Do you ever look on your Facebook or Instagram and see what appears to be perfect lives everywhere? All these people drinking wine in fancy bars, pictures of incredible nature views, and exclamations of today’s plan of spending a lot money skydiving or bungie jumping or blah blah blah.
As a traveler, I can say, yes it is extremely exciting. Every day is an adventure. You meet the most fascinating people and have the craziest experiences. But the pictures aren’t a representation of the truth. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of traveling.
What you don’t see are the days full of struggle, or no money, or being sick. You don’t see the heartbreak, the scrapes and cuts from hiking, the fights with travel mates, and the unexpected occurrences that will make you wonder why anyone would want to be out there traveling.
Here’s a more realistic take on traveling.
Flights suck. Airlines suck. Waiting in airports for ten hours sucks hardcore. But it is the necessary evil if we want to get anywhere in the world. Airlines aren’t perfect! They make mistakes, or just blatantly pretend that their customers’ concerns are out of their control. I’ve spent hours and hours arguing with airlines over the phone when they make mistakes and refuse to fix it.
For example, my current trip to New Zealand resulted in four calls to Virgin Australia, two calls to my booking agent, a argument with Delta, and a plea for a flight rebooking from United, all in a matter of three days. It causes stress that I don’t need in my life. I travel to learn how to be stress free and happy. When airlines ruin everything, they. actually. ruin. everything.
Pictures on a Mountaintop
Yes, the picture is beautiful. Yes, it was totally worth it, and I will do it a million times more. Hiking is hard! You will get sweaty and trip, and when you have twenty minutes straight of a steep incline, you curse your decision to go in the first place. Besides embedding your hiking clothes with the sweat smell, you get dirty and tired, and need to keep a strong mentality when the hike is multi-day and really hard. I’ve had scratches all over me from rock climbing up to the summit. We also take risks by climbing fences, trespassing, and precariously perching ourselves on that little rock just for the perfect picture. It took hard work to get that shot, and we will do it again in a heartbeat.
The Difficult Days
Maybe our lives look perfect through social media, but I assure, there are tough days. Traveling can force us to make difficult decisions or get to know ourselves to a point where we stop being able to function. Self care can be tough while traveling because we’re busy doing other things, but while we may be joyful in our daily insta travel photos, remember that we’re still human. Very scary things happen to travelers a lot, but it isn’t often talked about. I’ve gone through a number of terrifying situations, but you need to get your head together and move on because you have no one else to take care of you.
Whether we think it or not, we will get homesick. Usually at random times, or when we’re on our tenth day of camping in a tent. When we miss the comforts of our bed or a home cooked meal, instead of our thin sleeping bag or pasta every night, traveling can start seeming impossible. Being away from our family and pets is the most difficult thing in the world. Many of my traveler friends have had their pets pass away while they were on the opposite side of the world. It is very, very tough when you are your only support system.
How do these people appear as though they can travel for years and years? They’re sitting on a beach sipping a coconut and I have to be here working a 9-5 barely making rent? This is a touchy subject. Some people have saved up a lot and will willingly spend their last penny if it means seeing the world. Some people book a flight and with a dollar in their pocket, try to figure out a plan of action once they land.
Many backpackers will work for free accommodation and food, but without being paid. Work and holiday visas allow for backpackers to get a job for a short time to make some money just to spend it traveling! Many travel bloggers dedicate their lives to their blog, working to monetize it, but oftentimes it takes years to create a successful blog and solid following. Therefore, most of the time, backpackers are very budget wise and have to give up most luxuries of everyday life. It isn’t glamorous.
I hope this allows you to see a new perspective of traveling. Our lives are far from perfect. However; we make due with what we have, and work hard to get through each day on our own. That’s an accomplishment in itself.