10 horribly lame excuses people make when you ask them to travel within Pakistan
I have been travelling all across Pakistan for a few years now. It’s feasible for me to travel within the country considering my low budget and nominal income, as travelling within Pakistan compared to travelling abroad is cheaper, and believe it or not – it’s safe too.
My admirers appreciate my lifestyle as I explore the diversity and beauty of Pakistan. They express their desire on wanting to experience the same adventure, yet come up with excuses not to, and end up travelling abroad instead. Excuses like, my dog ate my homework! Not literally, but their excuses fall under the same calibre.
I usually hear them say,
“Oh I have been to Thailand twice and once to Malaysia and Turkey. I have also seen quite a few countries in Europe. But in Pakistan, I have just visited Lahore and Karachi, that too for work. Oh yes, I went to Islamabad once during my childhood.”
Here are the excuses that I have come across when I advise people to explore Pakistan:
1. “Halaat kharab hain” (The law and order situation of the country is disturbing)
These are the city dwellers. The halaat (situation) is their strongest excuse. They think something will happen to them if they travel within Pakistan. Of course, that is not their fault; the media makes them think that way, although the reality is pretty different. Everyone in the country faces the same problems as you do.
So what if your phone got snatched at gunpoint in Karachi? You still live in Karachi, right?
2. Leaving their comfort zone
“I don’t know if there are any good hotels there. I don’t know if I can find WiFi there. Can I check my emails while going to the base camp of K2?”
Do I need to say anything?
Stay at home!
3. Lack of proper infrastructure
“You know the roads, and domestic flights usually get cancelled. Hence isn’t it better to take an overnight flight to Bangkok than a road trip on the Karakoram highway?”
4. I don’t have the budget
Oh, so what about your last vacation to Thailand? You probably need half that amount to go to the base camp of K2.
I say, yes, you should travel to other countries, but don’t make excuses when it comes to exploring your own country.
Pakistan has unique diversity. There’s the coastal area of the south, the Sufi shrines in Sindh and Punjab, the green mountains of Kashmir, the high snow-capped peaks of Baltistan and so on. And the good news is that these places are safe with the availability of hotels. So don’t neglect the beauty of your country based on such superstitions.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that criminal activities do not exist in these places – they do. That being said, do you know the crime rate of Bangkok in specific, with reference to tourists? And what about the cities you live in?
5. I would need a male escort
Women often use the excuse that they cannot travel alone in Pakistan. And how they are not viewed or treated the same as men etc.
But I beg to differ with this stereotypical stance. If you make reservations in rest houses in advance or join a group of travellers, you won’t be alone. You will be able to socialise with new people and discover the beauty of Pakistan without having to drag your brother everywhere you go. I do understand that it’s not easy, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to restrict yourselves. Having said that, I know a couple of Pakistani women who travel on their own. And yes, they are still alive and healthy.
6. I will get lost
Yes, you will, if you are a toddler. But if you know how to use the GPS, why would you get lost? And if you don’t know how to use that then perhaps ask around for directions? It really isn’t rocket science, guys.
7. I am too young to travel/ I am too old to travel
Too young to travel is the lamest excuse of them all. Are you planning to trek Nangaparbat when you start showing symptoms of arthritis? No! Seriously! Do it now when you have the strength, energy and enthusiasm to explore and enjoy all adventures!
And for those who say they are too old – unless you are bed ridden with half a dozen diseases dragging you to your eternal fate, this excuse too, is unacceptable. No one is too old to travel. If nothing else, just go sight-seeing.
8. It is difficult to travel with kids
Let’s get this straight. Kids are difficult to handle because they are kids. They can’t take care of themselves and constantly have to be looked after. Either you leave your kids with your parents or take them along and share the responsibility with your spouse. I would recommend that you take them along so they can also learn from the experience. I still remember my father taking us on road trips across Pakistan during our childhood, just so we could appreciate the country we live in. And they were some of the most memorable moments of my childhood.
9. I will get traveler’s tummy
Let me get on thing clear, the food you eat at home isn’t necessarily safer than the food abroad; yes it is more hygienic, but your body isn’t always accustomed to keeping down food that’s been cooked elsewhere. I encourage people to be open to sampling food, but also make sure you eat healthy. Know the difference between sampling and treating yourself.
10. I will have to pack a lot
No. You don’t have to. Just pack the basics and get going!
Here is what I take with me:
Can you think of more excuses? Then post them in the comments section and trust me, I will respond to each one of them.
All photos by Danial Shah.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.