Monday 9 June 2014

7 Things People Don't Tell You About Travelling

This blog post will detail 7 things people don't tell you about travelling. We're often projected a very one sided view of travelling. Behind the paradise photo of a white sand beach was a 9 hour bus ride. A round the world trip cloaked in glory yet marred by cheap transportation and thread bare hostels. This post will reveal the hidden side to it all.

1. Skepticism
There is skepticism that occurs pre and post travelling. I constantly get asked questions such as 'Are you going alone?' 'Are you crazy?' 'What about XXX?' I accrue a mixture of worry from my parents and questions of 'you're going again?' from my closest friends. Others describe me as a 'dark horse' or think its quite unexpected for me to do these things. Perhaps I haven't quite shaken off my 'quiet girl aura' from my school days. I don't don dreadlocks, Harlem pants and traveller bracelets  and I haven't tattooed foreign symbols all over my arms. It does crush me when my family don't support what I love, but it doesn't matter. Travelling will always attract a degree of skepticism from others. Never mind what others think, I want you to break through any assumptions or judgements, and do what you desire. 

2. The wondering and bewilderment 
Let us be frank. There is no such thing as a seasoned traveller. You're just another individual propelled by wanderlust to a unknown destination. No matter how many times you do it, there is always the bewilderment. I was in a completely deserted location in Portugal, praying for a bus to come. Bradt guides said buses were unreliable. Why is no one here? Why are there no cars? All I could do was wait and hope. The bus arrived in the end after I convinced myself I was stranded. These situations happen endlessly when you travel, I want you to quash the doubts and dance with uncertainty!
3. Budget 
On social media we are projected the beauty of travelling through photos. Behind any long term trip is the hidden cost of living. There are 30 bed dorms, rickety buses and the same few  t-shirts that were worn over and over again. I budgeted on £15 a day for my coast to coast walk and on cold days I was envious of the other walkers who stayed in hotels/B&B's when I could only afford to camp. 
4. Scars
Away from home and liberated from the technology that keeps you stationary, travelling inevitably gives you scars. Mosquitos take your blood unwillingly and leave you with scars. I've got scratches from maintaining monkey enclosures in South Africa and purple toenails from excessive walking. All part of the travel experience I say! 

5. The non chalent attitudes upon returning.
On returning back to the UK, I burst with a renewed zest for life, I love and appreciate everything more then I ever did before. It is cliche but I do believe travelling is soul searching. On reuniting with friends, I do find it a little saddening when friends/peers forget where I've gone or have little to no interest.The conversation would go from 'how was *insert country*? Then revert very quickly back to a trivial topic. This doesn't bother me as much anymore, please remember that if it's valuable to you, it doesn't need to be valuable to anyone else. 
6. The travel companion 
One thing I'm sure of, finding a compatible travel companion is very, very difficult. You are outside your comfort zone with no idea how to get to your target destination. There will be conflicting interests, different comfort levels and an inherit annoyance for each other when things start going wrong. Don't let this stop you from doing what you want to do. Talk through any issues with travel buddies before they boil over or go alone, it's one of the most liberating things you will ever do. 
7. The desperate yearning  to repeat it all again.
Like a indistinguishable fire that burns inside, the desire to do it all over again is ever present. I work full time now, but 40 hours should never define who you are. Throw in spontaneous evenings, wander free for the weekends and fully embrace the holiday days you have.

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