Third World - To Fear or Not To Fear

Monday, January 07, 2013 0 Comments

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: Singapore :: Third World - To Fear or Not To Fear

Probably you’ve noticed it already. The list is obvious enough, right? It's my choice actually. Or maybe you’ve seen quite a few hints already, but you still want to confirm once and for all. In case you haven’t noticed, I’d reveal it: I like traveling to Third World Countries. You know, those countries which are branded as developing countries, or more like, poor and undeveloped. Of course we all know the true definition of third world countries, but for purposes of travels and stereotypes, let’s mull over these things together: Third World Countries – To Fear or Not To Fear.

Asia is predominantly third world. As vast and substantial as it is, there are still a lot of places here that are considered impoverished compared to other regions. But even with this clearly identifiable fact, this does not automatically translate to unhappiness or outright negativity (i.e. Happiness Planet Index showing how Asian countries are happy!). The other side of this coin is that Asia offers a lot of superb places to wander around, despite all the third world issues. It’s massively multi-cultural and enormously enigmatic. To fear traveling here is, well, is a clear waste of travel-slash-experience potential.  

Traveling to third world countries is a not-to-fear idea.

I come from a third world country, and now more than ever, after being exposed to the expat life in a first world country, when it comes to traveling, I am reminded of how much I appreciate the Philippines. Despite the constant hound of mishaps, issues, and “progress”, I still regard the traveling opportunities in this country for all its worth. It's not being nationalistic or pride per se. It's just: appreciation of the culture, the experience and the highlights it offer. Despite all the bad or neutral things involved in any third world country, I’d say the positives in traveling are truly worth savoring. Challenging, adventurous and one of a kind.

Think Philippines, Think Vietnam, Think Bangladesh, Think Laos, Think Sri Lanka – third world countries all have a different approach when it comes to upholding their travel; some very impressive, others very crude; some news-driven, some issue-filled. Bottom line is that they offer a raw approach on how they would want to show how much they love their country. It’s not as flashy and as modern as how the big power countries do it. It certainly is not as convenient either. But, just because they are sometimes short on these aspects, it doesn't mean they care less. If you look closely, you’ll see a truly unique mesh of cultures, experiences, and highlights worth understanding and experiencing. More often than not, these countries try, in as much as they can, to be resourceful and creative in this approach. They make do with what they have, even if they don’t have a lot. To me, this translates to their resiliency and authentic love for country.

Yes, it may be a big culture shock for some tourists or travelers who would visit a third world country, you know, like traveling to one place with a complicatedly crude infrastructure, or a scary transportation method. But these cons are also the very pros if perceived with good understanding of things. These cons are the very ingredients to a good travel adventure, given the right mindset and the open spirit. These cons can help create a good travel memory to keep for the rest of your life. For people who've traveled to third world countries, it certainly adds courage and confidence in them - in daring to conquer more travel adventures. Maybe, because they are backed up by a great third world travel experience. Or maybe because they've survived to tell the story. In any case, as they say, life is a daring adventure or nothing. So, don’t fear, just dare.

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Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 60 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the edges of after-office hours and (un)limited holidays.

For collaboration ideas, email bowdywanders@gmail.com.