The other side of long term travel
Instagram shines a flawless view of travelling, everything from the lighting, framing and perspective has been thought about to achieve the ultimate image. But in reality, obviously things don't always go to plan nor is travelling always fun.
If you talk to anyone who has travelled, especially in South America, I can confidently say more than 70% would have endured some type of food poisoning, from the one off vomit to the full blown parasite or salmonella poisoning. I talk from experience when I say there isn't much worse than using a shared bathroom in a hostel, except for experiencing symptoms while walking the Inca trail, that is something else entirely. All you crave is home comforts, your own bed to snuggle up to, a clean bathroom that isn’t going to be disturbed and maybe a bowl of your mums chicken and corn soup. Well your out of luck, the best you can hope for is a quiet hostel with a clean shared bathroom and hopefully some understanding roommates, or forking out for a private room with a bathroom if you're in a state to move. All I can say is I’m thankful I have Ryan to lean on, without him I would have almost had the first flight out of there.
It tears at your heartstrings, seeing the poverty around and knowing that even if you help one person, it’s not going to make a dent. Though it is easy to turn a blind eye, some places make for a sobering experience. The children are the hardest, but we were told not to give to them, they are trying to enforce that education is the way to secure a good life, not begging on the street or even worse because the money goes to their parents who usually spend it on alcohol or drugs.
You maybe in a hostel full of people but you can feel like you're the only ones there, even as a couple. Though we may have each other to lend against, spending everyday together you do need other people for your sanity. But there are just days were you can't face the usual backpacker conversations, where you from, where are you travelling, how long… it can get so repetitive and tiring. Then sometimes you meet the most epic people along the way, but never for long enough to build an actual friendship. It seems like a life of a traveller is full of consistent, never-ending hellos and goodbyes.
Non stop exploring, border crossings, noisy dorm and overnight buses soon wear you thin, at the end of the day you're only human. You need catch up days, you need days of rest and you just need timeout. With the fear of missing out, saying no to another not to miss night out, you can soon run yourself down and get sick. Trust me, forced rest is NOT the best rest. You need to listen to your body, and slow down when you need it, or even better find yourself a beach town where laying on the beach is a suitable daily pass time without missing out.
These insights into the other side of travel by no means outweigh the positives of travel by any means but it’s something to be aware of before embarking on your long term trip of a lifetime. Just to realise that there are both sides of travel, the stuff you see posted on Instagram and the unearthed truths.