Ah, the pros and cons of beards, something I could talk about for a very long time! I decided to look into what it’s really like travelling with a beard – racist comments and all…
I’m not going to lie, travelling with a beard can be a little tough.
Beards are real dividers at the best of times; people either love them or hate them (my family falls firmly into that last category), but if you go to a country where beards and hipsters aren’t common (i.e: most of them), well, that chasm seems even wider.
If you have a big bushy beard and you are travelling through Eastern Europe, expect to be stared at. A lot. Trust me, I’ve faced that first hand.
Recently, while walking the streets of Sighisoara in Romania, I was eating a banana. With my big backpack, sometimes I have a bit of a hunch when I walk. It’s heavy, I can’t help it.
Now I am a hairy man, so when a woman stopped in here tracks, pointed at me and made monkey sounds, I couldn’t help but laugh at her remarkably accurate observation. Funny? Without a doubt. Racist? Definitely. Just another day travelling with a beard I’m afraid.
With that in mind, here are some of the pros and cons of beards! Read, enjoy, let me know what you think.
People will think you are mental. Or homeless. Or a mental homeless person. Why is this a pro? Well, Eastern Europeans, especially Serbians, are renowned for being a little intimidating themselves, yet they will be intimidated of your beard and therefore will leave you alone. Win.
It’s not exactly attractive. I know a lot of travellers tend to lower their standards and expectations when it comes to guys on the road, but let’s be honest; a face full of fluff isn’t exactly what you are looking for. This is a major downside of travelling with a beard.
As previously said, you get to stroke it. For those of you who can’t grow a beard (because you are of a female disposition or because you’re not really a man), you will have no idea how calming it is to stroke a beard. Whenever you are stressed or worried when travelling, just stroke away (your beard that is).
Any number of things can get lost in it. When you have an awesome beard, everyone always asks: “Don’t you always get things stuck in it, like in The Twits?” Yes. Yes you do. Recently I ate some fish and I lost a fishbone in my beard. I never found it. I still don’t know where it went.
You don’t have to worry about shaving, saving you time, effort and energy; time, effort and energy that can be spent on other things, such as sitting in a bar, sipping a beer, watching the world go by while stroking your beard. This really is one of the best things about travelling with a beard.
If you are travelling in the middle of summer, it can be pretty hot, and all of your sweat drips and collects in your beard. Also, as you get a tan, you will be forced to keep the beard, otherwise you will have a weird two-tone face when you shave it off (please trust me on that one).
Beards make you an indeterminate age. It literally becomes impossible to tell what age you are. This is handy when you are travelling because if you are hanging out with a bunch of 20-year-olds you can lie and say you are 20 too – “yeah, the beard makes me look 28” – the same works the other way too.
Beard + the surname Sherifi = Muslim. Not that I’ve got a problem with looking like a Muslim but it always leads to the same conversation – “You are Muslim? Sherifi; that’s Muslim. Beard; that’s Muslim. Why don’t you want to be a Muslim? Have you got a problem with Muslims?” – you can see where it goes.
This is quite a big one, but I find having a beard really adds character to your face. I just makes people look jolly (in a good way of course). Also, on a personal note, I have a couple of scars on my face from when I was younger and my beard does a lovely job of covering these up.
If you’re flying with a beard you can almost guarantee you’ll be pulled over by airport security for a ‘random search’. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me, especially when I’m travelling on my own. A beard at airport security is always a problem!
Strangers come up to you and ask to stroke your beard. This feels surprisingly good, and it gives you an insight into what it must be like to be a dog. Another bonus of travelling with a beard.
It is always mental people, homeless people or drunks who do this. It is never, ever, women.
Up until this point I have had a beard. However, I wouldn’t want people to say this is a half-baked biased article in favour of beards, so purely for research purposes I decided to shave it off.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I was clean shaven, but I suspect it was well over a year ago, so I’ll look at this as my yearly shave (please note: I wrote this article in 2014 and this is still the last time I saved off my beard!)
Let me tell you something now, since I have shaved my beard off I do not like it at all; my face doesn’t look right, it doesn’t feel right. I think everything is better with a beard. Everything.
Much like Samson, I feel I have lost the source of what is me, of who I am. Now I need to grow it back.
If you’re looking for some male grooming products, I’d really recommend my friends over at The Modern Man. They’ve got everything from the best beard oils to fragrant face scrubs. I use loads of their products when I go travelling so check out some of their products before you hit the road!
Think I’ve missed something? Then let me know! If you’ve got any pros and cons of having a beard then post it in the comment box below. And happy travels beardy men!
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