Ok, I already have the backpack packed, the mosquito sprays, the plane tickets, the passport, the dollars and euros, the credit cards, the vaccination certificate, the small paper in my portfolio with the list of the best pubs in Montevideo that my friend Diego gave me - that was the first thing I put in my backpack. You arrive with everything at the airport but with that eternal feeling that you forget something. They are many months of travel and it is normal: "I'm sure I'm forgetting something."
You take the British flight that takes you to New Delhi with a stopover in London and you arrive busted at 2 in the morning to see how hundreds of Hindu taxi drivers - most of them illegal - gather in the arrivals hall to get you to - sometimes - where you want or - the vast majority - to the hotel in which they have commission. Then, you go to one that makes fuss and other gestures that make you funny and get your attention and ... speaks to you ... and that's when you fall!: "My mother! Here they speak English!"
Yes, something essential for when you travel is knowing what language is spoken in the destination to which you go Obvious, but not essential.
In broad strokes we could say that Spanish is spoken throughout South America except Brazil, where the Portuguese colonizers left their mark. In Central America and Mexico you can also use Castilian, going to United States English that shares prominence with French in Canada.
Africa is a mosaic of different languages due to the multitude of European countries that were dedicated to exploit and occupy the black continent. Thus, you find people speaking French in geographically disparate places like Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Mali or Algeria (where there is also a colony that speaks Catalan), Spanish in Equatorial Guinea, Portuguese in the Cape Verde Islands or English in Egypt and many others.
In many of these countries, these European languages coexist with Arabic and hundreds and hundreds of native languages differentiated even by tribes.
The same happens with Asia where many states were French colonies (like Cambodia) or English (India is the greatest example of this) and whose languages coexist with a large number of native languages.
Australia and New Zealand adopt English as the official language although in the latter you are received at the Auckland airport with a large sign that says KIA PRAY (Welcome) in Maori, language of the New Zealand aborigines.
The truth, travelers, is that English is essential to travel the planet. In many countries where it is not even an official language, there will always be someone who chatter and can get us out of more trouble, like when we see each other in the middle of that sandy road that does not pass that bus that says that each 3 days and you can get on if it does not come very loaded with chickens and sheep.
And the people of my generation will think: “I know English! I didn't miss a single episode of "I am Muzzy !!! I'm big! I'm green!" (come on, come on ... raise your hand who doesn't remember it!). Well, I feel disenchanted (it was hard for me to overcome it): it is not enough.
And, as I saw published a week ago in the Spanish press, Spain is the EU country with the worst English of all! As is the level of TV in the country, I think half of Spain would dominate English if they put the Tomato or Big Brother in that language.
So, if learning English to find a job does not motivate you enough, here you have a much better excuse (which also includes being able to meet that / e guiri that has not stopped looking at you in that Thai beach) !! ! Learn English to travel to many countries! And don't worry, many English speaking travelers have had to learn Spanish to enjoy South America!
To see the languages spoken in the different countries of the world, I recommend Ethnologue.
Of course, do not forget to see the great Muzzy who accompanied us in our first steps and worked it out ... despite being so ugly!