In today’s world of manicured lifestyle projection on social media, where you get to choose what your online image looks like and everyone’s life looks perfect, we feel the need to write a blog post to keep it real. We keep our blog posts light-hearted and funny, showing all of the fun things we are doing. This blog entry is to keep it real by saying that it’s not all awesome vistas, cute animals, and amazing intercultural experiences.
Traveling for 3 months on another continent is an amazing experience but we wouldn’t be honest if we didn’t also say that it’s hard. At the start of this trip, we had sort of forgotten about this from our last long-term travels and there was an adjustment period to settle back into this lifestyle.
We arrived with 2 flights and 9 nights accommodations booked, as well as a very rough itinerary (that we only vaguely ended up following). After that, we have spent a lot of [sometimes stressful] time planning – where do we go next? How do we get there? How do we get tickets? Where will we stay? What will we do while there? What are we going to eat? How long are we going to stay? Phew – my head hurts just thinking about it. This means we’ve spent hours/sometimes whole days just trying to figure this stuff out, which can be very stressful and overwhelming.
We also have had to work through various health issues. Jenny broke a tooth and had a crown fall out, all within 2 days of each other. We took turns battling stomach issues – once having to cancel out on a tour and lose money to sit at home and do nothing or having to take medicine in order to get through a 9 hour bus ride in which the toilet can only be used for liquids. David had a cold and pulled a back muscle. Jenny got a pretty bad cold and a fever and was somewhat useless for several days. And we’ve had stretches of days in which we just generally don’t feel that good.
We love each other and love traveling together, but sometimes it gets stressful and straining to deal with all the aspects of traveling. And while a lot of days we’re doing awesome things like hiking, biking, vineyarding, and cooking classes, we have spent plenty of other days just planning, traveling (hello long nauseating bus rides or sitting in terminals for hours at a time), or not really doing much of anything. We’ve missed buses and lost sleep due to every animal on Old MacDonalds farm making noise outside our window (and mosquitos flying around our heads inside). We’ve realized we have no clean clothes left and had to wash our clothes in the sink for the 112th time and string up a line, hoping it will dry before we leave the next day. We’ve struggled through understanding language and cultural customs. And we’ve just missed the consistency of home. And, one of us happens to be a huge planner who gets anxious a lot, so all this traveling is a constant push outside of the comfort zone.
As a reminder, we have also had so many completely amazing experiences – from meeting local people and people from all over the world, to really immersing in a foreign language, to getting to see and do so many things that other people only dream of. We’ve gotten through all of the struggles and become better and stronger people for it. A friend sent along a great article that talks about the challenges of traveling and the [corporate] skills that are learned.
So, is it worth it? Abso-freakin-lutely! But we want to be honest and clear that it’s not all roses and icecream (though we have eaten a lot of delicious gelato here – a blog entry about food is coming soon). And, remember in your own life that what you see on social media is just what everyone chooses – usually showing the best image possible.