I’ve been meaning to write this post since my last trip to the Balkans (Macedonia and Kosovo) that I still haven’t talked about in here. Back then I was buzzing with emotions and probably also with anger but as the time has passed everything just faded away. Now I’m in the Balkans again, travelling solo through Albania (and next Macedonia and Serbia), all the negativeness came back and I really need to get it out of my chest.
cafe in Pristina, Kosovo
I don’t know if this is only the Polish thing and if it is I’m sorry for bitching about my own nation. I hardly ever say bad things about my country and people but there are few exceptions and this is one of them.
Every time I meet a Polish people during my travels (and that’s especially if I’m in the Balkans or Caucasus…) one of the first questions after the usual what’s your name is how much was your ticket to this destination. And if I paid more that this person I’m always welcomed with a silly smile, like I’m a loser because I’ve spent 10€ more. And the ticket is just the top of the iceberg, then come questions about everything else: transportation, accommodation, entrance fee and so on, and so on.
Even in Transnistria, a country that doesn’t exist, you need to pay for things, with their own currency
During my last trip to Macedonia I met a fellow Polish traveler. Of course he immediately asked me how much I’m paying for the accommodation in Skopje. When I said 16€ he literally laughed at me as he paid half this price.
But he didn’t consider that I was staying directly in the center and had my own en suite room while he had to walk at least 20 minutes to the main sights and he was sharing a dorm room with 5 other people. He didn’t consider all the factors, only the price was important.
We’ve been stumbling across each other for the whole week and eventually were on the same flight from Pristina – every time we’ve met he always asked me about money, like there were no other interesting topics to discuss and he had any right to look inside my pocket. Maybe he tried to look cool in my eyes, showing me how cheap he can travel and how silly I am for not doing the same but honestly I found him simply stupid.
Skopje, Macedonia – one of my favorite cities to return to!
I’ve been having similar stories for ages. And I’m not the only one. Earlier this year when I was flying from Berlin to Croatia half of the plane were Polish people and I kept hearing conversations about ticket prices for all the time.
I’ve scored crazy cheap tickets there too, 20€ for return, but this didn’t mean I kept bragging everyone around and making fun of them if they paid more. Yet I’ve heard few more times when people laughed at their fellow passengers that they paid 25€ for one way ticket instead of 10€. Come on, 25€ is still very cheap for the international flight!
Or when a friend of mine (also a blogger, at Daleko Niedaleko, who currently lives in Zanzibar) decided to visit Uganda and shared her plans on her Facebook page she immediately got comments asking how much was the ticket. Of course she was judged that she has spent way too much money on it and she is crazy for paying that much (I don’t remember the price now but is it really important?) It was her money and she could do whatever she wanted to with them!!!
Now I’m solo in Albania and the country is full of Polish tourists. And I keep hearing these conversations for all the time: in the restaurants, when visiting sights or simply sitting on the beach. And they just drive me crazy!
Ewa’s picture from Uganda – gorillas are already a good reason to go there, aren’t they?
I don’t want to be a hypocrite here, I also used to travel on a very tight budget and counted every single penny. But I’ve never judged anyone and what they do with money they’ve earned. I still am a frugal traveler but I’m spending my money wise.
I’d stay in a cheaper accommodation but would pay extra for a private room. I’m looking at the location and prefer to be closer to sights. But if I feel like splurging every once in a while I don’t have a problem with that. I choose public transport over taxis and I do my research on restaurants but sometimes I’m willing to pay extra for a lovely view to accompany me with my meal or coffee (like right now as I’m sitting above the beach in Ksamil with the beautiful view of Ionian sea and Corfu island in Greece).
But these all are my mindful travel choices, no one but me should care about them and I really shouldn’t be explaining myself to anyone.
My view when writing this post in Ksamil, Albania
Recently one of my best friends wrote a perfect post telling how come he has money for travels. These were just few sentences that can be sum up with two words: I work and I save. And that’s the key to success.
I work really hard (sometimes too hard actually) so I can travel the world and write such random posts from places like Albania. And when I do travel I want it to be the way I choose it to be, even if it means spending a little bit extra that the lowest possible price.
But that’s my problem, not yours so stop caring about my (and everyone else) money and deal with your own finances! And if you want to spend as little as possible on your trips that’s more than fine for me! Just don’t try to make me feel guilty of what I’m doing with my money just because I’m different than you.
Have you also heard similar stories about your travels? Or maybe they are other things you hear that keep bugging you?
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