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Lessons from TAR

Two versions of The Amazing Race are currently being aired – The Amazing Race 17 and The Amazing Race Asia 4. I have been following the shows quite faithfully for quite a few seasons now, and these are little things that I have learned from watching the contestants travelling under tremedous amount of pressure to be a step ahead at every turn from their fellow competitors.

1. It absolutely pays to travel light. It’ll get you in and out of the airport quickly while minimising the issues of missing luggage, tampered content, worrying if it got transferred between flights on time etc. Definitely no waiting at the caroussel for the luggage to appear, not that anyone would choose to check-in anything in TAR!

2. Look after your belongings well, especially when it comes to passport, wallet and travel tickets. Ideally one should not lose anything at all, except the sense of the unknown, when moving from one place to another.

3. Knowing random words/phrases in local language goes a long way. If you don’t speak it at all, then make an effort to pick them up. Please, for goodness’ sake, don’t talk in English loudly and slowly with an incredulous look on the face as if the other person is imbecile. That’s just rude.

4. Be gracious. Not everywhere you go will live up to your expectation but muttering loudly “this place totally sucks” will not endear you to anyone in the vicinity. And don’t follow up with “these people are idiots” or the likes. Have you realise that you are the one right now behaving like an idiot?

5. Ladies, especially the blonde ones, stop kissing random strangers in gratitude. Or use that as a trade-off for them to help you. Sure it’s a “strategy” to win tasks and all, but you’re just reaffirming the stereotype that blondes/foreign women are “easy” and it’s not doing you or fellow (blonde) female travellers any favour.

6. Conflicts on the road are sometimes inevitable, even between family and/or the best of friends. For non-TAR folks, it is perfectly alright to do things individually and meet up again later. No two (or more) travellers are attached to the hips like Siamese twins.

7. Don’t do a round the world trip in 20 days. Don’t even do 5 countries in one continent in 10 days (such tour groups should be banned). You will be exhausted and hardly have time to enjoy anything at all. You’ll end up paying a fortune for the privilege to spend more time getting from one place to another than experiencing the country and its offerings.

Category: Musing

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