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Old 09-14-2013, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 16,131,074 times
Reputation: 6781

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I took my first real trip abroad to Costa Rica, at age 18, in April 2005, along with about 15 kids from my Spanish class and teachers. We spent the first week touring the country with an English-speaking guide, and then were thrown into our host family's arms for the second week, not reuniting until the day of our flight out. Even then, I had access to the internet through the ever-popular internet cafes; I could and did call home from payphones with calling cards; and I used ATM machines for cash, not "traveler's checks". By the time of my last journey abroad, to Mexico, in 2011, cell phones had become popular for vacations (even though I did not have one) and ubiquitous Wi-Fi in hotels and even some inter-city buses made staying in touch with people I knew almost the same as home (since I rarely actually see people I know nowadays, usually communicating with them through Facebook). The same is true or truer in Europe.

What was it like, for those of you who traveled abroad before the 2000's, in this respect? I imagine homesickness would have been a greater factor, as the only way of communicating with loved ones was through post or very expensive phone calls. I also imagine the lesser or non-acceptance of credit and debit cards and the sparsity of ATMs in most countries would have been a hurdle.
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:12 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
17,762 posts, read 10,457,561 times
Reputation: 24740
In 1964, at age 19, I found myself alone for a week in Greece. I had wrangled leave from the navy and wanted to strike out on my own. It was an unforgettable experience. I traveled all over Greece, making myself understood as well as I could. I don't speak any Greek. The people were kind, and went out of their way to help me order meals and find places to stay. As you said, the money I had was simply all the money I had.
Also, as you alluded, there was no real way to communicate with anyone, and, in fact, no one knew where I was or was expecting to hear from me. And it was not may last experience alone. I grew up without much of a family, and that installed an independence that has both served me well and caused me problems. I even went off to Viet Nam (67) and had no one in particular to tell. So I never made phone calls and rarely got letters from anyone.

There are actually a lot of people like me. I am not envious of this generation who stays in constant touch; I feel like too many people keep one foot in safe territory at all times and they never really venture forth to see what they are made of.
People deceive themselves about the number of people who really care about them, but what's worse, they have learned that "caring" means posting something in Facebook. And that's a shame.

You should try it. Go some place you always wanted to go. Leave your cell phone at home, and tell your contacts that they will not hear from you for a week. Then put yourself out there and see what you can do to get along just by relying on the people around you. You will be amazed!
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV, U.S.A.
10,975 posts, read 7,049,363 times
Reputation: 18870
I've traveled / lived overseas (Asia mostly) from 1980 off and on until 2004. One thing you find out quick is the best conversion rate. While living in Japan, the best rate was at the Japanese bank when you cashed in travelers checks. I also learned that you get a very good conversion rate when using credit cards, and had no qualms about charging purchases / meals.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:57 PM
 
31,371 posts, read 33,531,129 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
There are actually a lot of people like me. I am not envious of this generation who stays in constant touch; I feel like too many people keep one foot in safe territory at all times and they never really venture forth to see what they are made of.
People deceive themselves about the number of people who really care about them, but what's worse, they have learned that "caring" means posting something in Facebook. And that's a shame.

You should try it. Go some place you always wanted to go. Leave your cell phone at home, and tell your contacts that they will not hear from you for a week. Then put yourself out there and see what you can do to get along just by relying on the people around you. You will be amazed!
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:35 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
16,713 posts, read 19,485,257 times
Reputation: 34607
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post

What was it like, for those of you who traveled abroad before the 2000's, in this respect? I imagine homesickness would have been a greater factor, as the only way of communicating with loved ones was through post or very expensive phone calls. I also imagine the lesser or non-acceptance of credit and debit cards and the sparsity of ATMs in most countries would have been a hurdle.
Shoot, when I was a kid back in the 80s, and a young adult in the 90s, you became an independent individual every time you walked out the door of your house much less when traveling abroad. I spent months at camp as a kid with only a weekly letter to my parents, months in Europe as a teen with 'no' contact with parents (but I was staying with my extended family).

So what we did when separated from social contact with friends and family was seek contact with new people and cherish the limited contact with family.

There was an expression 'back in the day' that has little relevance today: Absence Makes the Heart grow Fonder
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:14 PM
 
Location: NW Indiana
1,407 posts, read 1,296,046 times
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I lived in Okinawa as a child in the 60s and Germany as a young teen in the 70s. Unless you had access to AFTRS (the US "Armed Forces Television and Radio Service") almost all of the TV was in the local language. I remember watch reruns of American TV show like Daktari with all German voices.

Communication with friends and family back in the United States was usually only by letter (for those who remember writing letters), with a long distance phone calls being pretty expensive.
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:31 PM
 
31,371 posts, read 33,531,129 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
So what we did when separated from social contact with friends and family was seek contact with new people and cherish the limited contact with family.


If you get home sick while traveling maybe you should just stay at home to begin with.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:27 AM
 
35,076 posts, read 35,579,247 times
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My family lived overseas for a part of my childhood. I remember writing handwritten letters to my grandmothers. The only time when someone would make an international phone call was during a true emergency of a life and death situation.

I remember visiting the USA and then returning overseas and those movies were not yet playing in the movie theaters (where I was living) for a few more months. Also there were local TV reruns of older American children's shows that I had seen some years before in the USA.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:42 AM
 
Location: Bishkek/Charleston
2,067 posts, read 2,011,688 times
Reputation: 1293
Viet Nam era; Wrote home to the folks every two weeks or so if you found time. Took two weeks for mail to get to them and 'if' they could write back right away, it'd take another two weeks to hear back from them. TV was out of the question, radio was only sometimes. No weather reports, every thing was word of mouth.
Now I'm over seas again, this time working as a contractor and boy have things changed. These troops today have a hard time believing me.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:26 AM
 
13,510 posts, read 15,392,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
...What was it like, for those of you who traveled abroad before the 2000's, in this respect? I imagine homesickness would have been a greater factor, as the only way of communicating with loved ones was through post or very expensive phone calls. I also imagine the lesser or non-acceptance of credit and debit cards and the sparsity of ATMs in most countries would have been a hurdle.
My traveling was done in the Sixties, Eighties and Nineties - except for one trip to the Caribbean, the rest were to Ireland or southern Europe.

As for money, I carried larger amounts of cash than anyone today would think of, though in those days and places costs were much, much lower and crime a rarity. I cashed travellers checks at banks.

As for communication, why the hell would anyone traveling abroad on vacation for a few weeks want to keep in personal touch with people back where they came from? "Homesickness"!!? On a vacation??? WTF, stay home until you can break the lip-lock on the nipple.

I sent postcards.

American and Brit travellers today are hilarious. I live in a scenic area, and I see them daily in the summer by the hundreds. And they pull up to some scenic spot or into an outdoor restaurant with a million dollar view, and the first thing they do is whip out a peek n poke gadget, turn their backs on the scenery and get in touch with back-home. Absolutely pathetic.
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