First of all, I’d like to do a MASSIVE shout out to YOU my reader! Thank you for reading and being a serious legend for liking, sharing and commenting over the years. This is a big day for @avaycay – today is my 100th post. Yippee! I’ll ensure to have a wine to celebrate tonight and I order you to do the same!
Now, onto the post… We’ve been travelling abroad for six months now and learned an plethora of information about the different cultures, cuisines, histories and arts (to say the least). But what we really didn’t expect to learn was how it would actually be for us along the way. These are my top Things People Don’t Tell You About Long Term Travel…
You miss routine
I will be the first to admit we missed having a weekly routine soon after hitting the road. Our problem was, we had a lot of
obstacles commitments (to weddings, flights, sightseeing, seeing friends and family – which were all awesome tbh) making it difficult to feel any sort of normalcy in our day to day wanderings. Things like: having consistent sleep, meal times, the times and days we exercised. We felt displaced, sluggish and lazy without having consistency.
You gain weight
Okay, this is probably subjective to certain people and if there is a person who can travel in Italy for two months and not gain weight – we probably shouldn’t exchange holiday diets – but we gained a healthy amount of weight. The culprit as I saw it was too many meals dining out, not enough cooking at home and opting for rich foods. The novelty of newness lasted for months before we started to notice anything had gone awry. My jeans didn’t fit, my clothes felt tight and I genuinely felt unhealthy during our first month in South Africa, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
This was the culprit #gimmie
It can be exhausting
Travelling too fast, or attempting to travel afar meant it would take days for us to recover. While I’m an avid #slowtraveller and while we stayed in some places for weeks, there were moments where we’d need to spend one night here and there for the sake of getting to where we needed to be. The constant need to re-pack our bags combined with frequent motion made us feel really displaced. Since Italy, we’ve enforced a three night minimum to every place we travel, to ensure we don’t over do it. It’s been our biggest lesson for the first half of our trip.
It can be lonely
You know you’ll be spending a lot of time with your partner when you embark on a trip like ours, but nothing at home can prepare you for what it’s like to be in the presence of another person 24/7. Moo and I are different in the sense that I like occasional alone time and he prefers to be surrounded by others. It can often be hard to find a balance of this while you’re on the road moving from place to place. Also – given we don’t stay in hostels – mostly airbnb and guest houses, it means we don’t have frequent interactions with other travellers, homeowners or expats.
You miss a decent kitchen
I’m lucky in the sense that Moo is a phenomenal cook, he takes great pleasure in finding flavours that work together. But when the airbnb ad says they have a fully equipped kitchen and you arrive to find it’s the size of an airplane stowage tray, cooking can become stressful. Travelling long term has reinforced our desire to own a decent kitchen, with decent knives.
You realise how easy it is to define yourself by your career
Lucrative career or not, as soon as you begin travelling you bring with you an air of self worth. No matter your quantity of possessions back home, while you’re travelling you’re no longer defined by any of the ‘stuff’ you own back home nor the airs and graces your career may offer you. You’re stripped bare of it in a way, leaving behind the real you. That can be confronting as sh*t. That and when you feel like you’re no longer contributing to the world, it can stir a bigger question within: What is my purpose?
You feel guilty about resting (instead of exploring)
When you know you’re only going to be somewhere for a short amount of time, you immediately feel guilty for not soaking up as much as possible. While we appreciate down time as much as anyone, if we did feel like reading or watching a movie, we would often feel guilty for not being out and about – another reason for the imposed three night minimum. This ensures we have enough time to see a place and have a rest day/night if we feel like it.
Sightseeing is great – but have you ever read a book you can’t put down?
You test your relationship with your travel companion
For sure, long term travel is the ultimate test for any relationship, it pushes you more than you could ever imagine in your normal day to day life. It really is a pressure cooker, and a great way to see – after a short while – how compatible you are as travel buddies. We’ve learned to compromise a lot with each other. Moo has learned that I need coffee everyday – No Matter What. I’ve learned that he needs ample time to arrive at airports (I prefer to arrive minutes before boarding).
We’re excited to be heading into the next six months knowing a little more about how we can make it as smooth as possible for each other.
The Garden Route continuation post was rudely interrupted by this one, so you can expect to see that next week.
Until then xo