Whilst I’m undeniably having the best time of my life traveling with my best friend and boyfriend, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows and I’ll never pretend that it is. So many of my friends tell me how jealous they are and how lucky I am, and whilst I will accept I am incredibly lucky to be doing what I’m doing, I’m always quick to tell them that it’s not as perfect as Instagram makes out, because nothing ever is and lying/pretending otherwise is totally unhelpful for everyone.
I know that I would appreciate a little more from bloggers/influencers. They airbrush their photos as well as their lives, showcasing their car, the handbags, the loving boyfriend, the house, the luxury holidays. But where’s the bad days, the arguments, the illness, the loss, the stress, the deadlines. We’re made to feel like our lives are in some way worse than theirs, like we should aspire to live the life they live and have the things they have, and why wouldn’t we feel that way when we only see half of their life, the good side. They always justify themselves not sharing their life’s bad bits with the excuse of ‘no one wants to see that’…don’t they? Yes, no one wants to see people hurting for entertainment, but a little honesty of ‘me and my boyfriend fell out today’ or ‘I’m feeling super unconfident at the moment’ would help everyone realise that NO-ONES life is perfect, even bloggers and influencers. They’re the ones with the influence, the ones with voices people listen to, they should be setting the example and ‘influencing’ others to be honest and to share all sides of their lives with people.
With that in mind I’ve decided to start a new regular(ish) feature to my blog where I share all sides to my traveling life. I’ll share the good parts, the bad parts, and the ugly parts. I’m sure some will change and some will stay the same, but I want to keep it 100% real with everyone. I’ll never pretend my life is perfect because it never will be regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. In addition to that it’s also just a bit of fun, to welcome you to laugh at some of our mistakes, misfortunes and general day-to-day ugliness.
One bad thing that happened just whilst I’m writing this was that I spent an hour and a half writing my blog post and I was finished and so happy with it. I didn’t have WiFi at the time so I saved it as a draft, clicked back onto it and then stupidly pressed ‘discard’ as I was trying to leave the blog page…the blog I’d spent all that time writing and perfecting had gone. A few tears later here I am again giving it another go. Honestly I’m still so frustrated that it’s gone mainly because I want everything I put out to be perfect and the thought of missing something/forgetting something bothers me beyond belief. From being on this trip I’ve learnt that it’s the stupid things that get to me. I can cope with loss, grief, deadlines, trips being cancelled, missing people…but losing a hairbrush or having a blog post deleted sends me into all kinds of despair!
- Everything is so much cheaper over here, you get so much more for your money and it’s a great feeling especially when you’ve worked for your money. Our meals cost about £2 and I’ve got so many nice pieces of clothing or jewellery for such little money…as well as the occasional foot massage or £5 gel pedi which always goes down a treat.
- We’ve got no responsibilities. It’s pretty crazy when all you have to worry about is where you’re traveling to next and what you fancy for dinner.
- The sun and the beaches…I’ll never get tired of those.
- You get to experience so many different forms of nature. Everywhere has something beautiful and unique to offer, from the whitest beaches, the oldest jungles, thousands of limestone islands or or the bluest seas. You get to see animals living the way nature intended them to live and it’s simply wonderful.
- All the different cultures. You can be living in one area with one culture and then you hop on a bus for a couple of hours and everything’s totally different. The food, the language, the currency, the etiquette. Even within countries you find a mix of cultures. We’ve noticed that especially with Malaysia…one minute you’ll be walking around what they call ‘little India’ and then five minutes later you’re in china town, we really like that about traveling.
- Traveling and spending so much time with Mat
- Living with little and being happy about it. We literally have our backpacks and each other, you realise what’s important to you and what you need to be happy…and it’s not a lot.
- Wearing summer clothes everyday
- Having a natural tan for once! Honestly it’s so nice to not have to fake tan my body…even though in comparison to Mat I look like I haven’t got a tan at all!
- The food. Oh the food. We’ve had some amazing food, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, Indian, you name it, we’ve had it!
- When things don’t go right, there’s been a few occasions when we’ve booked hostels for the wrong date which can be frustrating. Then we’ve had bigger things go wrong such as Mats visa not arriving in time, meaning a lot of wasted money and extra stress. We also had to cancel our Sri Lanka trip because of the terrorist attack and the government issuing a statement against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka. My dad was due to come out and visit us which made the cancellation all the harder, especially because there was nothing we could do about it. We’re still pretty upset about it because it had been recommended to us by friends and we’d heard that the Sri Lankan people were so welcoming and friendly and it all just seems so unfair that the innocent people of Sri Lanka will suffer because of something totally out of their hands. We will definitely be visiting Sri Lanka in the near the future once the warning has been lifted.
- The long journeys on uncomfortable seats or in vans without AC. We’ve had night journeys on busses that are just upright seats that recline slightly.
- The loud people in hostels who get in late/get up early and don’t know what inside voices are and don’t care about other people sleeping. It’s frustrating because myself and Mat take so much care with being as quiet as possible when we’re getting in or going on but some people really just don’t care!
- When hotels don’t provide towels and you have to dry yourself down with a microfibre towel which feels like drying yourself with cardboard. Honestly those of you at home, please enjoy and appreciate your fluffy Egyptian cotton towels, you don’t know how lucky you are!
- Looking for vegan food and finding nothing. Walking around food stalls and seeing anything but vegan food. Life would be so much easier if I ate egg but I don’t and won’t so I’ve had bread for breakfast countless times, which is as tasty as you can imagine. Most of the time there’s food suitable for me but it does mean that a lot of the time it’s plain rice without egg and a bit of carrot/cabbage, oh and you have to be really clear that you don’t want oyster/fish sauce.
- The heat. You sweat from places you didn’t realise you could sweat, just being outside existing and you’re dripping with sweat. Honestly 26° has never felt so good after a few weeks in 36°.
- The mosquitos, arguably the worst part about traveling for me besides missing my England people. They’ll eat you alive and leave you itching like a dog riddled with fleas.
- Hostels privacy, or lack thereof. A curtain goes a long way, it’s a game changer. You never know just how much you love being able to get changed when and where you want and to just be alone for a while!
- Being away from home, missing the English countryside and missing my Family and friends. I always say to Mat how much I’d love to teleport home, spend 2/3 days at home and do everything I’m missing and see everyone I’m missing and then come back!
- Working out the logistics of your trip. Honestly nothing’s more frustrating and tiresome than staring at maps, the reading of endless blogs, government websites, sky scanner…it takes hours and it’s never really spoken about!
The damn right ugly;
- Hostels toilets/wet rooms being soaking wet. Going in to use the bathroom and the floor being soaking wet, you pray and hope that what you’re standing in right now is shower water and not something else.
- Arguments, the ugly ugly, tired, hunger, stressed, too warm- fuelled arguments. I’m not living in crazy land, I know that arguments are totally normal, especially in such an intense environment. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not afraid to say when I disagree with something or to speak my mind, and I’m not too afraid of a bit of confrontation, the opposite of Mat who generally hates confrontation. However we’re similar in the sense that we’re both comfortable with telling one another when we disagree and we’re both incredibly stubborn. Both of which I’m sure you can imagine make the perfect argument combination. Once we get going it can be a good couple of hours (even longer if one of us decides to storm off and hold a grudge (Mat)) before we’ve sorted it out! I’ll never pretend otherwise, I’ll never pretend we don’t argue because there’s nothing wrong with it, it can be such a relief when you get everything off your chest and say how you feel. We’ve been together for 3 and a half years but we’re still learning about each other and how to keep both parties happy…but it gets easier and easier as our travels go on, it’s taken us a couple of months for that to happen and that’s okay!
- Using what we call squatty potty’s. They’re as glamorous as they sound, whilst hostels and most shopping malls and restaurants have ‘normal’ (to us) toilets, anytime you’re on the move you’ll be lucky to find anything but a squatty potty and a bum gun.
- When things REALLY go wrong. The worst to date has to be an awkward conversation between my dad and I and it went a little something like this. Me: can’t wait to see you in two weeks!
- Coming on your period, in the middle of long journey, with your moon cup being in your backpack, in the boot of the van. There’s a toilet with no toilet paper, wow I’ve done some questionable improvisations!
- Ordering vegan food and it coming with egg/meat in it. It’s happened several times where I’ve ordered rice or pad Thai without egg and it’s come with it in and I think they don’t really understand why I can’t just eat it. The worst has to be the two times I’ve ordered food and it’s come with meat in, but not obviously. Small pieces that I don’t find until halfway through my meal. Whilst this might not seem like a big deal to most, eating meat genuinely terrifies me and the first time this happened I nearly had a panic attack! I knew when I came away that cross contamination was almost expected and I’d accepted that, but meat in my vegan meal? That’s just too much for me.
- The mad rush and panic to get on your overnight bus that has limited seats. I’ve witnessed (and put my two pence in) an argument over seats and reserving them. It’s definitely entertaining but also not pretty at all!
Obviously whilst I’ve shared the not-so-good parts of my trip, I’m by no means saying I’m ungrateful for the trip we’re on. I know I’m so so lucky to be doing what I’m doing and I appreciate it everyday. I just know that I love it when people share the good and bad in their lives and I want to be the same. Anyone who knows me knows I’m honest about things and I’m not one to pretend my life’s perfect, because what is the point in that? I think now more than ever it’s so important that we all share with each other, it’s how we get closer to one another by being vulnerable and sharing our down days, our insecurities and being honest with one another. I hope that anyone reading this who previously thought that I was living a dream has realised that it’s not the case and that there’s good, bad and ugly parts of everyone’s lives, whether they choose to share them all or not.
Until next time,