#SUITCASESTRUGGLES #2: Language Limits & Barriers

Language Barriers: When the struggle is real.
@LHenrixx #ExpressYourself #Travel #JetLife #Culture #Inspiration


Travel, though the epitome of escapism, can be a feat within itself. Solo travel, though also enjoyable and empowering, can also be an uphill struggle.      Solo travel as a WOMAN can be a molehill and a mountain. Especially within a different town. Or country. Or continent.

struggle isolated.gif

Or one step further, with an accent or a distinct LANGUAGE BARRIER. #TheStruggleIsImminent.


In my case, I moved 5,000+ miles (it really seemed longer with the 14 hour flight and 12 hour layover and all, but I digress) to Honduras – the world murder capital at the time-, on my lonesome, in order to teach the wonderful, borrowed, unnecessarily complex language of English. By my 5ft, fun-sized self.


My level of spoken Español, (though not required for the questionable job) is what I would describe as survival Spanish, however I could comfortably say that I was intermediate in reading/writing. On my travels, this presented a handful of issues as there were clearly language gaps that my survival Spanish and the local limited knowledge of English, could not facilitate. There are only so many hand gestures, demonstrations, drawings and alternate ways of asking a question you can use before you realize that A) The question/query/point is beyond comprehension…


or B) you just decide to give up.


Yet, I travelled via boat, public bus, taxi, plane and ferry, with my survival Spanish in tow and managed to navigate the country (and neighboring islands- Roatan stand up!) with an impressive level of ease. “How?” you ask?! Here’s how:

Many people I have encountered that were; bilingual or learning a language, entertaining a lover with a foreign language, the list goes on- revealed that when trying to convey something difficult, they became embarrassed because they either thought that they appeared unintelligent, or became shy, ran out ideas or even became frustrated.

The solution to this is simple: find another way to EXPRESS yourself (duh duh, duh duh duh duh duh, duh nuh, nuh nuh nuh nuh)! With an ounce of patience and sometimes creativity, (I had to use song lyrics, google translate- when Wi-Fi permitted-, doodling and high school drama techniques to explain myself at times)  push through the ego & push through the awkwardness. It is more admirable that you are trying to learn something new and like everything else, it takes time and creates invaluable lessons and memories.

In my case, I left almost feeling fluent enough star in my own novella or salsa down a runway.


Ever been in a compromising situation? How did you express yourself?

via Daily Prompt: Express


Author: LD Says..

Chronic Over-Eating Foodie. Creator of Words. Wanderer/Nomad. Weirdo. Hippy. Airborne. Goofball.

2 thoughts on “#SUITCASESTRUGGLES #2: Language Limits & Barriers”

  1. Been there more than once. I’ve traveled in China several times with almost no Mandarin. Drawings, gestures, smiles and lots of laughing at myself. Now that I have a translation app it feels like cheating.
    The lowest point was when an ATM swallowed my debit card and refused to cough it back up. I tried phoning the emergency number pointed out to me by helpful passers-by. I tried to get help from the information desk (I was at the Beijing Airport. Finally I parked myself and my luggage (I traveled light and there was room for me to sit at the end of the luggage cart), in front of the branch for the bank and waited for them to arrive. The Lonely Planet phrasebook had “the ATM swallowed my bank card” as one of the phrases, and I pointed to it then showed them a photograph of the guilty machine. (All did end well but my nerves were frayed a bit).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, I thought I replied! Funnily enough, I was going to move to China on two occasions with minimal Mandarin. I foresaw some of the above issues and even with video research, cue cards and everything, I see how it could easily end up as overwhelming. Dealing with that in China? Hats off to you! Totally agreed in reference to the translation apps! I can relate with the ATM struggles too. The language barriers during times of need/emergency are the worst! Bless your heart! Though these situations make us even more resilient, it definitely can throw you off! Hopefully these situations become more of a rarity for those that travel frequently.


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