Travelling is a life altering and once in a lifetime experience. No matter where you choose to go or how long for, you're guaranteed to come away with unforgettable memories. However nothing is perfect and things can and will go wrong just like they would at home. I have read so many blog posts about travelling at sugar coat every situation, so I have decided to lay it straight and tell you all the things I did not realise would become a chore or even be the slightest issue. None of these things have put me off what I am doing; the life I am living now is one I could have only dreamed of. Please read this with an open mind. It is time to be realistic, but that should not diminish your optimism. Travelling is amazing so do it while you can.
1. People are gross
This one I am not afraid to rant about. Personally, I am a bit of a clean freak so I understand a lot of people would refer to me as a little over the top or even OCD when it comes to keeping my space tidy and organised. And sure, a little bit of mess is not really a problem, I know not everyone is weird like me. Saying this, if travelling has taught me anything, it is that some people clearly have never EVER been taught how to cleanup their own mess, or clean at all. I suppose it is a lot like staying in halls at uni. You get the clean freaks like me and then you get the completely opposite end of the spectrum, the durtay ones! Some people just do not have the capacity to clean up. It is fact.
2. Meeting new people actually gets tiring
Unusual and maybe slightly controversial, but like I said, I am getting real here. To start with the most exciting part of travelling is meeting new people, telling your awesome travel stories over a drink and generally just socialising with all your travel buds. But my god, does it get tiring! Going from hostel to hostel over short periods of time means you are constantly around new people. That means new names to remember (perhaps my biggest weakness), language barriers, introductions, your travel story, where you come from, what your plans are, what you used to do, how old you are, over and over and over again. We have met so many amazing people on our journey, and it really is interesting learning all of their stories and even gaining inspiration and advice for your onward journey, but there is a line. It is like being the new kid at school, but every day of your life; now tell me that wouldn't get tiring? Don't get me wrong, I love a good natter but sometimes after a long day travelling all you want is your own space which leads me on to my next point...
3. Personal space does not exist
Maybe an obvious one, but a very valid one. Say bye bye to your personal space ladies and gents - when you're travelling it does not exist. For me this is normally not an issue, but when all you want is to curl up and enjoy your own company it is nearly impossible. Unless you are renting out private rooms, which are generally pretty steep (Australia wise) unless you're using AirBnB you are most likely sharing with are least 2 other people, and that's if you're lucky. Most people are respectful, but we have shared dorms with some right messy bastards who seem to think every piece of visible floor should be filled with something of theirs. This is all part of the experience, and most of the time sharing a dorm is not a problem...until your bunkie decides to take home a cheeky one night stand.
4. Even the most organised person will get stressed
I wouldn't say I am organised, but I am certainly not disorganised. James and I have pretty fairly shared the booking, finance and job hunting work and we are both neat freaks who have to write everything down in a structured manner. No matter who you are, something will go wrong with your travelling plans - it is fact. It may just be small, or it may be a bloody nightmare, but it will stress you the fuck out. It doesn't matter if you're the most or least organised person in the world you are almost 99.9% sure to be victim of a travel dilemma. Being away from home when something goes wrong adds so much more stress to the mixture (in my opinion) especially when you have nobody familiar to run to and pour your heart out. Be prepared for things to go wrong, and when they do take a breath and work your way through it.
5. Living out of a backpack can be frustrating
When all you want is your favourite pair of shorts, but in order to find them you must open the gates of hell and most likely empty half your backpack, probably before realising they're in the wash. Living out of a backpack is fun, and teaches you to live with less, but it is super inconvenient when you actually want to 'live'. You will most likely be stopping places for short periods of time, and most (referring to hostels) places will have little storage space. This makes unpacking a totally pointless and time consuming act. Instead you will open, and close, and open and close that backpack and rake through all your possessions every time you need a clean pair of knickers. It is a pain in the ass (excuse the terrible pun)! Travelling is about making sacrifices, but it would be nice to have a matching outfit withing sprawling half your wardrobe on the floor.
6. You will get homesick
This one might be obvious but its a killer. Not everyone gets homesick, but for me it has been one of the biggest hurdles of travelling. My family and I are extremely close, particularly my mother and I. From movie nights to gossiping we are like best pals, so not seeing her everyday has been extremely hard. FaceTime just isn't the same. Seeing your friends from home doing things together, and all you can think about is how you should be there. Sure, you are on an amazing, once in a life time experience, but sometimes it really hits you just how far away from home you really are; and that can be tough.
7. Your money will not last
This one is a little dependant on where you are travelling, but in Australia my money seems to disappear faster than I can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (I can say it pretty fast just saying). It is easy to be smart with your money, but there are almost always complications or accidental expensive detours (to the pub) that will send your pennies trickling away. It is completely dependant on the individual, but when you're not working, travelling Australia is hella' expensive. Be prepared to make some sacrifices; that nice bottle of Chardonnay may have to be a classic box of goon instead.
8. People will steal
Thankfully we have never been a serious victim to this one, apart from the one time our temp roommates decided to steal my chocolate...I was extremely unhappy. Nobody gets between me and my chocolate, let that be a warning to you all. Anyway, that is slightly off the point. We have met a lot of people who have had their items stolen by fellow backpackers, or complete randoms. Again it depends where you are travelling, but be sure to keep your valuables safe whenever you can. Furthermore, people are the worst for helping themselves to your food, or toiletries. I am all up for sharing my stuff, but on a tight budget sharing ain't always caring.
Now I bet you all think I sound like the worst person ever after this post, but believe me travelling is tough (#backpackerproblems)! Let me know what you have found as the hardest or weirdest adjustments while travelling in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!