Everyone always talks about how great travelling is, how you meet so many people you are never alone and how you see loads of interesting things. It’s not all like that. There are days when you get sick of travelling and you just want to give it all up…
Today marks the nine month anniversary of when I got on a plane destined for places unknown and for the last month or so I’ve been feeling a tad depressed. I’ve felt like this a couple of times during my travels and I usually resolve it by writing an email to no-one in particular and then leave it in my drafts. I tend to find that writing my woes down helps me to rationalise the problem and then I can go out and fix it – it’s usually something small that is getting me down. After a week or so I’ll go back and read the email again, smile ruefully that it was a problem in the first place and delete it.
Today though, I’m going to publish that email on my blog. I’ve been storing up frustrations since arriving in Vietnam and it’s time to vent.
I write here that I hate, but that is a strong word – I dislike is a better description, but it’s not emotive enough.
Today, I’m hating travelling.
I’m hating having to constantly meet new people and have the same conversations. I hate the boasting people do about where they’ve been or how long they’ve been travelling for. Similarly, I hate when people talk down about what they are doing – “I’m only away for 6 weeks”. I hate that this make me a little shy to share my story as it inevitably leads to their jealously or a competition of “who has the bigger balls”. Heck, my favourite people are those where we didn’t exchange names or talked about previous adventures until much later.
I hate that once you get past the “big balls” conversations and learn that that person is actually quite nice, they are going a different way or have a different time schedule to me. I hate wishing that I could travel to the new place with friends so that the experience would be shared – I don’t mind doing things alone, but it’s always more fun with someone else.
I hate that I’ve been feeling under the weather for a fortnight or so. Will this slightly poorly stomach just get better already?!?
I hate that S.E. Asia doesn’t have the hostels where you can meet people and here you have to rely on buses & pubs. It makes it harder to talk to people as they are already in their little groups.
I hate that adventures in S.E. Asia are hard to find and when you do find one you have to pay big monies to take part. Don’t even think about trying to do things solo.
I hate that S.E. Asia is a holiday destination and there are loads of tourists. I don’t hate tourists per-say and I don’t have a “travellers vs. tourists” issue, but really Mr & Mrs 2-Week-Vacation, F.O. with your attitudes to the locals – they deserve better than you shouting at them for bringing you the wrong food. Learn their language before you criticise again and remember they have been tolerating your type for a while so forgive them for not caring you didn’t get your iced-coffee.
I hate cold showers which soak the bathroom floor. Give me a hot shower, even one that electrocutes me.
I hate getting ripped off everywhere you go, from food to tuk-tuks… It’s a constant battle to actually pay a sensible price and not the Western inflated one. Why do some locals think it’s ok to laugh at you and charge you double for a inferior product?
I hate that the lovely locals are tainted by those who are just out to make a quick buck and that sceptism is my natural state of mind – I’ve been ripped off so many times that I can’t no longer believe you’re just a nice person. Sorry! Please feel free to prove me wrong though – I don’t mind accepting when I’m wrong.
I hate not been able to walk down the street without having to constantly shake your head and say no to the calls from Scooter and Tuk Tuk riders, even having to sidestep past those who block my path. I’m walking here God-damnit and passed three Tuk Tuk’s already so, no, I haven’t changed my mind in the last ten paces. I hate you even more when you start shouting at me and acting aggressive when I eventually get sick of saying “no” and just ignore you – just because you are there doesn’t mean I have to take you up on the offer.
I hate Mr or Mrs Disabled and the begging child – sure it’s sad and I feel sorry for you, but don’t stand beside me looking all meek with your hands clasped together trying to make me feel obligated. I do care and it leaves me desperately upset to me to see poverty and wealth side by side, but seriously bugger off, I’m not giving you money for looking sad. Why do you just beg, when the person next to you is collecting cans, selling fruit, making bracelets…
I hate that I have to protect my pockets constantly and that the pick-pockets make me nervous.
I hate the blood sucking mosquitos and that I don’t have Bill Gates’ WMD (Weapon of Mosquito Destruction) in my hand.
My monies are running low and I’m hating worrying about the cost of things and about what I’ll do next month. I hate that exciting plans are met by wondering about the repercussions of spending $25 on this tour instead of just doing it…
I hate that I’m becoming blasé about travelling and that I’m losing the wonder I used to have at seeing the exciting things in front of me.
I truly hate that one aspect of my life still yields the sentence “Same sh*t, different continent” from a friend when I chatted with him recently (it’s said in a friendly, supportive way mind).
I hate how much my parents do for me back home and that I can’t even begin to show them how much I appreciate it. They have my back the whole way and even though I’m thousands of miles away I know I they’ll do anything for me and yet a “thank you” in an email never quite suffices to convey my gratefulness.
This week I’m hating how upset I am that my dad advertised my car for me this week. Sure it was at my request, the extra funds will help me out and I do want to sell it, but it’s killing me to think that I’m no longer going to be a car owner. I passed my test at 17 and haven’t been without a car for the past decade – car ownership is part of me to the point people don’t appreciate. Cars have always given me a sense of freedom and ownership was my source of escapism either tinkering or just driving somewhere, anywhere. Travelling the world may be the ultimate expression of freedom, been able to go where you want, when you want, but it doesn’t give me the same feeling and experiences driving does.
There are clear blue skies above, the sun is blazing, there is a distinct lack of rain and I did like the $2 haircut in the local, backstreet, barbers this morning though (even if they did laugh at charging me quadruple the local rate).
So, what to do?
Remember Stefan, you’re travelling. You’re somewhere extraordinary seeing things other simply dream of (if they even know it exists). Get up of your backside and do something. If you let it, tomorrow will be a better day. Who knows what will happen.
It’s time to watch the sunset over some temples and probably get bitten by mosquitoes.