The Glamour of Travel

Nov 09, 2014

So you think that traveling the world is all glamour and shit? You think that everyday you get to see something with awe-inspiring beauty or some UNESCO World Heritage site? You think that your nights are filled with an ever-rotating cast of other worldly individuals who will open your mind to the idea of seeing something you hadn’t yet heard of but now cannot be missed?


Well you are only partially right. I mean some of that does happen. And when it does it is great.


But let me dispel the notion that traveling is super easy and filled with perfect days of non-stop relaxing in hammocks. It isn’t all like that. (Although in fairness and honesty I am writing this while lying in a hammock – but in my defense it is raining, slightly chilly and the usually spectacular Sierra Nevada view is obscured by cloud cover.)



(See... I told you... overcast)



So I present a true list – in no particular order about the glamour of traveling with a $60-a-day (for Elissa and I together) budget. Enjoy!


-Doing your laundry in a shower, or a sink, or even better in a broken garbage can you found on a beach that needed to be cleaned in order to even be considered a suitable vessel for dirty clothes.


('Clean' clothes will emerge from there)


-Spooning on a twin bed comfortably. It does not happen often and when it does you dare not move a micron for fear of never finding that butter zone again.



-Weird sunburns – like on the top of your hand from a day at sea fishing (or just vomiting from sea sickness).


(That is indeed a white handprint where suntan lotion had actually been applied)



-Tiny taxis – Think a Chevy Aveo or Fiat 500 and the driver is convinced all four people and your 8 accompanying bags will fit in their Hot Wheels sized transport. Then when you have gotten everyone and everything in the car the weight is too much and his tires are rubbing on the fender and he needs to call his buddy to take half of your group and you lose your discount.



-The dirtiest feet you have ever had. Seriously dirty. Like black. As if you used your feet to clean an industrial smoke stack of creosote.


(Those are actually on the 'clean' side)



-A shower without a showerhead and just a roughly sawed off piece of PVC sticking out of the wall. Only to realize that even that has no water pressure and you are forced to bump and grind with the maybe-it-was-maybe-it-wasn’t-cleaned shower wall.



-Ants/sand flies/mosquitoes. Those fuckers bite and are everywhere. Plus it sucks when you realize they have infiltrated your microwave popcorn or morning granola only after you are mostly finished eating it.

IMG_0792.jpg IMG_0791.jpg

(Two days worth of sand fly bites - while in the JUNGLE!)



-Having the same damn conversation every three days. Where are you coming from? Where are you going? How long have you been traveling? When do you plan to head home? It may not seem like much but my god is it tedious.



-Bus travel on public buses that stop every 30 seconds and have hard plastic seats that are so close that you cannot possibly stretch your legs (except Elissa and her super short ones). Then the bus being so crowded you can only choose to worry about your bag being stolen or the fact the guy standing next to your seat has his balls on your shoulder, but you cannot devote mind space to both because the overwhelming heat has caused most of your cognitive ability to simply fail.


 (Only cool kids cram themsleves into the back row)



-Having to decide whether it is worth not showering because the act of standing in the cesspool of a shower stall will actually make you dirtier both on the outside as well as in your soul. Then rolling the dice after choosing to stay dirty in hopes the next hostel your are moving to today has even a slightly more hygienic bathing area.



-Wearing flip-flops and constantly stubbing the same toe on a root or jagged sidewalk or stairs at 3am thusly splitting it open and not being able to scream as to not wake up the sleeping masses.


(Yeah that one stung... Healed quickly though)



-Constant din of car horns at all hours of the day/night. Honking just aint for road rage outside the US. Want to say hi to your buddy – just lay on the horn. Trying not to kill a pedestrian and don’t want to slow down at all – blast that horn. Changing lanes and your blinkers don’t work – honk constantly while swerving wildly.



-Hostel kitchens and their handle-less pans, mostly melted utensils and questionably cleaned flatware.


(Counter space is always at a premium)



-Getting the shits anytime, anywhere. It just reduces your experience to an undoubtedly cramped, smelly hotbox of a toilet for far too long. Then having to recount what you ate/drank recently so you know what destroyed your insides and now need to avoid for the rest of your life.



-Waiting. For anything. But mostly buses. Bus terminals are not the place you want to spend any extended period of time. Unfortunately this is virtually unavoidable.


(An all too common scene)



-Power/Water/Internet outages. Self-explanatory. They all suck and will strike without notice.



For all the good, beautiful, interesting and amazing things that happen, an equal number of dirty, shitty, cramped, hot, annoying stuff happens. Travel is equal parts of both and it all adds up to the overall adventure.

Category: Activities

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