The Unglamourous Side To Traveling.
Despite all the pretty travel photos making it onto One Twenty Five, traveling isn’t all-that-with-a-sprinkle-of-sparkles-on-top, actually, sometimes, it sucks and is the furthest thing away from a vacation. Here’s my list so far of the Unglamourous side of traveling:
- I am constantly (constantly!) looking for things. Where is my camera? My hair tie? Crap, where did you put my hair brush again? It’s a constant struggle to remember where I packed things, despite being quite organized in the packing department (thankyouverymuch).
- I have been promoted to head guard of Operation-Where-the-Hell-is-My-Passport?-Control. My passport is my life while traveling and I’m pretty sure I check for it, oh I don’t know, 3.2 million times a day. Note: If I see someone taking it, I cannot be held accountable for the things I would do to them.
- Eating healthy. It’s hard, like really hard while traveling, especially in these (south east asia type) countries. Why yes! I’d love a salad. What? Wait? Why is this salad covered in dressing and has noodles?
- Toilets. Oh Lordy! Oh the stories and tales I could tell you of the washrooms, toilets, loos, powder room, happy rooms, dunnys, pee-parlous, cam, johns, I’ve seen! Especially the wonderful holes-in-the-ground shacks in Nepal. But I’ll leave it at this, what doesn’t kill ya, makes you stronger!! :)
- No Scale. This is the longest in my life I’ve gone with no scale. It’s weird. My only judge of my weight is my double-chin-measurement (which I created for myself when I was about 13), or my clothes, but as most of them are elastic, or dresses, it’s quite hard. The other day I put my denim skirt on and the waist was tight. But obviously it was the laundry lady shrinking my skirt, right? RIGHT? Shit. I can feel myself making excuses already… post. to. come. on. this [obviously].
- Laundry and showering. Showering and laundry. Those two things I am constantly doing. It’s hot here. Humid hot. So the second I step out the door I feel all sorts of sweaty and gross, which leads to one-time clothing wears, and constant showering. Con-stant.
- Uncomfortable seats. On buses (now! I wrote this from Vietnam to Cambodia), on planes, on trains. They’re everywhere. Tight squeezes are too… in stores, in lobbies, in markets, on the road, and most definitely on side walks. It’s a constant battle to get around.
- Being a girl traveling alone. The second I talk to a guy they think I want to have sex with them. There’s a whole slutty-traveling world out here, and it has got a little frustrating. Some days I get lonely, it’s true, and just want to go sit at a bar and talk to someone (something a guy could easily do), but because I’m a girl, I can’t, because apparently that means I want to whore myself out. False. I just want to TALK. Also, pretty much once night falls it’s sketchy and dodgy for me to be outside alone. That being said, making friends has been pretty easy.
- Crossing the road. Simple, right? Wrong. It’s a constant omigod-life-or-death situation. Granted, I’ve got better, but these rule-less roads are still a battle field nonetheless. I’ve figured it out though, you don’t look left, then right, then left again, nope, you just go-go-go! Confidence baby! And they’ll work around you. It’s hesitation that throws the drivers off and causes accidents.
- I am a tourist. A white tourist. Therefore I am a huge dollar sign to the majority of the country. Hanoi, Vietnam was the worst (the worst!) for this. Here’s 100,000 dong (their currency) for the 80,000 dong scarf. Here’s 2,000 dong change. They take mad advantage of tourists not knowing what their currencies are, or knowing the exchanges. Granted, this also falls on mine (the tourist’s shoulders too), but it gets annoying being screwed the whole time. Especially as I’m watching my money go pretty fast…
- Traveling, is well, travelling. I’m literally “moving” for a lot of this trip. In Vietnam, the most I spent in a city was 5 days, which was Hanoi, the first city, then it was at most two nights. Which means I either just arrived, or was just about to leave. It gets tiring.
- Sometimes I just want my mom’s curry, the remote control, and my bed. Lunch with my sister. Horse riding on Saturday. Running on Sunday. Sometimes.
- The Internet is slow here. So slow. Uploading photos to this blog takes me forever. But, as wifi is everywhere (umm, how much have I been tweeting this trip? Answer: So much), I really shouldn’t complain about this…
- "Getting to know the culture,” I saw the whole “meanish” comments about how I only hang out with Australians, British, etc. which is bullshit, but anywho, “getting to know the culture” sounds easy and obvious in reality, but what am I going to do? Knock on the door of a local family and ask to eat dinner with them? No. That’s rude. I know I’m only getting a glimpse into these peoples’ countrys and lives. I think as a foreigner, it’s all we can expect, unless one actually spends a large amount of time in a country, until then, all us tourists are being shuffled through the beaten track, thinking our stories, our journeys are unique, when they’re not. It’s just a money generating system manipulated for the tourist to ooooh and awww over (especially in Vietnam, where it’s pretty much still communist and most things are done by the gov). But, I have still experiencing such a different way of life than the one I’ve always known. Through the tourist system, or not, I am still learning so much.
- Other tourists. They annoy me sometimes. Actually, a lot. Story Time —> At a monastery in Nepal I was so embarrassed to be a tourist. In a tiny village in the Himalayas we were invited to watch the monks chant. And so we all went, along with every other white person in a 100km radius. Some of them were so rude, it hurt my soul to be associated with them. During the monk’s ceremony some tourists got up to take photos, wonder around, and then one guy even pulled an old, beautiful, monk chest closer to the front, and then sat on it to get a better view, but not before nearly knocking over one of their ceremony drums. Twas sad and awful to watch.
- Down days. I know I decide what to do, but they’re still few and far between. I feel too guilty staying in when I’m in a new city. Must. Go. See. The. World. But… frankly… sometimes I’m just super lazy and want to sleep in, order take in, and watch a movie!
Yup, just like most things, traveling has it’s down side, but obviously its advantages are so big, the crappy things truly don’t matter. :)