You don’t really need to know the language

Some people who learn that I went to any country where they REALLY don’t speak English (or a few broken words), always express amazement at my being able to navigate anywhere.

They’re scared that if they end up in a country where they don’t know the language, they’ll get lost, and end up on some very awful adventure.

In all of my travels, I’ve learned one thing: You don’t need to know the language of any country, anywhere in the world, to communicate.

In China, we didn’t speak a WORD of Mandarin and we did just fine (BF constantly reminds me that he almost bought a juicer at a local roadside shop).

In Hong Kong and Macau, same thing.

In Europe, I didn’t really speak any Portuguese or Spanish and I did just fine. I even carried on conversations with people by gesturing!

You can gesture to anything you want to buy and show them how much you want (with fingers, 1, 2 or just by shaping an example in the air).

You can understand and participate in conversations just by watching their body movements, their gestures and catching the odd word or two.

This is truly liberating, because it means that language is good for expressing complex thoughts and sentences, but at the most basic of levels, you can understand anything.

So don’t be scared of traveling to places like China or even going into local ethnic shops where they only speak Spanish or any other language.

You’ll be just fine.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.