The weeks of planning the far-flung and oh-so-exotic locations, poring over guides books, finding the best beach hut to stay in for the can’t-believe-your-eyes-price – who’d have thought it would be four times cheaper to live on a beach in Thailand (including accommodation and eating out three meals a day), than merely get by in London?
My family, friends, and colleagues were all pleased for me and vicariously excited for my upcoming adventure – but perhaps a little jealous of my escape to the sunshine during the cold, British wintertime…
This post is for anyone who’s a little bit envious of mine – or anyone’s for that matter – exotic travel plans. Ok, so maybe two months backpacking in Thailand costs the same as two weeks’ in a luxury five-star resort, but long term (budget) travel takes its toll (yes, really!)
Here’s what you’re not missing out on:
Lotions and potions: It’s thirty plus degrees in the tropics. This means two things – you can’t go out in the day without slathering on the sunscreen and the mosquito repellent by night. It’s humid, you sweat and your skin is permanently greasy with the creams and sprays, sticky from the salt from swimming in the sea and a little bit of you longs for a temperate climate, where you can leave the house bare-skinned… This is genuinely one of my favourite things about going home!
Living out of a bag: A sixty-five-litre rucksack seems a generous-enough size. As you’re packing to go away, its contents are meticulously planned, listed, packed and everything has its precise location in the bag. Fast-forward to the fortieth time I’ve unpacked and re-packed my bag and it’s not quite so orderly – prompting everything coming out of your bag to find the one item I'm looking for. Oh, and why do my possessions seem to expand once I’ve left the country? I was sure I left home with some space to spare in my bag, but it’s all I can do to stuff everything in when I’m on the move.
Island time: This probably as much what we love about the island lifestyle as it is a frustration, but when you leave your ordered nine to five lifestyle to travel, it’s hard to leave behind the structure of things (supposedly) running on time and happening when they’re supposed to. Cue transportation leaving when it’s full – or when it’s ready to. Bus journey quoted as taking four hours when you booked but took seven hours in reality? Laundry promised to be washed and dried by five pm yesterday but is still not ready and the laundrette is closed when you go to pick it up the day after? This is all par for the course. Things will happen when they’re ready, so get used to it!