Before any Journey departure, I have a long check list of what to do/what to take. Rarely do I arrive to a foreign country without local currency, VIP arrival translates to tipping, begging for unscheduled help translates to a gratuity, ie in Scotland, after 50+ days of travel, I injured my hip- I struggled with carry on bags on the tarmac at small airports – those steep stairs up to a plane in heat or rain were a challenge – local cash is always appreciated. At every airport, my pockets are stuffed with small bills. Traversing three countries with different currency presented its own challenges – memorizing each currency and value.
In Morocco the dizzying 30 day Camel Caravan Two schedule sometimes left me fatigued, my driver and I developed many code phrases for the Journey, we had a code phrase for please, let the guide go, I’m tired; for tipping, it was simple blue or pink – use the Blue currency for your gratuity. It made me slightly dependent, but it relieved me of calculating rates at the end of a strenuous hiking or sightseeing day!
Turkish Lira may prove more daunting – the 5 Lira note equals .30. When I’m on my own and language barriers are challenging, I’ve been known to just open my wallet and let people take the necessary amount, fresh oregano from a farmer provides immense pleasure when I’m home recreating a local dish – I’m sure they have never taken too many pink or blue notes.
A small spice shop in Marrakesh that I frequented would pick out coins in my wallet – currency is mostly manageable, but coins, takes me so long to read the small font, please take the coins! One of my favorite photos of me is on a country lane in France, me with wallet open ‘negotiating’ a bag of walnuts from a local farmer! I’ll never forget the experience!
Memories and Experiences – are what I crave the most in my travel.