The preparations involved in traveling overseas is arduous. A number of students after going through the hurdle to secure a visa, pay for their flight and many other traveling essentials, are met with one task; “buy me something when you’re coming back o”.
A few years ago, my classmates and I travelled to China. In my school, we had financial obligations such as paying for our electricity, feeding ourselves, buying stationery, and many other financial obligations we had to meet.
Some of us received monthly allowances, but charle, we had plans to save and bring a lot of money back home. We had to enjoy our stay too because our time was limited. We had just one academic year to make all our plans a success.
I’ve always seen and heard some people lament about how it seems their friends and family oblige them to get them a gift or two on their return from a trip.
About a few months to return to Ghana, I realized I couldn’t get for everyone what they demanded of me. I had a loooong list. And I kept getting reminders too, one text message will read, “if you don’t buy me something don’t return o” or “abi iPhones are cheaper in China, buy me one as a gift eerh”. Another will say, make sure you get me something o” or “Your shoes look good, buy me one please.” I perceived some of the requests as jokes until they got persistent. Some people sent reminders anytime they got the opportunity to send you a message. Interestingly, most of my friends encountered similar situations and requests. It seemed as though all our missing ‘friends and family’ finally found us.
One evening, as our return date was getting closer, I sat on my bed, thinking “so couldn’t all these people have given me a tangible gift when I was preparing to travel”? Or patiently wait for my arrival and accept any gift I got for them if I did? Why do others expect expensive gifts from people who travel away from home?
The situation is not different for people who travel within Ghana. In a recent conversation with a friend, he was lamenting about how he has decided to stay in Accra for long because traveling back home in the full glare of “friends and family” will cost him a fortune.
Most people assume riches and everything pleasant is attached to the voyager, but no! At least not in my case and that of my classmates.
So the next time you hear the news of a friend coming back home, kindly wish them a safe journey and keep your expectations as low as possible!