If you’re an Instagram junkie like myself I’m sure you’re following a “travel blogger” or five. Their photos are unbelievable right? So depressingly perfect that you start to think about how inadequate your own life is! But, the problem with Instagram is that most of the photos on there are filtered or photo-shopped to infinity. Now I’m no saint, I will admit that about half my photos on there are filtered. So although I can’t go back and change all my filtered photos on there, I will give you a very very honest account of what backpacking entails. As much as this ’16 counties in a year trip’ was the best thing I’ve done to date it was also the hardest. So here’s a list of the things you will probably encounter if you want to travel the world (and you’re not a millionaire) –
You will have at least one bus journey from hell. If you’re travelling on a budget you will inevitably have to get local buses to get you from one town to the next. Depending on where you are, these local or ‘chicken buses’ as they are also called, can be anything from air-conditioned luxury like we had in Mexico to a Guatemalan pimp-my-ride-style school bus with blaring Latin music and live chickens squawking in bags at the back.
You will always be tired. Like always-always. But travelling is like an attack on all of your senses, every day you’re seeing completely new things, eating exotic foods, listening to new languages (and attempting to speak said new language), smelling not-so-nice things (open sewers anyone?). It does get tiring believe me. But it’s okay, because you can sleep in the next day if you get too exhausted because you don’t have a job to get up for. It’s the best 🙂
On that note, you won’t party as much as you think you will. Because you’re so tired but also because sitting on the beach watching the sunset with store-bought local beer is so much better.
You will learn to appreciate a hot (& strong) shower. I think every travel blogger has written about this numerous times but honestly you will never enjoy a hot shower as much as you do when travelling.
Every day you will contemplate blowing your daily budget for some air-con in your hostel room but then decide against it and splurge on a really nice dinner and a crate of cold beer to cool you down in your hot and sticky room.
You will meet people from all walks of life. Some will be really really cool, others will be some of the most annoying people you’ve ever met. But ultimately you will learn that the best people to hang with are the locals.
You will curse yourself for packing so many bloody clothes because your backpack is starting to literally weigh-you-down but 5 minutes later you’ll be huffing and puffing that you’ve nothing to wear 🙂
As crazy as it sounds you will get sick of eating out for every single meal, every single day. You will be dying for a home-cooked meal, hence, why a lot of travellers book an airbnb when the going gets tough. It makes you feel normal again (well a little anyway). Can I also add that if you’re travelling as a couple or as part of a group you will spend at least an hour of every day trying to decide where to eat.
Some days the weather will go against you and your plans to sunbathe at the beach will be ruined by torrential rain or you will have to delay your travel plans onto the next town because a serious storm has caused road closures. But I say embrace the change and do like these kids in Cambodia and dance in the rain 🙂
But you know what, every single thing I’ve mentioned above is teeny-tiny when you think of how lucky you are to be doing what you’re doing. Most people don’t have the same opportunities as you do and you will never be as young and as fearless as you are now. This world is big & scary but most importantly it’s incredibly beautiful and waiting to be explored. Please if you have even the tiniest desire to travel don’t suppress it, embrace it, not everyone has the same wonder for the world as you. Travelling is awesome, I promise once you start you will never want to stop!!!
P.S. and most important of all, despite everything that travelling throws at you and no matter how exhausted or frustrated you get – stay silly 🙂
Thanks for reading,