Monday, 16 January 2017

The unglamorous side to travel...

A bonus post for you this week! A fun take on my thoughts on the unglamorous side to travel...

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.

The clothing issue: The bag size restriction means that there’s space for precisely one week’s worth of clothes that must be washed every week. Pack extra items for special occasions, or niche activities at your peril! You’ll soon resent packing those heavy walking boots on the off chance you climb that mountain – or the ‘smart’ outfit in case you go somewhere posh (you probably won’t, or if you do then it’ll have to ‘go’ with flipflops). Note the above point and cue jettisoning of any non-essentials once you’re 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!

Stinks: As much as you might try and avoid any unpleasant smells, it’s a constant challenge when living in a humid climate, and most usually exacerbated by having to pack damp items whilst on the move. Micro fibre towels one of the main offenders and one of my pet hates – as much as I admit they do save space and dry quicker than a standard towel. The worst part is perhaps getting used to the smell – or at the very least, putting up with it!

1 comment: