What travellers hate about traveling

‘Pondering out of a plane window’

As dreamy and utopian Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook can emit about the nomadic lifestyle, there are underlining and at times embarrassing challenges which will only be met on the open road.

I’ve been traveling for nearly six months across Eastern Europe and North Africa, living the absolute pinnacle moments of my life but I have on occasion, felt personally victimised by certain unavoidable situations. In the words of all you Namaste hippies “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, it still doesn’t make it any less frustrating when thinking of home and all it’s glorious comforts. Especially when all you want is some toilet paper or a drop of milk in your crack of dawn morning coffee.

So, here’s my countdown of what’s crap about traveling.

1. The ‘Where are you from?’ conversation.

“So, where are you guys from?” “How long have you been traveling?”
“Where are you going next?” Yes it’s interesting at first and exciting to meet other travellers who have just come from or about to go to a city you’ve recently visited yourself, to share experiences with like-minded people and bla bla bla but after the 112th time, the sound of your own name starts to give you the shivers. It gets so irritating in fact that the use of a pseudonym seems very tempting indeed, either that or claiming to be a mute. After a while, you just don’t care where the twelve others in your mixed bed dorm have been or what their plans for this evening are and that’s the harsh but honest truth.

2. Needing the toilet when there’s no where to go.

After an over-night, nine hour coach journey, you arrive in a new city at the crack of dawn where it’s so God damn early that absolutely nothing is open, not even the station toilets. You think “Oh it’s cool, they’ll be somewhere on the way.’ Think again batman, because two hours later you still haven’t taken that leak, your bladder is crippling in pain with trying to hold it together and multiplying in size along with your irritability. You can no longer navigate the group or even think about what Google maps said about getting to your destination. It’s time to find a bush. Okay, so maybe this only applies to girls but I’m sure you gentleman feel the same when it’s time for Number 2.

3. Selfie sticks and Segway tours.

I mean, why the hell do these gadgets even exist? And why in such outrageous quantity? They are everywhere in Europe and frankly, they repulse me. It’s tourists who spear selfie sticks for half an hour in front of the Eiffel Tower and book a €50 tour you have to drive yourself, not travellers. The mere image of them curdle in our brains as we sit there unimpressed by the riot of conforming consumers in front of us, feeling thankful for the use of our limbs because it appears that some people have forgotten.

4. Painful Feet Syndrome.

Oh Lord the pain! It’s monotonous as every bit as it’s unbearably uncomfortable. The balls of your feet grow to the size of Mars, your heels grate till they bleed and your pinky toes rub so far behind your others that you actually have to stop at a bench to check they’re still there. Walking shoes will only cushion your soles for the first 24 hours, the next 48 will begin a slow, threatening descent and by the end of the week you’re in so much pain that you would give anything for a bed day, which of course isn’t even option. Being on a budget means sacrificing the luxury of public transport which your feet (and back) ultimately pay for. But hey, great views and exercise eh?

5. Missing Friends and Family.

Yes, of all the things that tick you off the most this that has got to be the hardest. Missing loved ones at times, can break your heart especially if you’re absent for birthdays or I dread to think, even Christmas. Something twinges inside your throat that the horizon unfortunately, cannot medicate. You need a hug and you need it now, where’s my pillow? When the emotional outburst is over, you remind yourself that you’ve been gone for so long because of valid and important reasons, and that the people who mean the most to you understand that too.

These frustrating and painful circumstances however, still don’t weigh to those that tie us down at home, when working deep within a system that allows you no time or money to you know, live. Not a day has past where I regret my one way tickets or nights spent sleeping in coach stations because ultimately, life here is cheaper, where you awake to immediate inspiration and unlimited prospects. It’s fundamental to our lifelines, that’s the way those who flee with the breeze feel about it anyway. And it’s this that reminds us exactly why we’re doing it.