic countryside, I noted how playful and fun it was to be driving in such a way. It felt like a mild roller coaster that (somehow) didn't make me carsick throughout the trip.

The experience made me think about other places I have been that created a similar experience. In Singapore, there were boats that remind me of the Venetian canal boats. When visiting India, transportation was incredibly fun if not quite scary. The fun I've had being transported from one place to another (and especially in the third world!) is one of the most relished parts of my vacations.

Yet, when my grandmother returned from France (which has one of the most enjoyable and efficient transport systems in the world), she was complaining. It was then I realized that my enjoyment from foreign transportation was a state of mind rather than a reality everyone enjoys.

Adventure, Play, and Growth

Almost everyone who travels has a sense of adventure when they begin. There is something adventurous about going out into an unknown place and learning to survive with language barriers, cultural differences, and a completely different way of doing things. It creates a lot of growth, but it can be a constant struggle or joy depending on your mindset.

The third world is particularly enjoyable when it comes to adventurous and playful transportation. Think of the "wild west" where regulations aren't enforced and transportation gets the job done (whether it is safe or not!). The "Xich lo" (cyclo) is famous in Vietnamese cities and can be an incredible thrill. The same can be said for bullet trains in China.

Don't Fear the Transport

When living in Poland, I visited the bus station and told them "I'll buy the cheapest bus ticket you have." It was to Ukraine and even though people told me no foreigners went on the bus system, I thought it would be a fun experience to have. Sure enough, on the way to Ukraine I was sitting next to car part smugglers! On the way back, they were so skeptical of my citizenship, they took me off the bus for an hour to question me!

Those are fun stories I never would have had if I didn't take an approach that the transportation to and within a destination is as important and full of potential as the destination itself.

Every aspect of your vacation should be relished to the fullest, but sometimes people make the mistake of thinking transportation is only a way to get from point A to point B. Especially for long trips, having this mentality makes it even harder to enjoy your vacation because so much of the time is spent with "dead time". So find a transportation method that sounds fun to you, be playful, adventurous, and enjoy every second of your vacation rather than just a portion.