Overland Borders are always unpredictable. They are vulnerable sometimes even if you are super-duper innocent. The security measures keep changing from time to time. Therefore, sufficient research and preparation are compulsory before reaching the borders. Some borders are only open for a few months in a year due to weather issues, example as Karkara Valey Border which only opens from June to October every year due to the extreme weather. The hassle and the danger in overland border crossing must not be compromised in any situation.
1. Proper Documents
Make sure you have acquired all documents such as visa, permit required by the visiting country before reaching the border. If the visa is to be granted on arrival, make sure you have prepared the passport size photographs in a few copies in advance preferably 2 copies for each country and other supporting documents required. Most of the overland borders doesn’t have the facility to take photos. Don’t overlook the information captured in your passport. We normally only care about the name and passport number. Keep in mind that a simple mistake of your height noted in the passport could easily lead to chaos, even a few centimeters just like what I faced at Laos-China border.
2. Operating Hours of The Borders
Since the security measures changes from time to time, the operating hours of the particular border changes too. Best way to know exactly, ask the local people, especially the truck drivers who are heading towards the border (if they are friendly ask for a hitchhike). Do not approach the taxi drivers. They may manipulate the information just to grab your money. Another ways is, try to google for the the Federal Council/Custom Department/Immigration Department of the particular country.
3. Be Confident, hide your nervousness
The chances for interrogation is very high during overland borders especially when you are solo or when you are a very uncommon traveler in that route. It also a very painful process sometimes. So, be cooperative during the checking. The process can sometimes irritate you. Don’t show your anger. Try to be polite with the officers even if they are rude. The process can easily put you under stress, but try to hide your nervousness and show confident body language to avoid deeper extended checking.
4. Pack your kindness until finishing your crossing
Overland borders are targets for many forms of syndication among few countries. That is beyond our control. To escape from being a scapegoat, simply do not help anyone to carry their bags even they are handicapped. Pack your kindness tightly until you finish your crossing. Do not entertain anyone during your process of crossing borders. I have experienced during China Kazakhstan Border crossing, where one of the passenger (elderly man) was very helpful and friendly to me during the journey asked me to carry one of his bag. without second thought I helped, luckily nothing happened. After the cross I regretted for my immature action and the reason for it was I am obliged to him.
5. Do not carry any prohibited items.
Be rational when taking some items crossing the borders. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. A legal item in your country can be illegal in other countries. Respect their systems and law. Importantly, make sure your smartphone /whatsapp message box/gallery and your laptop are not corrupted with inappropriate pictures and videos. Maybe it could be not yours truly, could be a forwarded picture from your friend. But remember, when you get caught no one will be there for you to help. So, make sure they are completely clean. The officers have all the rights to check your phone and camera thoroughly. Additionally, do not try to photograph the facilities and officials around the borders, especially the army around the border.
Fear of getting food poisoning during travel is very common among many. For some people the fear ‘infects’ many days earlier before they reach the destination. For some, the fear itself obstruct the way for long travel. What is diarrhea actually? To be honest, diarrhea is not a disease. It’s just part of your innate immune system as vomiting, coughing and sneezing. The function is just to eliminate and eradicate the pathogens from your bowel at initial stage of exposure, so that the pathogens do not invade you fast and deeper. If it happens, let it go, go , go an completely go. Do not use medication at initial stage. Drink water as much as possible to avoid dehydration. When you try to stop, the pathogens grow more and more.
However, understanding diarrhea fully can be the only way to manage the bowel well during long distance travel. The bad news is no travelers can escape from this. The good news is the bowel disturbance is very much avoidable completely if you can follow my way.
Accept the ecosystem/destination completely as it is.
This is an alternative way which prepare you psychologically before physiologically. Pretty ridiculous maybe, but sincerely wherever I go, I eat what that particular nature provides, what is available there without criticizing or rejecting. Really works on me. I believe critics and rejection are kind of challenges towards particular nature which may bring negative impact. “Do Not Challenge The Nature” that is my Manthra. Acceptance is a kind of positive approach. It boost your immune system in advance and eventually help you to prepare for the worst.
Consume ‘light food’ before or during long distance journey.
Avoiding meat is the best option if you want to travel without bowel problem. Meat and poultry foods are most vulnerable to bacterial contamination compare to any other food. Therefore, look for fruits such banana which is high in calorie and vitamins. Dried fruits such raisin, dates and prunes are good options as well where they are high in calorie too. The advantages are, fruits are cheap, no cooking needed and importantly keep your stool super soft.
Prepare your own food before your journey.
This going to be little harder way for some travelers but seriously this can help keep your bowel healthy along the road. If you are hostel dependent traveler, more easier. Majority hostel provides kitchen facility to cook, why not take little effort to cook/prepare some simple food such spaghetti, sandwiches or salads before you leave.