I’m trying to be very real with you guys and let you know about the lows as well as the highs that come with travelling. I find that no one talks about the lows and believe me, there are plenty! The highs outweigh the lows though so… that’s always good.
Just before we start, I have a voucher for £30/$50 off your first Airbnb! Feel free to use it.
What I’ve done is compiled a list of things that you don’t want to hear about travelling! Some of them might sound a bit basic but let’s roll with it.
You’re tired 99% of the time travelling
Okay, so a bit lame perhaps? But seriously, when I was travelling the East Coast of Australia I was bloody shattered. A 16-hour Greyhound coach, then a 3 day Whitsunday Island boat trip then onto the next Greyhound. It’s all go, go, go! I quite liked that to be fair. Be prepared to sleep everywhere and anywhere.
Nearly all of your clothes will smell
Literally, everything will stink! I had a very stylish orange vacuum type bag that I used to put all of my dirty washing in. Believe me, you will need it! This one time Dan saved up his washing for quite some time and jheez louise, it smelt like something had died in his bag. If you can’t afford a washing machine then at least wash it in the sink. Then hang it around your bed. Refer to my last post, how to be unpopular in a hostel. Your roommates will love you!
The essentials don’t replace themselves!
I’m talking body wash, shampoo and conditioner. It sounds trivial, but when you’re budgeting and saving so hard and you need more deodorant it really gets my back up. You know what else is really irritating? When you leave your shampoo in the shower at a hostel and suddenly your roommates think it’s okay to use yours if theirs has run out! (Guilty of doing this, sorry previous hostel friends)
You have to say goodbye to amazing people. Constantly.
Every new place where you set up your new little life, you will make such good friends! Or not, depends on how social you want to be. Towards the end, I was the rude person who didn’t speak much. I found that especially when you worked in a city for a long time, your work mates were your friendship group. It’s a shame, but you’ll probably bump into each other again down the road.
You have to say goodbye to amazing places… constantly.
You’ll discover amazing new places. I visited Fraser Island twice and still want to go back. Sydney will always hold a special place in my heart as my first proper home and you bet I’m going back to The Philippines. The sad truth is that you’ll be leaving again at some point. At least you can look forward to what the next destination has to offer though!
Your experience might not be how you imagined
I’m going to say it once and once only. Try not to set an expectation. I’m so guilty of this and once you learn to harness it, you’ll be sweet. Take my time in Bali for example. I was so excited for pure white sandy beaches, a crazy party island on Gili T and friendly monkeys around every corner. Wrong! Sometimes things just aren’t as you imagined. You might fall out with the friends you’re travelling with, you might run out of money or a place just doesn’t live up to expectation. But that’s okay! Things don’t always work out as planned.
You will worry about money. A lot.
It goes without saying. Unless you’re fully loaded then money will always be a concern. Especially if you still have another 2 months before you’re heading home! Perhaps you’re really struggling to get a job and you’re watching your money disappear on rent in a crap 8 bed shared dorm. Make sure you have a backup plan. Extra savings back in the UK, a credit card or maybe your parents. They helped me a few times when I was completely broke. Don’t let money rule your time away though. You might only visit that place once in your life!
Your friendships may fizzle.
Back home, everyone’s doing the same boring stuff. Boring to us anyway. I get that people enjoy different things. It’s a bit like when you leave high school and everyone goes their separate ways. If you want to keep in touch, then you will. If you don’t, well you’ve done a bit of life cleansing haven’t you? Likewise, if you’ve come travelling with a friend, then suddenly you’re with them 24/7. You might realise that they aren’t your cup of tea. Most likely you will have an amazing time with them and if not, you will meet heaps of amazing people along the way!
Wave goodbye to wanting to look nice
Oh, girl, you will stop caring. Annie was so stressed at first about travelling without straighteners. You soon realise that straighteners aren’t an essential and take up valuable room in your backpack that could be utilised by dirty pants. I discovered that whilst I was away, I looked at myself in the mirror a lot less. The first thing Annie and Harriet said to me after I hadn’t seen them for over a year was, “Ben, you used to be so groomed!” Thanks ladies, I’ll take that as a roundabout compliment. The fact is, when you’re walking around in 38-degree heat and 95% humidity, no one is going to be looking cute.
White clothes? Don’t bother bringing them
Honestly, they’re going to be ruined. Completely ruined! Firstly, no one has enough spare change to do two separate washes of lights and darks. Are you mad?! Secondly, everything is dirty. Everything is always dirty. So there really is no point of bringing anything white. I’ll say it’d last a week… max!
You’re on a working holiday visa? Then you will work.
You won’t have enough money to travel all of the time. I was away for 12 months, right? I worked for 7 months of it. You have rent to pay, food to buy and alcohol to drink. Everyone thinks that the past 12 months of my life was one giant holiday and that’s where you are wrong kind sir! Granted, I lived in Sydney and in Melbourne, my apartment was opposite the beach. The work part was amazing though. I worked for some great companies (some not so great) and met some amazing people.
At some point, you’ll be homesick
Maybe not a lot though. I was only homesick a handful of times, but it really is inevitable. When something goes wrong, you’re stressing about money or you’re away for Christmas then I am pretty sure you will get homesick. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about though. I cried on Christmas Day because I missed my family.
You’ll probably get ill
My god, I’ve never been so ill before in my life! I don’t know what it was but it was not pretty. In Sydney, I was being sick for 2 days and had to take a week off work. When I was in The Philippines I was on the toilet for 48 hours. It was horrific. Did I just share that on the internet? Nice one, Ben.
Sometimes, you can’t see EVERYTHING
When I was in Indonesia, I wanted to see it all. Ubud, Candidasa, The Gili Islands, Lembongan… it’s just not possible. You may only visit that country once in your life but you just have to be realistic. You will want to visit a place, but do it justice. Don’t just whizz through Ubud because you want to fit in as many places as you can. By doing less, you’ll see more!
Once you’re home, you’ll just want to leave again
It’s true. I’ve been home for a month now and I’m saving to go to New Zealand on another working holiday visa. Once you’ve got the bug, there’s no cure but to leave again. You won’t regret it.
So there we go. 15 things you don’t want to hear about travelling. It’s not the end of the world though. It won’t stop me putting on my rucksack and buying another one-way ticket.
Let me know some things that you wished you knew about travelling before you left. It’s not all hugs and smiles but 99% of it will be absolutely incredible.
I will always stand by the fact that travelling has really built me as a person. I feel stronger, more confident and more aware of the world.
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